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The zakat and charity of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)


The charity of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) described the charity of the Messenger of Allah, saying,

«The Messenger of Allah was the most generous person, and he was generous as one could be in Ramadan»

[related by Muslim].

Jabir ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us about the Messenger of Allah’s generosity and charity, saying,

«There was nothing that anyone asked from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to which he replied, ‘No.’»

[related by Muslim].

This refers to the people asking for wordly comforts from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

These narrations clarify the Messenger of Allah’s noble character and his great generous spirit. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was a perfect example with regards to being generous and giving charity.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was so generous that he gave away items he himelf needed.

A female Companion gave the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) a knitted cloak, which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) accepted and wore due to his need for it. One of the Companions saw the cloak on the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said, "Oh Messenger of Allah, how nice the cloak looks! Will you give it to me?" The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) complied with his request and gave him the cloak, although the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was in need of it and had told the man this!

The other Companions gathered around him and said,

«It was not good of you to ask him for the gift when you learnt that the Messenger of Allah had accepted this gift because he needed it, especially since you knew that the Messenger of Allah does not refuse anything a person asks from him»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

Yes, this is the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), the one who said,

«, it will not please me for even three nights to pass and I have any of it left with me, except what I keep to repay a debt.> May peace and prayers be upon the Messenger of Allah. He was the most generous of people with what he possessed, and he considered nothing as being too great or little to give to others for Allah» (Glorified is He).

If anyone asked him for anything, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would always give it to him, not matter how small or large it may have been. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to give like he who did not fear poverty, and the most loved deed he liked to perform was to give to others. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) felt more pleasure and delight giving to others than accepting anything from them. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was as generous as a blessed wind. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) felt upset whenever he saw a needy person who needed food or clothes. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to be very generous, in many ways; one time the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would give presents and gifts, and other times charity, and at times he (peace be upon him) would buy goods from someone and then give both the goods and the price to the seller, as he (peace be upon him) did when he bought Jabir’s camel)

[Zaad Al-Maad (Provisions for the Hereafter)].

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

«There is no one who Allah will not talk to when there is no intermediary between Allah and the person. At that time the person will look to his right and he will not see anything but what he sent before him (of deeds), and he will look to his left and will not see anything but what he sent before him (of deeds). And then he will look at what his hands had done and will see nothing but the fire [of Hell] before his face. So prtect yourself from the fire, even by giving half a date [in charity]»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

What is the proof that illustrates how very generous the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was in giving charity to the poor and needs?

How can helping people in general, let alone the poor and need, be a form of worship?

Prophet Muhammed’s zakat (obligatory charity)

Concerning the Messenger of Allah’s example with regards to zakat (obligatory charity)

«His example was the best with regards to the time it should be given, the amount, the limit above which zakat should be given, who should receive it, and who should pay it. In such a way it cared for the benefits of the rich and also the needy, as it was made obligatory for the rich to give to the poor what they needed without taking too much from the rich. If the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) learnt that a particular man had the right to receive zakat, or someone whose financial condition he did not know asked him for financial help, he (the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him) would give him something after he told him that zakat cannot be given to the rich or one who was strong enough to work for his needs. He (the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him) did not take zakat on horses, slaves, donkeys or mules. He (the Messenger of Allah , peace be upon him) also did not take zakat on vegetables or fruit that cannot be weighed or dried, except grapes and dates, as he did not make any distinction between fresh and dried grapes and dates»

[Zaad Al-Maad].

If anyone gave the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) zakat [to distribute among the recipients of zakat], the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would pray for him, saying,

 

[related by An-Nisa’i].

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not used to take people’s best produce or livestock as zakat, just the normal type of goods. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited Muadh from taking the best of people’s wealth, that is, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered him to not take any very strong camel but just take a normal camel from their herd. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told him,

[of taking] the best from the people [for zakat]>

[related by Al-Bukhari].

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

«There is no day in which a person rises but two angels come down to him. One angel says, ‘Oh Allah, give the one who gives others [in charity].’ And the other says, ‘Oh Allah, give destruction to the one who doesn’t give [in charity]»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

How did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) take care of the interests of the rich and also the poor at the same time?

What do you think is the wisdom, for limiting the recipients of zakat to the eight groups stipulated in the following ayah (verse of the Quran)?

{[Obligatory] Charity is [only] for the poor and the needy; and those employed to administer the [funds]; for those whose hearts have [recently] been reconciled [to the Truth]; for those in bondage; for those in debt; for the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer. [Thus is it] ordained by Allah. And Allah is the All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise}

[Surah At-Tawba: 60].

As for zakat al-fitr (charity given at the end of Ramadan), it is obligatory on every Muslim, or his guardian,

the young, the old, male and female, and free and slave, to give

«A sa’ (about three kilos) of [staple] food, or dates, barley or cottage cheese»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to give it out before the Eid prayer.

The wisdom in making this zakat obligatory for every Muslim, even the poor, is for the poor to experience, once a year, the act of giving to others.

Concerning zakat al-fitr, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

«Whoever gives it before the Eid prayer, it is considered as zakat al-fitr, but whoever gives it after the prayer, it is considered as any normal type of charity»

[related by Abu Dawood].

How can you follow Prophet Muhammed’s example?

1. Be very generous. Give from what Allah has given you and allocate a portion of the wealth Allah gave you to the poor, thereby following the example of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

2. Smile at the poor and needy when you give them charity, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) preferred to give charity than to take it.

3. Help the poor, needy and people in general in different ways, one time with charity, another time with gifts and a third time by buying something for them which they need.

4. Be careful to give zakat al-fitr before the Eid prayer. Beware of delaying it until after the prayer.

5. Be particular in spending on your household members and relatives, as this is the best form of charity. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

«Charity given to the needy is considered charity, but charity given to a relative is considered two good acts: charity and keeping ties of kinship»

[releated by Ahmed].

6. Love the people and love helping them. The best type of person is the one who benefits the people the most. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

«Those who Allah loves the most are the ones who benefit the people the most. And the act that Allah likes the most is to make a Muslim feel happy, remove some difficulties from him, pay off his debt or remove his hunger. Helping a brother [fulfill his needs] is more beloved to me than spending retreat for one month in this mosque in Madinah»

[related by At-Tabarani].