Three signs of Qayaamat are: 1) When people will offer Namaaz as if they are doing favour to Allaah. 2) When trustworthy deposit – Amaanat will be considered as booty – Ghaneemat i.e. deposits will be spent off for the personal gains. 3) When Zakaat – an amount for the purification of wealth - will be considered as a penalty. Allaah Ta’aala has mandated upon His followers to give Zakaat from their yearly savings with the calculation of 1 rupee per 40 rupees. Zakaat is to be given to Da’i ul-Mutlaq in every Ramazaan ul-Mo’azzam. Whoever does not give Zakaat from his savings has indeed disobeyed the order of Allaah.
Allaah Ta’aala has linked Zakaat with Namaaz in the Qur’an. There are innumerable verses where Allaah commands to ‘Establish Namaaz and Give Zakaat’. This means that Zakaat is to be given to the Da’i ul-Mutlaq because mumineen offers Namaaz behind the Imaam appointed by him and Namaaz is the best of all deeds. Also Da’i ul-Mutlaq takes the Misaaq of the mumineen. Obviously then, Zakaat must be given with whose Misaaq our Imaan is complete. Not giving Zakaat in spite of having savings at the end of one year would nullify the Namaaz and Roza. If someone disobeys a single command of Allaah then he has indeed disobeyed the whole Shari’at. We should not hide the Zakaat from the Da’i ul-Mutlaq and whoever does so is a Munaafiq (hypocrite).
Some people who have failed to understand the very essence of Zakaat argue that why should we give Zakaat to Da’i ul-Mutlaq because we never know where is it spent? These people should know the following things. Allaah Ta’aala commands us to offer Namaaz and we do so. We never put a question to Allaah whether our Namaaz will be accepted or not? We have no right to ask such thing. Our point of concern must be only that whether we have offered the obligation or not. After we have obliged to the order of Allaah it’s up to Him what to do with it! Do we ever say that Allaah must promise that He will accept our Namaaz only then we will do that or He should show us the reward of Fasting (roza) before we do it or He should show us the certificate that all our sins will be pardoned only then we will offer Hajj? All these questions are far from comprehension. If all such things cannot happen then why should we ever ask about the Zakaat – where did it go; where was it spent; or what was done with that? It was ordered by Allaah to Rasoolullaah (saws) to take Zakaat from the mumineen and this Sunnat was followed by his progeny – A’immat-e-Taahereen (as). Mumineen would give Zakaat to them and forget about it. They never used to ask Rasoolullaah (saws) or A’immat (as) as to where they have spent or what was done to their Zakaat. Hence we should give Zakaat to Da’i ul-Mutlaq who is the Naa’ib (representative) of the Imaam uz-Zamaan (as) and leave other obligations on him. One who takes Zakaat knows very well where to spend the Zakaat as it is the obligation between him and the Allaah.
It is incumbent on us to offer the obligatory (faraz) Namaaz of five times. We must offer it in its stipulated time. These Namaaz have fixed number of Raka’ats. Contrary to the Faraz Namaaz there are Naafelat (voluntary) Namaaz which don’t have limitation of time or number of Raka’ats. We can offer as many raka’ats of Naafelat Namaaz as we can; and we get corresponding reward for that. Concept of Zakaat and Sadaqah goes in the same way. Zakaat is like the Namaaz of Farz and Sadaqah is like the Namaaz of Naafelat. There are fixed rules of Zakaat like when it is to be given; how it is to be calculated; on whom it is compulsory; to whom it is to be given etc. Da’i ul-Mutlaq does the du’a of Barkat and Rehmat for the mumin who gives Zakaat to him in the month of Ramazaan. This should be done openly like the Namaaz of Farz which is offered with Imaamat. This is the greatest reward of this obligation. On the other hand, Sadaqah can be given at any time of the year. There is no fixed calculation for it. It is to be given secretly like the Naafelat Namaaz which the namaazi offer by his own. It is a voluntary charity. It can be given to any mumin of the community. Our needy mumineen should be the first priority when anyone intends to do Sadaqah. Allaah will ask about the Zakaat because it is an obligation but not about Sadaqah. We will get the reward of Sadaqah only if we give Zakaat. Giving only Sadaqah in the pretext or in the name of Zakaat to anyone else and seeking the reward of the Zakaat is an absolute idiocy. There are some people who distribute money in Ramazaan and give it a label of Zakaat. Also likewise there are some people who give thousands of rupees for education, hospital, medicines and helping the poor to the institutions of the other communities and proudly say that we have given Zakaat! Zakaat can never be given to anyone except Da’i ul-Mutlaq. Whatever these people are doing is Sadaqah. We cannot just go on offering the Namaaz of Naafelat without offering the Namaaz of Farz. Even thousands of Rak’ats of Naafelat won’t be of any use unless we offer the obligatory Farz Namaaz.
Zakaat, in other words, is a form of tax. Nothing is available to us in the market without giving tax. It has many forms. Broadly speaking, we cannot think of living without giving taxes to the Government in one or the other form. Each and everything which is there in the Shari’at has its reflection in the functioning of the Worldly affairs. The world in which we live and the Shari’at that we follow are inter-linked. Paying tax to the government renders us safe and secure. Zakaat is derived from the word Za-Ka-Wa which means to purify. Hence giving Zakaat to Da’i ul-Mutlaq purifies our wealth. In Shari’at there is a Zakaat of everything – Zakaat of deeds is offering Namaaz; Zakaat of body is fasting and Zakaat of wealth is to give the calculated amount to the Da’i ul-Mutlaq. Everything must be purified and in order to do that we must remove the dirt from it. We purify our body by bathing, urinating, passing faeces etc. If we stop doing that we will fall sick. The same is true for the wealth. Giving Zakaat in its calculated amount purifies it and guards it from any damage or loss. Allaah Ta’aala has sent His Hujjat in the form of Ambiyaa (as), Awsiyaa (as) and A’immat (as) to purify us – both physically as well as spiritually. There must be someone for us in this World who would purify us by giving knowledge. Acquiring knowledge purifies our soul and giving Zakaat to the Hujjatullaah purifies our outer as well as inner life. Endless praise for Allaah who has kept His Hujjat for us in all the times. Da’i ul-Mutlaq who is the Naa’ib (representative) of Imaam uz-Zamaan (as) is the one who purifies us. We must be proud that at least there is someone among us who is legible to take Zakaat and Vaajebaat from the hands of mumineen. Majority of communities have gone astray as far as legibility of the authority who takes the Zakaat and Vaajebaat is concerned. In the absence of a Central Authority – Markaz of Da’wat, for their convenience, they have generalized the key concept of Zakaat and Vaajebaat among them. Those concepts does not, in anyway, apply to us.
Rasoolullaah (saws) says that, “Nothing on the land and in the oceans will be destroyed but the thing whose Zakaat is not given.” Maulaana Ali (as) says that, “One who does not believe in giving Zakaat is like the one who takes interest.” Whoever contends that Zakaat should not be given to the Da’i and gives it somewhere else has done two sins (wrong things). Firstly, he has falsified the authority of Da’wat who is entitled to take Zakaat from the mumineen from the time of Rasoolullaah (saws). Secondly, he has given the amount to the person or an institution that is not entitled to take the Zakaat and he has assumed that whatever he has given is Zakaat but in reality he has not given it. This ill-action and poor conscience reflects the impurity of his thoughts and soul. As the Qayaamat will come close, enemies of the Da’wat will prosper and they will be wealthy people who will take the Shari’at on their own stride and deviate from its obligations.