Sep 20, 2012, 10:38 AM
Alhagie Imam Muhammed Lamin Touray, the President of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC), has explained that "Zakat" (alms giving) is a divine command, which if followed can take one to Paradise and rejecting it could land one in a blazing fire as punishment.
The GSIC President made these remarks while delivering a sermon in the village of Gunjur, Kombo South district, Western Region last Friday.
He said the commandment to pay Zakat (alms giving) is from Allah and He alone has the mandate to determine who should receive the Zakat from the people entitled to give Zakat.
"Zakat is from Allah, and it is for him alone. No one has the right to determine who receives Zakat. This is why Allah himself has chosen the people entitled to receive Zakat, as explained in Chapter (9) Verse (60) of the Holy Quran, which reads:
"Alms are for the poor and the needy; those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; those in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."
According to Imam Touray, Allah has planned a severe punishment on the Day of Judgement for those who will neither care nor feed the indigent, citing Chapter (69) Verse 25-37) which reads: "And he that will be given his records in his left hand, will say:" Ah! Would that my record has not been given to me! "And that I had never realised how many accounts (stood)! " Of no profit to me has been my wealth! My power has perished from me!" (The stern command will say). "You seize him and you bind him, and you burn him, and you burn him in the blazing fire. "Further make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! "This was he that would not believe Allah Most High. "And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! "So no friend he has here this day. "Nor he has any food except the corruption from the washing wounds, which none do eat but those in sin."
The erudite Imam also cited Chapter (74) Verse (36-48) which reads: "Warning to mankind. To any of you that chooses to press forward, or to follow behind. Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds. Except the companions of the right hand. In gardens they will ask one another. And (ask) of the sinners: "What led you into hellfire? They will say: "We were not of those who prayed, nor were we of those who fed the indigents; But we use to talk vanities with vain talkers." "Ah! We use to deny the Day of Judgement; until there came to us (the hour) that is certain." Then will no intercession of the intercessors profit them."
He further stated that the Quran has disqualified one's faith of being a true believer if you failed to give out zakat after meeting the requirements. He said this is evident in Chapter (107) Verse 1-3, which reads: "Do you see one who denies our religion (and the Day of Judgement)? Then such is the man who repulses the orphan (with harshness), and those not encouraging the feeding of the indigent."
In his sermon, Imam Touray stated that, nowadays, there are many retarded businesses and low yields from farm produce as a result of people neglecting the Zakat (alms giving). He said Allah has taught us, in the Quran, the story of the heirs who inherited from their late father, who always gave Zakat to the needy people from his farm produce, before doing anything with it. However, the heirs neglected to help the needy from what they inherited from their father, as narrated in Chapter (68) verse 17-33:
"Verily we have tried them as we tried the people of the Garden, when they resolve to gather the fruits of the (garden) in the morning. But made no reservation (if it be Allah's will). Then there came on the (garden) a visitation from your lord (which swept away) all around, while they were asleep. So the (garden) became by the morning, like a dark and disolate spot (whose fruits had been gathered). As the morning broke they call out, to one to another: "You go to your tilth (betimes) in the morning if you will gather the fruits." So they departed conversing in secret low tones, saying: "Let not a single indigent person breaks in upon you into the (garden) this day." And they opened the morning strong in their (unjust) resolve. But when they saw the (garden), they said: "We have surely lost our way. Indeed, we are shut out (of the fruits of our labour)!" Said one of them, more just (than the rest): "Did I not say to you, why not glorify (Allah)? "They said: "Glory to our Lord! Verily we have been doing wrong!" Then they turned one against another, in reproach. They said: "Alas for us! We have indeed transgressed! It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this, for we do turn to him in repentance!"
Such is the punishment (in this life), but greater is the punishment in the hereafter, if only they knew!
The imam concluded his sermon by saying that "if we all give out zakat as expected of us, instead of competing on the number of bank accounts we have and compounds built, then there will be no poverty in our society." It was the best mechanism for poverty alleviation, since time in immemorial, he concluded.