The building of Islam is built on the five pillars of Islam. Among these five pillars zakat is one of the important pillars of Islam.
The word Zakat is taken from the Arabic language it means the growth and purification. Zakat is the amount which the rich people donate to the poor and needy persons from his wealth to purify it. Zakat is paid on the luggage and wealth which is in the ownership for one year; this includes the gold, silver, cash and the luggage which is extra from the use of a person. As the Salah is the obligation on the person which is mature and have sense, same like zakat is also paid by such persons.
Zakat is necessary to run the economic system of the Islamic society. In the absence of zakat the economic system could not be established. ALLAH Almighty has strictly warned those people who are stable and able to pay zakat but do not pay it. They will be punished in a painful way by the wealth to which they love and do not spend in the way of ALLAH. This also shows the love of stable and rich people with the poor. The method give by ALLAH almighty to show this love and care for the poor is the method of zakat.
If zakat is honestly paid by the rich and wealthy person then the economic system of the Muslim ummah will be most powerful. But today we see that Muslim ummah is in worse economic crises this is due to the fact that very few Muslims feel this obligation and pay zakat honestly and the actual person who deserve this. Moreover zakat should reach to those persons which really deserve for it. The purpose of zakat is also to discourage the accumulation of wealth and distribute it evenly.
On many occasion Quran stresses to pay zakat and many hadiths are also tell us about the obligation of zakat and the method of its distribution. In the times of ruling of the caliph of Islam zakat was collected to the stable persons and used to help the poor and to run the matters of the state. In the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (ALLAH be pleases with him) when he saw that people are excusing for payment of zakat then he declared the open fight (Jihad) with the people which will not pay zakat.
The decision of first great caliph of Islam was accurate because the matters of state could be badly disturbed without it. The same step is required to the Muslim rulers of the Muslim countries because without it the economic system will be ruined and could not be stabilized. The shariah court should punish the people and penalties should be on the people who steel zakat. This is in the favour of the state and the person who is eligible to pay zakat.
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