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Why does Zakat become Wajib?

Why does Zakat become Wajib?
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi

There is hidden wisdom in making Zakat and other charities obligatory. Some of them are mentioned in traditions. For example such duties are a kind of test for wealthy people, that whether Allah (S.w.T.) is more dear to them or these temporal worldly riches; whether they have sincere faith in heavenly rewards, paradise and divine recompense. Whether they are true to their claim of being the slaves of Allah (S.w.T.), High and Mighty. The second benefit is that through this arrangement the financial problems of the poor are solved. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, describing the benefits of Zakat.

"Indeed, Zakat is made obligatory to test the wealthy and to fulfil the needs of poor. And certainly if everyone had paid Zakat (honestly) there would not have been a single poor or destitute among Muslims. And neither one had been in need of other. And neither had anyone remained hungry and naked. But the poor are inflicted with problems due to the sins of wealthy and their failure to fulfil their rights. In these circumstances it is incumbent on Allah (S.w.T.) to deprive them from this Mercy those who do not fulfil the monetary rights. I swear by the one who created all the creatures and increased their sustenance, indeed no loss occurs on dry land and at sea/river except for those who do not pay Zakat. The third benefit is the purification of the self from a base quality like niggardliness and the cure of this debilating and mortal disease. Thus, the Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) tells His Messenger in Qur’an,

"Take alms out of their property, you would cleanse them and purify them thereby." (Surah at-Tawba 9: 103)

And in Surah al-Hashr, Allah (S.w.T.) says, "And whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul, these it is that are the successful ones." (Surah al-Hashr 59: 9)

The cure for niggardliness is to practice charity. Charity should be given time and again till it becomes a habit. And as far as possible one should keep in mind the rules and regulations laid down for charity, observing which can cure one of the malady of miserliness.

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