The author of Riyâd-un-nâsihîn ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ says that Hadrat Alî, the Emîrulmu’mînîn ’kerrem-Allâhu wejheh’, says: Rasûlullah declared in his farewell hajj: “Pay zakât of your property! Be it known that those who do not pay their zakât do not have namâz, fast, hajj, jihâd, or îmân,” which means to say that if a person does not know it as a duty to pay zakât, does not believe that it is fard, is not sorry for not paying it, and does not know that he is sinful, then he becomes a disbeliever. If a person does not pay zakât for years, his debts of zakât pool together and cover all his property.
He thinks his property belongs to him; it does not even occur to him that Muslims have rightful shares in that property. His heart never feels sorry. He has clasped the property so tightly. Such people are known as Muslims. But very few of them pass away with îmân. Paying zakât is commanded together with namâz at thirty-two places in the Qur’ân al-kerîm. The thirty-fourth âyat-ikerîma of Tawba sûra declares about such people: “Give the news of very bitter torment to those who save their property and money, but do not pay their zakât to the poor among the Muslims!” The
following âyat-i-kerîma informs us of this torment as follows: “Property and money for which zakât is not paid will be heated in Hell-fire and will be pressed on the foreheads, flanks and backs of their owners as if being stamped with a seal.” O thou, the arrogant rich! Do not let the ephemeral property and money of this world fool thee! Before thee they belonged to others. And after thee they will belong to others again. Think of the severe torment of Hell! That property from which you have not reserved and paid zakât and that wheat for which you have not paid ’ushr are in actual fact venoms. Allâhu ta’âlâ is the real owner of the property. The rich are like His representatives and officials and the poor are, as it were, His household and kinsfolk. Allah’s representatives have to give His debt to the poor. A person who does the tiniest favour will get its reward. A hadîth-i-sherîf states: “Allâhu ta’âlâ will certainly reward the good-doers.” The ninth âyat of Hashr Sûra gives glad tidings: “He who pays his zakât will certainly be saved.” The hundred and eightieth âyat of ’Imrân sûra declares: “Those who do not pay zakât of the property which has been bestowed upon them by Allâhu ta’âlâ think that they are doing well and that they will remain rich. On the contrary, they are harming themselves. Their property will be a means of torment in Hell; in a serpent’s guise, it will coil around their necks and bite them from head to foot.” It is written so in the tafsîrs of al-Basît
and Wâsît. Those rich people who believe in the Hereafter and torment in Hell should pay zakât of their property and ’ushr of their crops and fruit and thus escape the torment. A hadîth-i-sherîf declares: “Protect your property against harm by paying zakât.” The author of Tafsîr-i-mughnî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ says: “The Qur’ân al-kerîm integrates three things into three other
 Both these books, and also a third one, Wejîz, were written by Abul Hasan Alî Bin Ahmad Wâhidî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (d. 468 [1075 A.D.], Nishâpûr.) things. If the former of each pair is not done the latter will not be acceptable: unless one obeys the Prophet ‘sall Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi
wa sallam’, one will not have obeyed Allâhu ta’âlâ; unless one thanks one’s parents one will not have thanked Allâhu ta’âlâ; unless one pays zakât of one’s property, one’s namâz will not be accepted.” O you who have become inebriated with the wine of oblivion! How long will you go on running after the world’s comfort and pleasure? Until when will you go on wasting this valuable life amassing property paying no regard to whether it
comes through ways that Islam calls harâm or through what it declares to be halâl? You ignore the commands and prohibitions of Islam! Think of the time when Azrâîl ‘’alaihi-s-salâm’ will come and take away your soul by force, when the lion of death will seize you with its paw, when the throes of death will attack you, when the devil will pique you in order to steal your îmân, when your acquaintances will offer condolences to your children, saying, “We are so sorry about his death. May you be safe!” Do you never apprehend the time when the sad voice of separation will reach
you and they will say, “You have done nothing good for us, but have always done what we dislike. And we in turn will do to you as you have done to us.”? Only think; what answers have you prepared for the questions in the grave and in the Hereafter? What pretexts will you profess to Allâhu ta’âlâ’s reproaches? Pity yourself! You will be questioned, and you have no answer to give. If you go into Hell you cannot endure its fire. Do so much good to yourself and to others that when others do good people will think you did it. Do not harm yourself or others so that when someone does something harmful they will not think you did it. A hadîth-i-sherîf in Sahîh-i-Muslim states: “O Adam’s son! You keep saying, ‘My property, my property.’ What is yours from that property is what you eat up, what you wear out, and what you cause to survive eternally by giving it away for Allah’s sake.” If you love your property, then why are you going away leaving it to your enemy? Do not part with your beloved one; take it with you!
If you cannot give it all, then at least suppose you are one of your inheritors and mail your share to the Hereafter. If you canot give this, either, then at least pay your zakât and thus escape the torment! An epigram: Khwâja Abdullah-i-Ansârî, the great master from Hirat, stated: “If you love your property, spend it properly so that it will be your eternal friend! If you do not love it, eat it up so that it will cease to exist!”
A story: Ferîdeddîn-i-Attâr narrates in his book Tedhkira-tulAwliyâ: “Juneyd-i-Baghdâdî was seven years old, when one day he came back from school and saw his father weeping. When he asked the reason his father said, ‘Today I sent your uncle Sirrî Sakatî a few silver coins as my zakât, but he refused them. Now I am weeping because I realize that I have wasted my valuable life for these silver coins which men of Allah do not like but refuse.’ ‘Give the money to me, daddy, let me take it,’ said Juneyd, and went off to his (maternal) uncle’s place with the money. He knocked at the
door and when his uncle asked who he was he said, ‘It’s me, Juneyd, uncle. Open the door and take these silver coins which are my father’s zakât!’ When his uncle said that he would not take them he said, ‘Take them for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ, who has one justice by commanding my father and been so kind by giving you freedom!’ And when his uncle wanted to know what Allâhu ta’âlâ had commanded his father and how He had been kind to him, Juneyd said, ‘He has done justice by making my father rich and by commanding him to pay zakât. And He has been so kind by making you poor and giving you a choice between accepting and refusing it.’ Sirrî liked his way with words and said, ‘Sonny! Before accepting the silver coins, I have accepted you.’ He opened the door and took the money.” Here we end our translation from Riyâd-un-nâsihîn.
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