Oh my Lord! And accept Thou my Prayer. Oh our Lord! Cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness me, my parents (and all Believers) on the Day that Reckoning will be established.


Among the fundamental tenets of Islam Zakath occupies a place next in importance only to belief and Namaz. As one would say, it is the third pillar of Islam.

Zakath means that a Muslim who is in possession of a certain amount of wealth, or more, is required by his religion to spend one fortieth of it at the end of every twelve months on the poor, the needy and the wayfarer, and on such other items of charity and good-doing as are prescribed for it by Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and the Prophet (Peace be upon him).


At several places in the Quran Zakath has been enjoined on Muslims side by side with Namaz. While reading the Quran you would have come across a number of times the command: “Be steadfast in prayer; practice regular Charity.” On several occasions it has been spoken of by the Quran as a characteristic feature of Muslims that, “They establish prayer and practice regular Charity”. These two verses go to show emphatically that those who do not offer Namaz and fail to pay the Zakath are, in fact, not Muslims for the two basic attributes and distinguishing features of a genuine Muslim are not present in them.

Anyway, habitual neglect of Namaz and failure to practice the Zakath are, according to the Quran, not the qualities of a Muslim but of an atheist or a polytheist. About the Namaz we have a verse in Sura-I-Rum of the Quran, which reads:

Establish regular Prayer and be not ye among those who join Gods with Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa)

And about the evasion of Zakath being the attribute of polytheists and infidels we have it in Surah Fussilat:

And woe to those who join Gods with Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa), those who practice not regular Charity, and who even deny the Hereafter.

Dreadful Chastisement

The fate that awaits those who do not pay the Zakath and the punishment that is going to be handed out to them in the Hereafter is so dreadful that the mere thought of it is enough to make one’s hair stand on end. For instance, it is stated in Surah-I-Tauba:

And there are those who burry gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa); announce unto them a most grievous penalty- On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the Fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs. “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves. Taste ye the (treasures) ye buried.”

In one of his Traditions, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has explained in a little more detail the purport of this Surah. The Tradition when translated into English reads:

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