Zakat in the Qur’an

Be in this world, but not of this world.

Introduction

As many of my dear subscribers know, the Traditionalist Islamic religion is a later invention by mankind (for more insight please see Islamic Religion & Hadith Literature).

Where the Qur’anic word zakat is concerned, the Traditionalist Islamic religion claims a specific definition for it, a definition that finds no support from the Qur’an. Followers of the organised religion of Islam believe that their “god” ordained upon them the dogmatic rite of donating material wealth to its priesthood, its charities, and poor. The idea is that this checks the criteria of being qualified as a good “Muslim“. This is referred to in Islamic theology as zakat: a 2.5% taxation of ones savings.

Zakat literally means “that which purifies”. The word is derived from Classical Syriac ܙܟܘܬܐ (zakhutha, “victory, merit, justification”, related to the Hebrew זְכוּת‎ (z’khút, “legal right, moral right, merit”).[21][1] Zakat is considered a way to purify one’s income and wealth from sometimes worldly, impure ways of acquisition.[1][22][23][24] According to Sachiko Murata and William Chittick, “Just as ablutions purify the body and salat purifies the soul (in Islam), so zakat purifies possessions and makes them pleasing to God.”

Wikipedia

This sounds nice in theory, but this conception of zakat is a concept found nowhere in the Qur’an. Traditionalist scholars are unable to demonstrate to us from the Qur’an how what he claims for it is indeed sourced from the Creator Most High and not latterly invented doctrines that his organised religion are founded upon. As a matter of fact, it is only in these latterly invented doctrines where the concept 2.5% taxation originates.

Irrespective of what the Traditionalists redundant claim for zakat is, in today’s article I am going to present the Qur’anic concept of the word zakat.

Defining Zakat

The Arabic word zakat derives from the trilateral root zāy kāf wāw (ز ك و). The trilateral root definitions are: purity, integrity, sincerity.

This root word features a total of 59 times in the Qur’an. The Arabic word zakat features a total of 32 times in the Qur’an.

2:43, 2:83, 2:110, 2:177, 2:277, 4:77, 4:162, 5:12, 5:55, 7:156, 9:5, 9:11, 9:18, 9:71, 18:81, 19:13, 19:31, 19:55, 21:73, 22:41, 22:78, 23:4, 24:37, 24:56, 27:3, 30:39, 31:4, 33:33, 41:7, 58:13, 73:20, 98:5.

Occurrences of zakat in the Qur’an.

There is a unanimous consensus amongst all translators of the Qur’an regarding all other words that derive from the zāy kāf wāw root (see below for this words).

  1. 1 time as the form I verb zakā (زَكَىٰ).
  2. 12 times as the form II verb zakkā (زَكَّىٰ).
  3. 8 times as the form V verb tazakkā (تَزَكَّىٰ).
  4. 4 times as the noun azkā (أَزْكَىٰ).
  5. 1 time as the adjective zakiyy (زَكِيّ).
  6. 1 time as the noun zakiyyat (زَكِيَّة).

The definitions of these words are: pure, purity, purify.


Section 1: What is this Purity?

In order to answer this question I am going to be examining zakat within its contexts of the Qur’an to elicit key facts and information concerning its conceptual value.

(Full verse citations can be found toward the end of this article)

1

9 times in the Qur’an zakat is demonstrated to have been a primordial fundamental in divine law which past prophets and messengers upheld and adhered to: 2:83, 5:12, 18:81, 19:13, 19:31, 19:55, 21:73, 22:78, 98:5.

2

23 times in the Qur’an this fundamental is paired together with another fundamental called Ṣalat. Ṣalat and zakat possess key conceptual values that underpin the Divine System and Law of YHWH. Ṣalat and zakat feature side by side a total of 23 times: 2:43; 2:177; 2:277; 4:77; 4:162; 5:12; 5:55; 9:5; 9:11; 9:71; 21:73; 19:31; 22:41; 22:78; 23:4; 24:37; 24:56; 27:3; 31:4; 33:33; 58:13; 73:20; 98:5.

3

More than 7 times in the Qur’an this primordial fundamental is defined as virtue and good: 2:110, 2:177, 2:277, 23:4, 27:3, 31:4, 98:5.

4

27 times zakat occurs in collocation with the verb to give (e.g. to give the purity):

2:83; 2:43; 2:110; 2:177; 2:277; 4:77; 4:162; 5:12; 5:55; 7:156; 9:5; 9:11; 9:18; 9:71; 21:73; 22:41; 22:78; 24:37; 24:56; 27:3; 30:39; 31:4; 33:33; 41:7; 58:13; 73:20; 98:5.

The Qur’anic word zakat is a noun and in the Qur’an it occurs in collocation with the Arabic word for to give or to contribute. In knowing this it is indicated to us that the zakat is something that we can give (i.e. it is may be a tangible or intangible thing that one gives or contributes).

5

3 times in the Qur’an zakat is distinguished between the giving of material wealth and possessions: 2:83; 2:117; 5:12; 58:13.

Furthermore, never does the Arabic word spend occur in collocation with zakat, and this further reinforces the aforesaid.

6

Once in the Qur’an zakat is contrasted with usury: 30:39.

This does not necessarily imply that zakat revolves around or even pertains to concrete and tangible phenomena. Usury is an abstract concept, so too is money – money is but a concept agreed upon. On that basis I therefore deduce that giving the purity pertains to what a man gives or contributes to his fellow man (i.e. duties that are to be kept pure, namely in his deeds and dealings with others as he seeks to establish the Divine System and Law to what degree he is able). Giving the purity would be imply the forbidding and condemning of usury and those who practice it (this finds much support in the Qur’an).

7

5 times in the Qur’an zakat is demonstrated as an abstract provision of the self, or a state and condition of the self: 18:81; 19:12-13; 19:31; 19:55; 24:56.

In verse 4:49 it is said that it is a provision that the God confers onto whom He wills.

8

3 times in the Qur’an zakat is treated as something one can act in accordance with and to enjoin on others: 19:31, 19:55, 23:4.

9

Once in the Qur’an zakat is declared to be a practice which the submitted believers exclusively gave and were advocates of: 41:7.

To Conclude

  1. Zakat means purity.
  2. It is an abstract concept.
  3. It is defined as virtue and good.
  4. It can be given.
  5. It can be sought after and attained.
  6. It is a key fundamental component of the Divine System and Law.
  7. It is a theological teaching intrinsic to the Divine System and Law, which prophets Ibrahim through to Muhammad were very well acquainted with.
  8. Those who do not believe in the hereafter and are idolaters do not give it.
  9. Usury is handiwork of the shaytān, and is the antithesis to the Qur’anic concept of purity.

Section 2: Exposition

Having established a working definition for zakat, I will now delve into an explication or exposition of the Qur’anic concept of purity.

As I have demonstrated thus far, the Arabic word zakat means purity, therefore because this concept corresponds with other renditions of the trilateral root, we may now expand our study by investigating other renditions of the zāy kāf wāw (ز ك و) root.

I will begin by asking the following question:

What Do We Mean By Purity?

According to Oxford Dictionary tells us the word pure means: “wholesome and untainted by immorality, especially that of a sexual nature.”

That is what we mean by purity.

In verse 2:129 it says: “our lord, and raise up for them a messenger from them reading to them Your proofs and teaching them the kitāb, and the wisdom, and increasing them in purity, You are the Mighty, the Wise“.

2:129 verifies that purity is state and condition, and this is where we must begin for the following reason. You cannot give what you do not already possess; a truism, yes, but this is where we must begin.

The Qur’an corresponds with reality. The Qur’an appeals to reality. If purity truly is a state and condition, then judging by this purity must refer to the untainted, unaltered, state or condition of the human beings innate and inherent nature by design. We are told this in the following set of verses.

Set thou your countenance towards the system, inclining: the nature of the God with which He created mankind. No change should there be in the creation of the God. That is the correct system but most of the people know not. Turning to the God in repentance, and be observant of him, and establish the Ṣalat, and do not be of the polytheists: of those who divide their system and become sects, each rejoicing at what it has.

30:30-32

30:30-34 defines the nature of man as setting ones countenance toward the system and inclining to it.

God said: Let us make humankind, in our image, according to our likeness! Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the heavens, animals, all the earth, and all crawling things that crawl about upon the earth! So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God did he create it, make and female he created them…

Genesis 1:26 (The Shocken Bible, Volume 1, The Five Books Of Moses by Everett Fox)

The Qur’an corroborates the Torah. Both revelations state that the innate and inherent nature of man is the nature of the God.

We know that purity forms a fundamental component of the Divine System and Law, and we know that purity according to the Qur’an has been demonstrated to be a state or condition of being. Impurity would therefore be to become tainted, corrupted, transmuted or altered to produce an artificial state or condition.

In 4:119 the Qur’anic character called Iblīs swore to change the creation of the God. This is precisely what the Hermetic Academies and Alchemists have aimed at and succeeded in bringing about. Can man truly change the creation of the God? Of course he can, we are eye witnesses to this.

Say thou: “who is the lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say thou: “the God!” Say thou: “have you taken from besides Him protectors that have no power for themselves for benefit or for harm?” Say thou: “are the blind and the seeing equal? Or is darkness equal to light? Or do you attribute to the God who created the like of His creation so it seems alike to them?” Say thou: “the God is the Creator of All Things, and He is One, Irresistible.”

13:16

Man changes the creation of the God via the exact same materials and laws that He created. Yes, man can change the creation of the God.

Of course this leads us into asking all kinds of epistemological, ethical, moral, and metaphysical questions which are not within my remit to get into today. But what we can safely ascertain is that this purity refers to man in his natural state and condition, untainted, unaltered. This does not mean revert back to primitive and indigenous ways, nor does it mean that we are to abandon practices such as the cooking of food and building of homes— rather it is this natural state and condition of mind, body, and soul that are being alluded to here.

All of our actions are a direct function of what any particular one of us believe as human beings. We human beings run and operate according to data and information. Genes are a central component of life, and in essence is digital information. The Watson and Crick discovery of the chemical structure of DNA and their double helix model paved way for the proposal that Genes and DNA are essentially encoded information; a chromosome for instance being 1 dimensional and linear, likened to computer tape.

Every decision we make as human beings is done via the consultation of our faculties, both mental and physical. Even a cursory examination of modern day social and political engineering will teach you that the human mind is programmable just like any computer is (for interest see: YouTube & Metanoia Films (metanoia-films.org).

I find there are many metaphysical, ethical, moral, and epistemological overtones to the topic of purity and changing the creation of the God. And I am of the opinion that changing the creation of the God refers to not exclusively concern the innate and inherent nature of man as taught in revelation, but also the natural order of things in existence. The natural order of things which the 5 natural sciences of chemistry, astronomy, Earth science, physics, and biology cover. Yes moral purity is the primary concern, but I think that it is imperative that the student of the Divine System and Law seeks to explore other ontological implications and considerations of this purity.

So one must possess purity in order to give it. In verse 18:81 it says: “And we intended that their Lord should give them in exchange one better than him in purity and closer in mercy“.

The context informs us that a child was killed by Mūsā’s companion so that his parents may receive a better child in exchange. In verse 74 Mūsā exclaimed to his companion that he had done a abhorrent or detestable thing in killing the child who at this stage Mūsā thought of as a pure soul. Mūsā’s companion begged to differ, and in verse 80 Mūsā’s companion broke the silence and informed Mūsā that the purpose behind the killing of the child was that he was a burden to his parents with transgression and denial (wakuf’ran).

The two Arabic words that the child was described as is ṭugh’yānan (طُغْيَانًا) and kuf’rān (كُفْرَان). The Arabic word ṭugh’yānan (طُغْيَانًا) means: transgression or inordinacy. Kuf’rān (كُفْرَان) means: denial; disbelief; rejection; to cover over something, namely the truth.

In verse 81, we find that these two words are portrayed as the antithesis to purity.

Purity here involves the nuclear family and a child’s obedience to his parents, as well as his relation to the Divine System and Law.

Having provided both an example and insight into the purity as a state of being, next up we read in verse 19:12-14: O Yahya hold thou fast the kitāb, and We gave him the judgment and affection from Us and purity, and he was in observant and dutiful towards his parents and he was not a defiant tyrant“.

Yahya on the contrary was given the purity by the God. Yahya was given purity as a child from the God. This reiterates the teaching that purity is not only something that one can give, but possess and seek to increase.

Is Purity Something We Are To Work Toward?

To answer the question we visit 91:7-10.

We are to endeavour to purify our nafs (English: self or soul). In these verses purification of the nafs is treated as the sole purpose of a human beings life in a nutshell.

There of course, is far more to the subject than meets the eye. The concept of purity extends far and beyond scripture. It is your task to take the lessons and teachings and begin your own studies so that God willing you may implement this teaching into your own lives and purify your self, give the purity, enjoin it upon others, or contribute towards the purification of your households, communities, and societies.

How Much Should One Give Of Purity?

In verse 2:219 of the Qur’an the prophet is asked on behalf of the Most High as to how much one is to spend. He responds by saying the surplus. There is an ambiguity here as to what is being referred to, does this regard the concept of charity or zakat? To answer this question one only needs to read the context and verse 215 in particular wherein the prophet is asked as to what one should spend. The prophet responds by telling the people to spend of what is good upon a specific classifications of people. Therefore we can deduce that 2:219 does not concern zakat but rather charity which unavoidably forms a central motif in the surrounding contexts.

Whatever the case be, the Traditionalist Islamic concept of a 2.5% taxation on ones earnings is made redundant by the aforesaid.

The Purpose of Giving the Purity

The answer to this question can be found in verse 30:39 where it says: “what you give of purity desiring the countenance of God“.

One should give it desiring the countenance of God.

The Arabic word I translate as countenance is wajh (وَجْه). Wajh (وَجْه) literally denotes face or countenance. According to Oxford Dictionary, it tells us that the word origin of the English word countenance is: “Middle English: from Old French contenance ‘bearing, behaviour’, from contenir, from Latin continere, from con- ‘altogether’ + tenere ‘to hold’. The early sense was ‘bearing, demeanour’, also ‘facial expression’, hence ‘the face’. Countenance correlates to a persons demeanour, but more specifically a persons visage or facial expression.

Having understood this, to give the purity seeking the countenance of the Creator firstly, pertains to intention, and secondly it is implying to the reader that whenever one gives it, that it should be done seeking the support or approval of YHWH, the Lord of All Creation and Being.

Whatever You Do Is For You, Not The God Nor Any Thing Or One Else

35:18 reads: “And no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. And if a heavily burdened soul were to call to carry his load, nothing will be carried of it, even if he be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and establish the salat. Whoever purifies himself, then he only purifies for his own self, and to the God is the destination“.

Anything you do is for yourself, and it will only come to be by the will of YHWH Most High.

I have one final message.

God Increases Us In Purity

In two of my videos that are available on YouTube and soon on my website (1: [Video] Primordial Theological Doctrine Of Qur’an 2: [Video] Life & Death – In God We Trust), I taught that the Creator is the shaker and mover, the prime mover, and is above all things and behind all things. I cite to you the following verse.

4:49: “Have you considered those who increase themselves in purity? No! The God increases in purity whom He wills, and they will not be wronged a hair upon a date-stone.

I highly encourage you to revisit those two videos as they are fundamental to an understanding of the Qur’anic concept of purity; it is the Divine System and Law we are in submission to.


To Conclude

The Arabic word zakat means purity, a concept that requires further personal study which is not within my remit to share or teach here today.

Purity can best be encapsulated as an abstract conception used to refer to purity of mind, body, and soul. It is something to be sought after, maintained, and where it regards interpersonal relations it is to be enjoined and given.

Whether the purity be a material possession, or an intangible possession such as ones counsel to others; it is to be given desiring the countenance of the God. As the root definitions of zakat imply, one is to be giving the purity with utmost sincerity and integrity.

Purity is a state and condition of being that we are to endeavour and work towards in this life span of ours. Purity is a primordial fundamental that comprises this Divine System and Law of ours.

Those who purify themselves succeed, and those who neglect or bury this thing we call a self fails. It is most unfortunate that post modernity sees man as having lost complete touch with himself. He views himself through the prism of doctrines, philosophies, and information inculcated into him – he is for the most part deaf, dumb, and blind. He is neurotic, psychotic, solipsistic, self-centred. So what we are to do if we are to take any actionable steps here to understand this purity, is resort to the divine blueprints of the Creator Most-High as are revealed them in scripture. Before revelation, the verses of the Creator were written within the stars, the heavens, the earth and within ourselves to which they still abide. But in order to rescue ourselves from this catastrophic existential crisis which modern man faces, we can seek refuge in the God Most High and utilise those tools and provisions infused into our being, namely, our God-given faculties.

We are to act in accordance with the purity (sexual purity being one component thereof), remembering the purity denotes being untainted by immorality, especially that of sexual nature. We should resort to the Divine Guidance seeking to establish the Divine System within our daily lives. Purity is keeping oneself free from falsehood, sin, transgression, wrong.

We can only increase in purity if the God wills.

23:1-11

Indeed, successful are the believers: those who are humble in their salat, and those who turn away from vain speech, and those who act in accordance with the purity, and those who are guardians of their modesty (except from their spouses or what their right hands possess, then are they not blameworthy, then whoever seeks beyond that, these are the transgressors). And those who are observers of their trusts and their pledge and those who keep to their salat: these are the heirs, those who inherit Paradise wherein they abide eternally.

23:1-11

Those who denied from the people of the kitāb and the idolaters became not divided until there came to them clear evidence. And they were not commanded except to serve the God being sincere to Him in the system, upright, and to establish the salat and give the purity: that is the correct system. Indeed those who deny from the people of the kitāb and the idolaters will be in the fire of hell, abiding eternally therein forever: these are the worst of creatures. Indeed, those who believe and work righteousness, these are the best of creatures. Their reward is with their Lord, gardens of perpetual abode beneath which rivers flow, wherein they shall abide forever. The God pleased with them and they pleased with Him. That is for whoever feared his Lord.

98:5

Verse Citations

And establish the salat and give the purity and be lowly with the lowly.

2:43

And when we took the covenant with the children of Israel: “do not serve except the God, and be good to your parents and relatives and orphans and the needy, and speak good onto the people, and establish the salat and give the purity, then you turned away except a few of you and you were averse.

2:83

And establish the salat and give the purity, and whatever you send ahead for yourselves of good, you will find it with the God, indeed the God is of what you do, seeing.

2:110

It is not virtuous that you turn your faces toward the east or the west. Virtuousness is who believes in the God, the Last Day, and the angels, and the kitāb, and the prophets, and gives wealth in spite of his love for it to near relatives and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask and the freeing of slaves, and who establish the salat and give the purity, and those who uphold their covenant when they make it, and those who are patient in adversity and hardship and in battle. These are truthful, and these are the observant.

2:177

Indeed, those who work good deeds, and establish the salat and give the purity, for them their reward is with their Lord and no fear is upon them nor shall they grieve.

2:277

Have you not seen those who when it was said to them: “restrain your hands, and establish the salat and give the purity”. Then when fighting was ordained for them, a group of them feared the people like the fear of the God or a stronger fear. And they said: “O our Lord, why have You ordained fighting upon us? Why not postpone it for us to a named term?” Say thou: “little is the enjoyment of this world and the hereafter is better for the observant, and you will not be wronged a hair upon a date-stone.”

4:77

But those who are firm in knowledge among them and the believers, believe in what is revealed to you and what was revealed before you; and the ones who establish the salat and give the purity; and the ones who believe in the God and the last day, those: we will give them a great reward.

4:162

And certainly the God took a covenant from the children of Israil and We appointed among them twelve leaders. And the God said: “Indeed, I Am with you if you establish the salat and give the purity and you believe in My messengers and assist them, and lend to the God a goodly loan, surely then I will remove from you some of your evil deeds and surely admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever denies among you after that, then certainly he has strayed from the right path.

5:12

The God and His messenger are your only allies, and those who believe and establish the salat and give the purity and are lowly with the lowly.

5:55

“…And ordain for us good in this world and the hereafter, indeed we have turned to You”. He said: “My punishment: I afflict with it whom I will. But My mercy encompasses every thing, so I will ordain it for those who are righteous and establish the salat and give the purity and for those who believe in Our proofs.

7:156

Then when the sacred months have passed kill the idolaters wherever you encounter them, and seize them and restrain them and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent and establish the salat and give the purity then let them go their way. Indeed, the God is forgiving, merciful.

9:5

But if they repent and establish the salat and give the purity, then they are your brothers in the system.

9:11

Those who occupy the temples of the God are only those who believe in the God and the last day and establish the salat an giver the purity and fear not except the God. Then perhaps those are the guided ones.

9:18

And the believing men and the believing women: some of them are allies to one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and they establish the salat and give the purity and they obey the God and His messenger. Those: the God will have mercy upon them. Indeed, the God is mighty, wise.

9:71

So their Lord intended to exchange for him one better in purity and nearer in affection.

18:81

O Yahya hold thou fast the kitāb, and We gave him the judgment and affection from Us and purity, and he was in observant and dutiful towards his parents and he was not a defiant tyrant.

19:12-14

And He made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me the salat and the purity as long as I am alive.

19:31

And He used to enjoin upon His people the salat and the purity, and he was near to His lord, pleasing.

19:55

And We made them leaders, guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the working of righteousness and to establish the salat and to give the purity; they were of Us, servants.

21:73

Those who if We establish them in the land they establish the salat and they give the purity, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and to the God belongs the outcome of all affairs.

22:41

And strive for the God with the striving due Him; He has chosen you and not placed upon you any difficulty in the system: the system of your father Ibrahim, he named you the submitters before, and in this that the messenger maybe a witness over you, and you maybe witnesses over the people. So establish the salat and give the purity and hold fast to the God: He is your protector, so excellent is the Protector, and so excellent is the Helper.

22:78

Indeed, successful are the believers: those who are humble in their salat, and those who turn away from vain speech, and those who act in accordance with the purity, and those who are guardians of their modesty (except from their spouses or what their right hands possess, then are they not blameworthy, then whoever seeks beyond that, these are the transgressors). And those who are observers of their trusts and their pledge and those who keep to their salat: these are the heirs, those who inherit Paradise wherein they abide eternally.

23:1-11

Men, which trade nor commerce distracts them from the remembrance of the God, and from establishing the salat and giving the purity. They fear a day wherein the hearts and eyes will turn about.

24:37

And establish the salat and give the purity and obey the messenger so that you may obtain mercy.

24:56

Ta Seen. These are the proofs of the Qur’an and clear kitāb: a guidance and glad tidings for the believers. Those who establish the salat and give the purity and in the hereafter are certain.

27:1-3

And what you give of usury to increase in the wealth of the people has no increase with the God. But what you give of the purity desiring the countenance of the God, these receive recompense manifold.

30:39

Alif, Lam, Mim. These are the proofs of the wise kitāb: a guidance and a mercy for the doers of good, those who establish the salat and give the purity and in the hereafter they are certain.

31:1-4

And remain in your homes and do not display yourselves with the display like the former times of ignorance. And establish the salat and give the purity, and obey the God and His messenger. The God but wishes to remove from you the impurity O people of the household; and to purify you completely. And remember what is recited to you in your homes of the proofs and of wisdom. God is subtle, aware.

33:33-34

… And woe to the idolaters: those who do not give the purity and are deniers of the hereafter. Indeed, those who believe and work righteousness, for them is a reward never-ending.

41:6-7

And if you fear to send ahead charity before your private counsel, then since you are unable and the God has relents toward you, then establish the salat and give the purity, and obey the God and His messenger, and the God is aware of what you do.

58:13

Indeed, your lord knows that you stand less than two-thirds of the night, a half of it, a third of it, and so do a group of those who are with you. And the God determines the night and the day, and He knows that you cannot calculate it so He has turned towards you. So recite what is easy of the Qur’an. He knows that there will be sick among you and others travelling in the land seeking the bounty of the God, and others fighting for the cause of the God. So recite what is made is of it, and establish the salat and give the purity, and loan to the God a goodly loan. And whatever you send ahead for yourselves of good, you will find it with the God better, and more great in reward. And seek forgiveness of the God, indeed the God is forgiving, merciful.

73:20

And they were not commanded except to serve the God being sincere to Him in the system, upright, and to establish the salat and give the purity: that is the correct system.

98:5

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Peace and may God bless you,

Alex Matityahu

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