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Posts Tagged ‘Zakat

Zakat

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran-e-Majid that one who gives “Zakat” and remembers Him will get salvation. Here, Zakat means “Fitra” and remembrance of God means the recitation of the following Takbir on the night and morning of Eid al-Fitr.

“Allaaho Akbar, Allaaho Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallaah wallaaho Akbar, Allaaho Akbar, Wa lillaahil hamd. Alhamdulillah alaa maa hadaanaa walahu Shukr alaa maa aulana.”

The meaning of the above is: “Allah is Great, Allah is Great there is no one worthy of prayer but Allah, and Allah is Great; Allah is Great, all praise be to Allah, it is He Who guides.”

Zakat al-Fitr is a small amount that Muslims are obliged to pay as charity at the end of Ramadan. Zakat al-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqah al-Fitr (voluntary charity). The word Fitr means the same as Iftaar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakat al-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan.

Zakat al-FitrFitr is compulsory on those who can afford it, and it is a sin not to give it.

Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) has said that fasts do not attain perfection without Fitr just as Namaz is not accepted without invoking the blessings of Allah on Mohammad (S.A.W.) and his Aaal (A.S.) in Tashahhud. Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) used to instruct his accountant to take out Fitr for each individual including slaves and servants male and female of his household without exception, as, he feared that one whose Fitr was not taken out might die within that year.

Fitr is dependant on the major item of food consumed by a person during the year. These may be rice, wheat, barley, dates, etc. In weight Fitr should be three Kilograms per person. It is also permissible to pay cash to the value of three Kilograms food grains.

It is obligatory on the head of the family to give Fitr of all persons (including servants of both sexes of any cast or creed) that take food in his house.

If a guest Muslim or non-Muslim arrives at one’s house before the night of Eid al-Fitr and dines with his host, it is incumbent on the latter to give the former’s Fitr. If the guest arrives after sunset of the night of Eid al-Fitr. Fitr is not obligatory even if he dines with his host. Even when the guest arriving before sunset does not dine, Fitr is obligatory on the host. In this it is better if both the host and the guest give Fitr.

If one’s wife is at her parent’s on the night of Eid al-Fitr, her parents should take out her Fitr.

On the last day of the month of Ramadan, if a person arrranges a Majlis which finishes afer sunset (Magrib) and if, he offers Niyaz or food to his guests, he does not have to give Fitr for them.

Fitr should be given to deserving Momins who do not have enough income for the maintenance of their families for the whole year.

Fitr cannot be given to one’s dependants. But, it is better to give it to non-dependant deserving relatives. Next in order of preference are deserving neighbors and then any other deserving pious persons. Fitr from Syeds can be given to Syeds or non-Syeds. Fitr from non-Syeds cannot be given to Syeds.

If deserving persons are not really available, Fitr should be sent to places where such persons are found, or the amount should be sent to a Mujtahid who would do the needful in distributing the same.

It is not essential that the recipient of Fitr is an “Aadil” (just), but it is necessary to ensure that it is not given to anyone likely to use it in acts of sin, e.g. drinking liquor, gambling, etc.

Although it is permissible to send Fitr to any place it is preferable if it is distributed to a deserving person locally.

The time for giving Fitr is from the night of Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan Eid) up to the noon (Zohr) of Eid al-Fitr. If this is not possible for some reason the amount of Fitr should be set apart from his other monies and disbursed when deserving person is available or it may be sent to a Mujtahid for required distribution.

It is stated that Fitr ought to be given to pious persons and not those who indulge in sin.

Eid al-FitrIN RETROSPECT:

And now that the Holy Month of Glory (Ramadan) has departed and Eid is over, let us look back to the lessons it has taught us, and let us pray to God that the things we observed the recitation of the Holy Quran, the saying of Prayers (Namaz) regularly, the charity which we did, the poor that we fed, the good manners and self-restraint that we observed, should be with us in our everyday lives and these are the very ACTS that take us nearer to Allah.

And Allah has said, “Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.” (2:152)

“If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; But if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed.” (14:7)

And to those who have been indifferent and have wished that there was no such thing as this month of Ramadan and who on sighting the New Moon had a dejected face, should remember this Ayat of the Holy Quran.

“Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!” (40:60)

But can ye not see, O men, the mighty workers of God in the heavens and the earth? The dark-some splendor of the night with the stars, and the daylight splendor of the sun? How the earth with its spacious expanse and its mountains, yields moisture and pasture, and feeds and sustains men and cattle, through God’s Providence?

AH! Transgress not all bounds and earn not the fire of punishment, but fear God and His Judgment, and prepare for the Garden of Perpetual Bliss.

ZAKAT AL-FITR and ZAKAT (ZAKAH) are different: (Alms giving, Charity)

Over the centuries, it has become a practice among the Muslims to offer their Zakat (Zakah) in the month of Ramadan. This is generally done to increase one’s blessings. However, we should remember that Zakat (Zakah) becomes due, one year after a person’s wealth reaches the value of Nisab (minimum amount) for a type of item (Gold, Silver, Savings, etc) and according to most scholars, his wealth has to remain above that Nisab level throughout the course of the year. So it is impossible for the whole Ummah to have reached the obligation of paying Zakat (Zakah), at the onset of Ramadan. We should be clear in our minds that Zakat (Zakah) is not tied in with the month of Ramadan. An individual can bring forward his Zakat (Zakah) due date (notice: not push back), in order to take advantage of the multifold blessings of Ramadan. In fact, to make it easy on the recipients whose needs have to be met, one might chose Ramadan for the extra Sadaqa he gives out.

Finally, Zakat (Zakah) is not simply the calculation of your dues on your Gold and Silver ornaments. Its scope and implication is wide-ranging. As such, it requires us to be diligent and aware of various details relating to our context and various forms of wealth. At the minimum, a learned scholar should be consulted.

Source: http://www.ezsoftech.com/ramadan/ramadan06.asp

Ramadan

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍan) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur’an began to be revealed.

Name origin

The name “Ramadan” is taken from the name of this month; the word itself derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated and blessed month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

Laylat al-Qadr, which falls during the last third, commemorates the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an and is considered the most holy night of the year. Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid ul-Fitr, on which feasts are held. During the month following Ramadan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days.

Practices during Ramadan

Fasting

Main article: Sawm

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting (sawm) practiced by most observant Muslims. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden.[Qur’an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Muslims can eat after the sun has set. Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and children less than 12 years of age are all exempt from fasting as lack of food could damage health.

Prayer and reading of the Qur’an

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo


Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an.

Sunni Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur’an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur’an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur’an) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed. Tarawih is an Arabic phrase referring to those extra prayers. This prayer is performed after salah of Isha’a, but before the witr rakat. Tarawih is an innovation introduced into Islam by the second Caliph Umar so is not practiced by Shia Muslims.

Muslims also pay Zakat (only applicable if one can afford it) during the month. For those who qualify to pay Zakaat, as per the Islamic Nisab (that is those whose wealth exceeds their necessities), of the leftover of their wealth earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid any time of the year, it has to be calculated on a year to year basis, and many Muslims use Ramadan as the month for calculation and disbursement.

Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between God Almighty and themselves by prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it, this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved – the preparing of special foods and inviting people for the Iftar meal (the meal to break the Fast).

In many Muslim and non Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast) – these markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours.

Events of Ramadan

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (known as Shab-e Qadr in Persian), literally the “Night of Decrees” or “Night of Measures”, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan.[citation needed] Muslims believe that it was the night of the Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran’s first verse was revealed. The exact night of the Laylat al-Qadr is only known to God and Muhammed but he chose to keep it to himself so that Muslims won’t pray only that night. That is why Muhammad indicated that it was one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is an optional prayer as opposed to the compulsory 5 daily prayers. According to one current school of thought (Ankaboot), it is suggested that North American Muslims arrange their work-schedule for Eid by requesting the two most likely days of Eid as Holidays or simply as days off from work. This allows for quality family time, and is akin to the Christian/North American tradition of taking Christmas and Christmas Eve off as holidays. This also allows for time off to celebrate the Eid prayer at a mosque and with family. The fast always ends after 29 or 30 days of fasting, and thus the request would be for the 29th and 30th day after the start of the fast.

Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan that begins after Eid ul-Fitr; these days need not be consecutive. According to hadith, one who fasts the month of Ramadan and six days during Shawwal will be rewarded as though he fasted the entire year.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan


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