Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Recipients of Zakat:

If a person does not fall into any of the following categories, then they are prohibited from receiving zakat. These people include the wealthy; the strong and healthy that are capable of working and earning; unbelievers- fathers, sons, and wives; the family or descendents of the Prophet, sallallaahu wa alayhe wa sallam, namely Banu Hashim.

These people do not have anything, so they are in need of asking others for food and clothing. Such have the right to ask and receive zakat. Others hold that these are those who may have some their basic needs. Allah says, "But he has made no effort to pass on the path that is steep. And what will make you know the path that is steep? (It is) freeing a neck (slave), or giving food in a day of hunger to an orphan near of kin, or to a miskeen afflicted with misery. [90:11-16]

These people may have money, but it is not sufficient for their basic needs. Others have stated that these people have nothing. Allah says, "If they are Fuqaraa (poor), Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty". [24:32]

3. ZAKAT COLLECTORS: These are persons that the authority employs to collect the zakat. The authority gives them a fee for their work, which includes, collecting, recording, guarding, dividing and distributing the zakat.

General opinion is that this term embraces every kind of struggle for a righteous cause. including expenditures of toward the propagation of Islam and for all charitable purposes.

5. THE DEBTORS: Debtors are those people burdened by debts because of personal needs or social necessity; such as the person who borrows to spend on himself and his family. This person is given zakat if he does not have enough money beyond his basic needs to repay his debt. However, for the one who borrows money for a social necessity; such as spending on an orphan, reconciling between Muslims, or renovating a masjid or school; then he may be given zakat to repay his debt. This holds true even if he is wealthy according to sound opinion of the jurists.

6. WAYFARER: The wayfarer is the traveler stranded in a foreign land and is in need of money to achieve his objective or return to his own country. This person can receive zakat, if the purpose for traveling were lawful. If the purpose were unlawful, then he should not receive any moneys from zakat because it would help him in his sins. Allah warns us, "Help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not one another in sins and transgression. [5:2]

7. FREEING CAPTIVES: This shows that zakat can be paid in order to buy a slave and then free him or her. These slaves become free, capable of worshipping Allah, and then can become useful members of the community. The fact is in these days, the slavery, in form of buying and selling human being, does not exist. However majority of people living in poor countries suffer from economic slavery at the hand of many local landlords, rich industrialist, and multi-national corporation that exploit natural resources. We believe zakat can be used to give these oppressed people temporary relief along with essential resources to acquire training, equipment, and material (for example small business can be created through small loans).

8. ATTRACTING HEARTS: Zakat is also to be paid to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined towards Islam or to prevent the harm of non-Muslims residing within the Muslim state. Scholars have agreed that this type of zakat should be considered whenever there is a need for it. We often see people who embrace Islam become detached form their families and are sometimes deprived of a source of income. These people have the right to receive zakat to protect themselves from harm and to make their faith firm.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lailatul Qadr (Night of Power)

There is night in the month of Ramadhan which is better than a thousand months (83 years, 4 months). This night is called Laitatul Qadr.
According to Hadith, this night occurs during the last ten days of Ramadhan on one of the odd numbered nights. Usually it is celebrated on the 27th night of this holy month. It is a night of great importance and enormous blessings for Muslims.

A night such as Lailatul Qadr was not granted to any religious community (Ummah) before Muslims. Only the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were favoured with a night of huge reward. Once reason, it was granted, was to enable Muslims to equal the worship of any people who lived before us. In the distant past it is said that people lived very long lives of hundreds of years. We, today, live much shorter lives. And so Allah gave us Laitatul Qadr to enable us to do as much worship as a man who lived even hundreds of years longer. If in a lifetime, you only worshipped on Lailatul Qadr ten times, you would have equaled in those ten nights 833 years of worship.
Signs of Laitul Qadr
There are some signs that reveal which night is Laitatul Qadr.
The night will be peaceful, neither hot nor cold, with a clear moon shinning but with no rays.
There will be no shooting stars in the night
At sunrise the sun will rise as just a disc without and radiant beams of light.
One companion of the Prophet reported that on Laitatul Qadr he tasted sea water and it was sweet.