Simplified explanation of the Five pillars of Islam: declaration of faith, prayer, zakat, fasting and pilgrimage, which represent a framework of the Muslim life and the core of islam religion. Moreover it talks about the The main message of Islam.

The third rukn: zakat

Definition: Linguistically speaking, zakat means growth and increase. It also refers to praise, cleansing and good behaviour. Hence, the money paid out of one’s assets is called zakat because Allah blesses one’s property as a result, leading to its growth, and the person paying zakat is cleansed as Allah forgives him his sins.[1] In an Islamic context, zakat means a duty paid out of certain types of property, by certain people, to one of the eight specified categories mentioned in 9:60 at a specific time.[2]

Importance: Zakat is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built.

:It is often mentioned in the Qur’an alongside prayer, as in

 ‘Establish prayer, pay your obligatory charity .i.e. zakat..’


‘And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and  to establish prayer and to give zakah’ 


:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘Islam has been built on five pillars: testifying that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger, performing the prayers, paying the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan’

(Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah has made zakat obligatory so that it cleanses people’s hearts of greed and miserliness, provides help for the poor and the needy, ensures the growth of people’s property and gives it Allah’s blessing. Needless to say, all this helps to combat corruption, serve public interests and bring happiness to the community.

Allah states the purpose of zakat in the Qur’an as He instructs His messenger in the following terms:

‘Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase’


Status: Zakat is obligatory to every Muslim who owns more than its threshold. There are certain conditions that apply to various types of property. It is obligatory even to a child and an insane person who meet its conditions. In this case their guardians are responsible to pay their zakat on their behalf. A person who knowingly denies its obligation is deemed an unbeliever, but the one who does not pay it out of negligence or stinginess commits a major sin. Zakat is collected from him by the force of law and he is liable to punishment for incurring a sin. Should he die in such a condition his fate is left to Allah, who may or may not forgive him.

:Allah says

‘Allah will never forgive that partners are associated with Him. He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills’


A stern warning is given in the Qur’an to those who do not pay their zakat, as Allah says:

‘To those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend them in Allah’s cause, give the news of a painful suffering, on the day when it will all be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads, sides and backs will be branded with them. [They will be told]: “This is what you have hoarded up for yourselves. Taste, then, what you have been hoarding”’


: Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying

‘Anyone with hoarded property for which he does not pay zakat shall have his property heated in the fire of hell and made into [burning metal] sheets so as to brand his forehead and sides. Allah will then judge His creatures on a day the length of which is equal to 50,000 years. He will subsequently find his way to either heaven or hell,,,’

Related by Muslim, hadith No. 987


  1.  Abi Bakr al-Rāzī, Mukhtar al-Sihah, vol. 1, p. 136
  2.  S. Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunnah, vol. 1, p. 327.