Islam: ZAKAH Punishment in the Hadith for the Delinquents of Zakah

Friday, July 26, 2019

Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “No owner of a treasure who does not pay zakah will be spared, for his treasure will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks and his forehead will be branded with them until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years.

[The individual] will be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. A camel owner who does not pay zakah will not be spared (either). He will lay flat on a sandy, soft plain and they will run over him heavily one after another until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years. [The individual in question] will then be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. Equally, no owner of goats who does not pay zakah (will be spared). He will lay flat for them on a sandy plain, and the goats will run over him as heavy as they will come and they will trample him with their hoofs and gore him with their horns--with twisted horns or with no horns--one after another until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants, during a day lasting fifty thousand years, and [the individual in question] will be shown the path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. They [the Companions] asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about the horses?’ He said: ‘Horses have goodness in their foreheads (or he said ‘Goodness lies in the foreheads of the horses’) until the Day of Judgment. Horses are of three kinds: they are a source of reward for the owner, they are a cover, or they are a burden to a person. As to those [horses] that bring rewards, one who raises and trains them for the sake of Allah will get a reward from Him as well as all that they consume will be considered a reward for him from Allah. For every stalk of grass in the meadow that one lets them graze, there is a reward for him. For every drop of water that one lets them drink from the creek, there is a reward.’ He went on describing until a reward was mentioned even for their urine and their feces.

‘And for every step that they prance on elevated ground, there is a reward. As for the one to whom they will provide cover [in the life hereafter], he is the one who raises them for honor and dignity and remembers the right of their backs and stomachs in plenty and adversity. As for the one to whom they are a burden, he is the one who raises them for glory and showing off to people.’ They asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about donkeys?’ He said: ‘Allah has not revealed to me anything in regard to them except this one comprehensive verse: ‘He who does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and he who does an atom’s weight of evil will see it’ [az-Zalzalah 7].”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay zakah on his wealth, on the Day of Judgment it will become a bald-headed, poisonous, male snake with two black spots over his eyes. The snake, on the Day of Judgment, will encircle his neck, and bite his cheeks and say: ‘I am your treasure, I am your wealth.’ “Then he [the Prophet] recited this ‘ayah: “ ‘And let not those who hoard up that which Allah has bestowed upon them of his bounty...’ [al’Imran 180].”

Ibn Majah, al-Bazzar, and al-Baihaqi relate from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “O Muhajirun, beware of five traits: if ever immorality spreads in a community and there is no sense of shame on its occurrence or mentioning it [and people talk about it as if nothing bad has taken place], diseases which were not present in the time of their predecessors will spread among them. If they decrease the measure and weight (of sold grains or food), they will be overcome by poverty, their provisions will decrease and their ruler will be unjust. If they refrain from paying the zakah due on their properties, they will be deprived of rain, unless they get it only for the sake of their cattle. If they renounce their commitment to Allah and His Messenger, they will be governed by an enemy who is a stranger to them and who will take away some of what they possess. If their rulers do not rule according to Allah’s Book, they will be afflicted by civil war. Allah forbids that these should happen to you.”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from al-Ahnaf ibn Qays that he said: “I was in the company of some men of Quraish, when a man (Abu Zharr al-Ghafari, a companion of the Prophet) came with coarse hair, clothes, and appearance. He stood up, greeted them and said: ‘Inform those who hoard property that a stone will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then placed on the nipples of their breasts until it comes out from the top of their shoulders. It will then be placed on the top of their shoulders until it comes out again from the nipple of their breasts, and they will be shaken.’ Then he left. I followed him and sat near him, not knowing who he was. I said: ‘These people disliked what you said to them.’ He observed: ‘They do not understand anything that my friend said to me.’ I asked: ‘Who is your friend?’ He replied: ‘The Prophet, upon whom be peace. [One day he asked me]: ‘Do you see the Mount of Uhud?’ I looked at the sun to see how much of the day was left, as I thought that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, wanted to send me on an errand for him. I said: ‘Yes.’ Upon this he said: ‘Nothing would delight me more than having gold equal to the bulk of Uhud and spending all of it (in Allah’s way) except three dinars.’

 

‘Indeed, these people do not understand and go on accumulating riches. By Allah! I neither ask them for this world, nor do I ask them anything about religion until I meet Allah, The Exalted One.’ “

Judgment on the Zakah Refrainer 

As an obligation upon Muslims, zakah is one of the essential requirements of Islam. If somebody disputed its obligation, he would be outside of Islam, and could legally be killed for his unbelief unless he was a new Muslim and could be excused for his ignorance.

As for the one who refrains from paying it without denying its obligation, he would be guilty of committing a sin. Yet, this act does not place him outside of Islam. It is the ruler’s duty to take zakah from the defaulter by force and rebuke him, provided he does not collect more than the stipulated amount. However, in the views of Ahmad and ash-Shaf’i (in his earlier opinion) the ruler could take half of the defaulter’s money, in addition to the calculated amount of zakah, as a punishment. This view is based on what Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, and al-Baihaqi have recorded from Bahz ibn Hakim all the way back to his grandfather who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, say: ‘Whether the camels of the zakah payer are grown or baby camels, it makes no difference in his reward if he gave them willingly. (However,) if someone refrains from paying it, it will be taken from him along with half his property, for it is a right of our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, not a right of the house of Muhammad.’”

Asked about its chain, Ahmad ruled it good (Hassan). Of Bahz, al-Hakim says: “His traditions are authentic.” Ash-Shaf’i, as al-Baihaqi says, did not include it for fiqhi consideration because . . . “this hadith is not confirmed by the scholars of hadith.” 

If some people refrain from paying zakah knowing that it is due and that they can afford to pay, they should be fought until they yield and pay. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that Ibn ‘Umar heard the Prophet say: “I have been ordered to fight people until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and they uphold the prayers, and pay the zakah. If they do this, their lives and properties will be safe, except for what is due to Islam, and their accounts are with Allah.”

Abu Hurairah is reported to have said: “When Allah’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, died and Abu Bakr succeeded him as caliph, some Arabs apostatized, causing Abu Bakr to declare war upon them. ‘Umar said to him: ‘Why must you fight these men?’, especially when there is a ruling of the Prophet, upon whom be peace: ‘I have been called to fight men until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and whoever said it has saved his life and property from me except when a right is due in them, and his account will be with Allah.’ Abu Bakr replied: ‘By Allah! I will fight those who differentiate between Salah and Zakah because zakah is the due on property. By Allah! If they withheld even a young she-goat ( ‘anaq) that they used to pay at the time of Allah’s Messenger, upon whom be peace, I would fight them.’ Then ‘Umar said: ‘By Allah! It was He who gave Abu Bakr the true knowledge to fight, and later I came to know that he was right.’ “

The same hadith narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmizhi has the following variant: “If they withheld the ‘iqal, the rope of the camel,” instead of “’anaq, young she-goat.”

To be continued