Is Zakaah same as Tax
“For the system of Zakaah, the
Quran commands the Islamic State or Government to take Zakaah from the Muslims
of some of their wealth take alms – 9:103). Therefore, Zakaah is nothing but tax which
the Islamic Government enforces upon Muslims. The Quran has not fixed any rate
or amount because the fixing of the rate is dependent on the conditions of
necessity. At certain provisional times of disorder, the Islamic State can take
the entire surplus one has after meeting one’s own basic needs. (And they
ask you what they ought to spend. Say: ‘That which is (spare) beyond your
needs. (2:219) - That is why if there is no Islamic State, then Zakaah no
writes Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Parwez on page 35 of his book Qurani Faisley.
From the above writings of Mr. Parwez,
his beliefs (aqaa’id) regarding Zakaah can be clearly outlined as follows:
A. Zakaah is dependent on whether
the government is Islamic or not. If the
government is NOT Islamic, then there is no Zakaah. And the proof he presents is that wherever
the commandment of Zakaah is mentioned, there is always mention of the
collectors (‘amileen) of Zakaah.
B. The actual fixing of the amount
(shar-h) of one’s wealth as Zakaah is not mentioned in the Quran. Therefore, whatever amount the Islamic State
will fix and take from its citizens will depend on the existing condition and
requirement of the Muslim Community. The
fixing of the amount for Zakaah from each individual will depend on the Islamic
Government in each respective time period and circumstances existing at that
C. There is no difference between
Tax and Zakaah. In an Islamic State,
whatever it takes from the people is called Zakaah. In a non-Islamic state, this is called Tax.
D. In an Islamic State, the
government can, when necessary, take from each individual everything that is
over and above their basic requirement.
The verse which he quotes in brackets (2:219) refers to the voluntary
charity, not the compulsory Zakaah.
Let us look at each of his claims
listed above in a bit more detail.
A. Condition (SHART) of Zakaah:
Mr. Parwez’s belief that Zakaah is
dependent on the government being Islamic or non-Islamic is contradictory to
the teachings of the Glorious Quran. The
reason being that in the early Makkan period the Islamic Rule had then not yet
been established and there were no special collectors of Zakaah. There were
just a few numbered Muslims who were continuously persecuted by the Kuffaar. But in this early Makkan period, the initial
chapters of the Glorious Quran that were revealed commanded Muslims to pay
their Zakaah (see Surah Ma’aarij, Zaariyaat etc.). This is our clear proof that the payment of
Zakaah is NOT dependent on the government being Islamic or not. Allah has not made the payment of the Fard
Zakaah dependent on the type of government.
There were many prophets who could NOT establish their own Islamic
government but their ummah was not excused from paying their Zakaah.
Note: A VERY DANGEROUS ASSUMPTION MADE
If we start making Quranic commands and
prohibitions conditional upon the Islamic State, then practising all the
commands of the Quran become meaningless and unnecessary in a non-Islamic
rule. For example, we can speculate, as
Parwez did in his book Qurani Faisley, that salaah is an institution which can
only be established in an Islamic rule. Similarly, one can also speculate and
say that interest and usury is haraam only under an Islamic rule because the
taking and giving of interest was made haraam only when the Islamic State was
established. We can also speculate and
say that the right to give divorce is not given to men but to the Islamic State
because the Quranic injunctions of divorce were only revealed when the Islamic
State was established. All of these
assumptions will be regarded as mere speculation without any concrete
proofs. The fact is that all Quranic
commands and prohibitions are NOT dependent on the type of government, or
whether they are done individually or collectively. The laws of the Quran are
applicable in any condition. Yes, it
would be better if we are in a truly established Islamic State and these
commands can be practised and applied collectively, then it should be done
collectively. But this does not mean that where we could NOT establish an
Islamic State, or if an Islamic State is taken over by the kuffaar, then all
Quranic commands which could have been done collectively are no longer
valid. When Salaah can not be made
invalid in an un-Islamic State, then on what grounds does Zakaah become
void? To make difference between Salaah
and Zakaah was the work of those apostates (Murtadoon) with whom Sayyiduna Abu
Bakr (radiyallahu anhu) made Jihaad.
The right to change the fixed amount to be paid as Compulsory Zakaah:
In the Quran, there are two types of
charity (spending wealth in the path of Allah).
(a) One type of charity is that which
is greatly encouraged. It is voluntary
and has no fixed amount, as Allah says: “And in their wealth there is a due
share for the beggar and the deprived” (51:19). After Allah mentioning the
quality of the believers of performing Salaah, He then mentions their quality
of spending in charity and acts of compassion and kindness. And Muslims are encouraged that they should
spend in the path of Allah as much as they can, and its limit is whatever is
left for the individual after utilizing the wealth for his own
requirements. Allah says: “And they
ask you what they ought to spend. Say: ‘That which is (spare) beyond your needs.’
(2:219). Many other verses can be quoted to substantiate this voluntary
charity. Some of which are as follows:
1. And in their wealth there was the right of the beggar
and poor who does not ask others (51:19).
2. And spend your wealth in the path of Allah, and do
not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good deeds. Truly, Allah loves the good-doers (2:195).
3. O you who believe! Spend of the good things which
you have (lawfully) earned (2: 267).
4. So give to the kindred (relative) his due, and to
the poor (who begs) and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek
Allah's countenance. And it is they who are successful (30:38).
5. O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have
provided for you before a Day come when there will be no bargaining, nor
friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the wrong
Imam Muslim has also recorded a Hadith
in his Sahih wherein Jaabir
(Radiyallahu Anhu) said that Allah's Messenger said to a man: “Start with yourself and grant it some
charity. If anything remains, then spend it on your family. If anything
remains, then spend it on your relatives. If anything remains, then spend it
like this and like that (i.e., on various other charitable purposes”.
(b) The other type of charity is compulsory. It is a Command and Injunction from
Allah. In other words, the least
amount that must be given out in charity and is binding upon all
Muslims. Some of the verses explaining
this type of compulsory charity (Zakaah) are:
1. And establish salaah, and pay the Zakaah, and bow your
heads with those who bow (in obedience) (2:43).
2. And woe unto the polytheists who give not their
Zakaah, and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter (41: 7).
3. And My mercy embraces all things, therefore I shall
ordain it for those who ward off evil and pay the Zakaah, and those who believe
in Our revelations (7:156).
4. But that which you give in Zakaah, seeking Allah's
Pleasure, then they will have manifold increase (30:39).
Regarding the fixed amount of the
compulsory Zakaah, Allah says: “And those in whose wealth there is a recognized
right (haqqum ma’loom); for the one who asks and for the
deprived” (70:24-25). In this ayah, the word recognized right
(haqqum ma’loom) has been used, and the word “Ilm” has generally
been used in the Quran to refer to Revelation “Wahy”, for example (2:145). Therefore, “Haqqum Ma’loom” refers to
that amount that was specifically fixed by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi
Wasallam) by way Revelation (Wahy-ul-Khafi) and which was clearly and openly
shown to the Sahabas. In an Islamic State, the government has the right to take
Zakaah from Muslim citizens but only up to the compulsory limit fixed by the
Prophet, and NOT everything as Parwez claims. The verse in which Allah
says: “Take Sadaqah from their wealth in order to purify them and
sanctify them with it, and pray on their behalf. Verily, your prayers are a
source of security for them; and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower” (9:103)
also makes it very clear by using the word “MIN AMWAALIHIM”
(some of their wealth), not everything.
Now it should be quite clear that whatever amount the Holy Prophet
understood from “Haqqum Ma’loom” by way of revelation was exactly that
which he took from the Sahabas as compulsory Zakaah for the welfare of
the Islamic State.
Mr. Parwez further argues that the
command of Zakaah appears 70 times in the Quran. If there was a fixed portion of wealth that
had to be set aside for Zakaah, then why did Allah not mention this in His
Glorious Quran? This argument is also
baseless because then one can also speculate and argue on other commands of
Allah. For example, the command of
Salaah appears 700 times in the Quran.
If Salaah is to be performed 5 times a day every day, then why did Allah
not mention this number in the Glorious Quran regarding Salaah? This argument will also be regarded as
immature and childish. The reason being
that just as the various rules and regulations of Salaah are many; like the
number of times to be performed daily, the number of raka’aat in each Salaah,
the Azaan before the Salaah, Wudhu before the Salaah etc.; similarly there are
various rules and regulations relating to Zakaah i.e. on whom is Zakaah
compulsory, on which portion of one’s wealth, and what percentage of that
portion of wealth (cash, gold, silver, diamond, cultivation - fruits etc.)
should be given. Allah has left the
exemplification of all these in detail to our beloved Prophet Muhammad
(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) by asserting: “Whosoever obeys the Messenger
has indeed obeyed Allah”. Now if we
still become arrogant and insist that our beloved Prophet has no right to
legislate in these matters, then will this NOT be a total disobedience to
Almighty Allah? This makes one really
wonder what type of “Quranic scholar” Parwez was.
One point that is very often repeated
in the official mouthpiece of the Parwezi Movement i.e. Tulu-e-Islam and that
is: ‘The Messenger of Allah used to seek advice from the Sahabas and then
fix the amounts to be paid as compulsory Zakaah depending on the situation of
the time and the requirements of the Muslim Community’. This is such a great lie against our beloved
Prophet that Parwez could NOT even provide one single proof from the books of
history (tareekh) or the books of Hadith, not even a weakest of reports
relating to his erroneous claim.
When it comes to Salaah, Parwez is
quite and accepts the practice of the Muslim majority on this command of
Allah. But when it comes to Zakaah, he
refuses to accept the practice of the Muslim majority on this issue. As far as Zakaah being dependent on the
change and specific requirements of the age is concerned, we can ask one
question only. At the time of the rule
of Sayyiduna Umar (radiyallahu anhu), many economic changes must have taken
place leading up to his time of khilaafah.
The Muslims ruled for six or seven centuries thereafter. How much more economic changes must have had
taken place? But neither did Sayyiduna
Umar nor any of the other Muslim rulers after him ever thought of changing the
fixed amount of Zakaah from each individual, the amount that was fixed by our
beloved Prophet. But Mr. Parwez has made
those Ahadeeth relating to the fixing of the percentages of Zakaah as
fabrications of the Jews, Allah forbid! The reason for all his stubbornness in
not accepting these Ahadeeth and the practice of the Muslim majority on the
fixing of the portion of one’s wealth to be paid as Zakaah is the fact that
these regulations stand in the way of his own invention of communistic origin
Zakaah and Tax – the difference:
According to Parwez, Zakaah and Tax are
interchangeable words but they are basically the same thing. Whatever the Islamic Government takes from
its citizens in the form of taxes is called Zakaah. But let us look at Zakaah and Tax in a bit
more detail as, in real essence, there are no similarities between the two and
they are NOT basically the same thing.
1. Basic difference:
In the Holy Prophet’s time, Muslims
were commanded to pay Zakaah whilst non-Muslims were commanded to pay Kharaaj
and Jizyah, according to the customs prevalent in those days. Jizyah was an
annual tax levied on non-Muslims living in an Islamic state. In return, the duty of the Islamic state was
to protect their lives and property just like any other Muslim citizen. Kharaaj was a tax levied on the producer of
the landed property by a non-Muslim in the Islamic State.
The basic difference was that the
conditions and amount of the Zakaah was fixed and this never changed, but the
amount of what had to be paid by non-Muslims as Jizyah and Kharaaj always
fluctuated from time to time. For
example, in the Prophet’s time, Jizyah was fixed at one Dirham per annum for
non-Muslims living under an Islamic government.
This applied to every non-Muslim man and women, young and old, and
children. But during the rule of Sayyiduna
Umar, he brought about changes in that he excused the old, women and children
from paying Jizyah. The remaining
non-Muslim citizens were divided into THREE groups according to their
earnings. Then the Jizyah was fixed at
4, 2 and 1 Dirhams according to their respective groupings. From this, it is very clear that in those times,
Zakaah was taken to be a pillar (rukn) of Deen and its laws and regulations
were not changed by the conditions and requirements of the Muslim
community. Yes, changes were made on the
amounts of Jizyah and Kharaaj from non-Muslims under an Islamic State as and
when conditions necessitated them.
The fact that whatever else that was
taken from Muslims besides Zakaah was called “Maks” and this was totally
forbidden to be practised. There is a Hadith in Abu Dawood (Book 19, Number 2931) where Uqbah
ibn Amir (radiyallahu anhu) narrates:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace
be upon him) saying: “One who wrongfully takes an extra tax (sahibu maksin)
will not enter Jannah”.
According to Mishkaah, the meaning of “Saahibu
Maksin” is given as “one who takes Ushr (10% tax paid by Muslims on
the produce of the land) and also takes some additional amount over and
From these details, it is clear that “Maks”
is that tax that is taken from Muslims in addition to their compulsory Zakaah;
or it was the additional amount above the fixed portion of Zakaah which was
taken from Muslims. This was regarded a
great sin according to our beloved Prophet as reported in the Hadith quoted
2. Difference with regards to the
objectives of Zakaah & Tax:
The objective of TAX is to take a
portion of each employed person’s income and use this money to run a government
or state and look after the necessary issues of both the state and its
citizens. But the basic objective of
ZAKAAH, according to the Glorious Quran, is the cleansing of one’s wealth and
the purification of one’s soul. Allah,
the Exalted, says:
(Surah Tawbah: 103)
In this ayah, Allah clearly mentions
two distinct objectives of Zakaah.
The FIRST OBJECT is the cleansing
of one’s wealth from any short-comings that may have been made
during the acquisition of one’s wealth. By
this, I don’t mean acquiring wealth through unlawful means that are clearly
defined prohibited by the Quran and Ahadeeth e.g. speaking lies, deceiving
people, engaging in haraam business activities etc. Zakaah given out from such
wealth is not acceptable.
The SECOND OBJECT is the purification
of one’s own self in that the owner of the wealth comes out clean from
the germs of moral diseases that are generated by the greed for wealth.
This verse makes it quite clear that
the legal enforcement of Zakaah is not exclusively designed to alleviate
the suffering of the needy people. In
fact, it is a financial obligation and an act of Ibaadah very similar to Salaah
(Prayer) and Sawm (Fasting) that are acts of physical Ibaadah.
What has been stated here has its
support in the practice of past communities. When some part of wealth was set
aside for Allah, its use became impermissible for everyone. Rather, according
to their custom, this offering of wealth was put at some detached place where a
lightning came from the sky and burnt it up.
This was regarded a sign of acceptance of their offerings. But it is the
unique blessing on our beloved Prophet’s Ummah that their poor and needy have
been allowed to use the wealth set aside as Zakaah.
3. Difference with regards to the
origin of revenues collected from Zakaah & Tax:
From an Islamic point of view, people
are generally divided into two groups economically:
1. One group of people are those from
whom Zakaah is collected and these people are generally called the rich or the
people of Nisaab (minimum amount upon which Zakaah becomes compulsory).
2. The other group of people are those
amongst whom Zakaah is distributed, and they are generally the Fuqaraa (poor
people) and Masaakeen (orphans).
The basic principle (usool) is that
Zakaah can NOT be given to the rich or the people of Nisaab. Zakaah is only taken from them.
Tax is directly the opposite where the
main portion of the money is taken from poor working class people. This tax is obtained either:
1. directly via
income tax, property tax, wealth tax etc.; or
2. indirectly via
sales tax, excise duty etc.
It is quite clear that in many
countries, the major portion of tax is taken from the poor people. The main burden of tax is carried by this
group of the community.
4. Difference with regards to the use
of the Revenues collected from Zakaah & Tax:
The biggest and the most important part
of the Zakaah Revenue is used for the basic necessities of the poor and
needy. Zakaah is one of the five pillars
of Islam and on whom this revenue from Zakaah is used is restricted to the poor
and the needy. But Tax is used for the general administration and running of
the state and its citizens, be they poor or rich. But in real life situations
in many countries, the rich always try to manipulate this tax to their own
advantage. They are the ones that make
maximum use of this revenue from taxes.
They cheat and show less income to pay less tax. But the majority of Muslims take Zakaah to be
an Ibaadah just like Salaah, and the chances of cheating to pay less Zakaah is
relatively very small. This then means
that the revenue from taxes are taken from the poor and manipulated to be used
more by the rich.
The taking of everything above one’s basic requirements for Zakaah:
Parwez asserts that at certain specific
times and according to the requirements of the state, the government can take everything
over and above one’s basic requirements. Implying as its proof, he quote
the following ayah in brackets – which in essence really refers to the
voluntary charity - (“They ask you
as to how much they are to spend, say: ‘what is beyond your needs’”
(2:219). Parwez has made tahreef (changes) of the general understanding
(mafhoom) of this ayah of Kalaamullah and twisted it to suit his own so-called
“Nizaam-e-Ruboobiyyah” invention based on communistic ideology. By using this very cunning trick, he tries to
prove that at times of necessity, the Islamic State can take everything
that is above one’s basic needs; and they should not feel sad about this
because it is the so-called “the injunction of the Quran”. Now we get the total picture how Parwez tries
to force his communistic ideology of “Nizam-e-Ruboobiyyah” onto the Muslim
public. Furthermore, we see that Parwez
is somewhat confused in his views regarding Zakaah between his books “Qurani
Faisley” and “Qurani Nizam-e-Ruboobiyyah”.
In the former, he takes Zakaah to be the same thing as Tax, whilst in
the latter he defines the giving of Zakaah with a different terminology i.e. to
give the basic necessities like food, clothes and shelter for the growth and
development (his definition of ‘tazkiyyah’) of human beings (See Qurani
Nizam-e-Ruboobiyyah: Page 87). But then
what is the meaning of the ayah (“And of some of their wealth take
alms so that you may purify them and sanctify them” - 9:103)? What is
the purpose of the use of the word “MIN” (some of) in this ayah?
Why has not Parwez elaborated on this ayah?
Why is he so selective in picking and choosing verses of the Quran to
suit his own communistic ideology?
Sadaqaat & Khairaat:
In his book “Qurani Faisley”, Parwez
has similarly mocked at the concept of Sadaqaat and Khairaat given by
individuals in an individual capacity. Here again, with his verbal
gymnastics, he tries to make it the task of the State by saying that it must be
collected and distributed in a collective capacity by the State. But what about the verse of the Quran wherein
Allah says: “If you disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if
you conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for
you: It will remove from you some of your evils. And Allah is acquainted of what you do”
In this verse we note that the
addressee is not the state or the government but individuals because the state
or government cannot give charity secretly.
It has to keep record of all expenditures and therefore cannot keep
anything secret. Islam has also given
the individual great importance and the proof of this is the questioning and
reckoning on the Day of Judgement on an individual capacity.
Parwez also says that the so-called
“creator” of the poor and the needy nowadays are the capitalists. This kind of thought is also the product of
communism. Contrary to this belief, Allah says: “It is We Who portion out
between them their livelihood in the life of this world: And We raise some of
them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the mercy of thy Lord is better than the
(wealth) which they amass” (43:32). From this verse, it is quite clear that the
division of the rich and the poor is not created as a result of capitalism, but
Allah has made these divisions. I am not
justifying capitalism which everyone knows is a great social evil. But the division of the rich and poor cannot solely
and entirely be placed as a result of capitalism.
The presence of Fuqaraa in an Islamic
Parwez says: ‘The system which
Islam is trying to enforce is making the state responsible for every person’s
needs and requirements. Therefore, in
this system, the existence of the poor and needy is not possible’. (Qurani
Faisley: 48). Note the errors that Parwez has committed by these
A. It is definite NOT the
responsibility of the state to look after the needs and requirements of every
person. The state’s responsibility is to
look after the needs and requirements of the poor and the needy i.e. those who
are really dependent on the state for their well being. If it is the state’s responsibility to look
after the needs and requirements of every person, then why does he not
substantiate this with a Quranic verse or any Hadith, even if one with a very weak chain of narration (isnaad).
B. The possible existence of the poor
and the needy in an Islamic State is proved from the following verse of the
Quran wherein Allah says: “This day I have perfected for you your religion,
completed My favours upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
(5:3). This verse claims that Allah has perfected our Deen and as far as
its chronological order of revelation is concerned, the chapter of this verse
was number 112 i.e. one of the last chapters to be revealed. Then after this chapter, Surah Tawbah was
revealed wherein Allah says: “Zakaah (charity) are for the poor and the
needy, and those employed to administer (the funds), and for those whose hearts
have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth), and for those in bondage and in
debt, and in the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer. (Thus it is) ordained by Allah. And Allah is
full of knowledge and wisdom” (9:60).
From the above verses, the following
1. The Deen of Islam was complete just
before the revelation of the verse contained in Surah Ma’idah (5:3).
2. In this completed system of
Deen-e-Islam, the poor and the needy had been in existence. This proves that the existence of the poor
and the needy has nothing to do with a specific period of time or a transient
state of affairs of an Islamic State.
3. In the second verse quote above,
Allah has used the wider word ‘Sadaqaat’ which includes both the compulsory
Zakaah and the recommended Khairaat.
This is very clear that just as it is the responsibility of the state to
look after the poor and the needy, it is equally important for the rich
community to do so with Zakaah and Khairaat.
But Parwez had not looked at these
verses because his spectacle of communistic Nizam-e-Ruboobiyyah was a veil
between him and the Word of Allah (Kalaamullah).
To substantiate his view of the Islamic
State being responsible for everyone, Parwez uses a very weak Hadith, even if
they contradict the Quran, wherein a statement is attributed to Sayyiduna Umar
(RA) that he said: ‘During my reign, if a dog had to die on the banks of River
Euphrates, then I will be answerable for it on the Day of Judgement’. But how contrary to the Quran this is when we
look some Quranic verses e.g. Allah says: “And there is no moving creature
on earth but its sustenance depends on Allah: He knows its place and its
temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record” (11:6).
Sadaqatul Fitr or Postage Stamp
After much futile attempts at emphasizing
(without any proofs from the Quran) that the Sadaqatul Fitr was organized
collectively by a central authority,
Parwez makes the following statement: “…
these include Sadaqatul Fitr, which the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi
Wasallam) imposed at his time (i.e. some time after Emigration; the fasting
have become obligatory in 4 H), when the Islamic Government was not yet
regularly established and the Muslims were facing emergency requirements on
every step”. (Qurani Faisley: Page 51). Even if the Prophet did collect Sadaqatul
Fitr collectively, where is his proof that he used this for the accommodation
and maintenance of the Muhajiroon (emigrants)?
Let him produce even a very weak Hadith or historical report to
substantiate his claim.
Parwez then makes mockery of Sadaqatul
Fitr in the following way: “But
now the non-centralism of our own authority is such that voices emphasizing the
necessity of Sadaqatul Fitr will sound echoing from every nook and corner of
the pulpit (mimbar). And you would have
never heard anyone saying that the Sunnah of the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi
Wasallam) is that this Sadaqah was collected at a central place and then its
distribution was made through the central authority. At present the only part
of the Sunnah of the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) made public is that
before the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer is offered, the Sadaqatul Fitr be calculated and
distributed among the poor on an individual basis. If this is not done, the fasting will remain
suspended. These fasts do not reach Allah, as if Sadaqatul Fitr is not used for
the betterment of the millah, but it is used as a postage stamp to send our
fasts to Allah”. (Qurani Faisley: Page 51).
Mr. Parwez fails to understand that
Sadaqatul-Fitr is not just a postage stamp.
The purpose of Sadaqatul-Fitr is to purify the one who has fasted from
any type of indecent act or speech that he might have committed while fasting.
It is also a help to the poor and the needy. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu
Anhu) said: "The Messenger of Allah, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, enjoined
Sadaqatul-Fitr on the one who fasts to shield him from any indecent act or
speech which one might have committed during the fasting and for the purpose of
providing food for the needy." (Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah). This purpose in also proved from the verse of
the Glorious Quran quoted earlier wherein Allah says: And of some of their wealth take
alms so that you may purify them and sanctify them (9:103).
May Allah guide us all in deciphering
the Truth from Falsehood. Ameen!
Requesting your humble du’as.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN,