Reprint from WWW.TumasikTradeNetwork (TTN) - 7 July 2012, Singapore.
Zakat is as important as the salat. Wherever Allah mentions salat in the Quran He almost always mentions zakat immediately thereafter. As the Muslim has to pray when the time for prayer sets in, so too does he have to pay zakat when the time for zakat sets in. Islam is simple. As much as one cannot change the number of rak’aat in the prayer, so much he also cannot change the nisab or the payment method of zakat.
Zakat on monetary wealth must be paid in money. Therefore the understanding of money is vital in fulfilling this pillar of submission to Allah. It is a pillar, not a supporting stone. If one does not understand the fiqh on money, or cares not to understand money in Islam, one will be unable to fulfill one’s obligation in paying zakat. No zakat, no Deen. No zakat, no economy. No zakat, no Muslim community.
Fiat currency is not money, it is illusory money, and paying zakat in fiat currency does not fulfill the obligation, it does not fulfill the third pillar of submission to Allah. Imam Malik stated very clearly that money is any ‘ayn that is commonly accepted as a medium of exchange. Any tangible commodity that is commonly accepted by the people as a means of payment may be used as money in the Muslim community. This cannot be a promise of payment. It cannot be a debt. It cannot be a promissory note. It cannot be an intangible medium the value of which is constantly falling and which is at the control of private hands that tax every transacition and charge interest and rent on the very use of that money. It must be dinar and dirham and in the absence of the dinar and dirham, it can be rice, barley, salt, wheat, dates, sugar, coffee, etc.
The four madh-habs have all clearly illustrated this and Muslims all around the world have practised this without question until the last one hundred and fifty years. With the entry of banking and paper money into Muslim lands, the pillar of zakat started to gradually crumble because halal and shari’ah currency was slowly being pulled out of the hands of the Muslims. Until slowly it became halal to pay zakat in the very instrument of injustice. Does that make sense? Fulfilling an obligation with something that rips off people, something that is an illusion in itself and something that perpetuates the usurious crimes bankers? Does that really make sense? Will Allah make something unjust halal, and that too to fulfill an obligation that He has commanded upon the Muslims? So that while people pay their zakat, they are also being ripped off at the same time? Does that really make sense to those who defend fiat currency?
This is not to say that Allah does not accept the zakat of those who do not know this and who have been paying zakat in fiat currency unknowingly but sincerely. Allah is the judge of our actions. However, the law that Allah has decreed which His Messenger has shown us does not change just because our circumstances have changed. It is the duty of the ‘ulama, men of knowledge on matters of the Deen, to educate the Muslim community on such grave matters. If they do not, then they are answerable to Allah. They are also answerable to Allah and punishable if they change the practices of the Deen and thereby misguide the community.
When we witness the cancer of Riba spreading all around the economy and when we witness Allah’s wrath descending on this usurious technic global society we must all the more turn to Allah in repentance and strive to establish His shari’ah. As much as we express our love for the Rasul sallallahu alayhi wa sallam so much must we also live to defend and re-establish the shari’ah that he brought. If we do not, then it only means that we have no concern for the shari’ah. The meaning and practice of money is lost and what has replaced it has become the very instrument of injustice and oppression. We witness today that zakat too as a consequence is lost. Therefore re-establishing zakat is to kill three birds with one stone.
An Ameer’s organised collection of zakat in gold and silver coins which will be distributed free to the Muslims – the legal recipients according to the shari’ah – is not only submitting to Allah proper (re-establishing the third pillar of the Deen in its political and communal meanings), it is changing the disastrous circumstances and conditions that fiat currency and banking have created by changing the money supply of the economy from false and fraudulent modes of exchange into real, halal and shari’ah currencies, but is also responding to the cancerous economic situation that we face today by preparing for what is coming tomorrow when the ship sinks because Batil is bound to fail and die and when that happens the Muslims must not be lost and desperate. When Muslim Sultans entered new territory, they distributed gold and silver coins free to the people of the land. They established mosques and alongside the mosques, markets for the money supply to circulate. This is what we have to do. Zakat and markets alongside the prayer and mosques.
Muslim commuities around the world, especially in Non-Muslim lands, must organise themselves in micro-communities under an Ameer and make sure the organised collection of zakat is established together with the prayer as a pillar of the Deen in all its communal significance.
Last Wednesday night, 15th Sha’ban 1433, was a night of great spiritual strength and benefits. On that night we made dhikr of Allah, recited Quran and asked Allah to give us strength and protect us in establishing the shari’ah of the Rasul sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Then something happened which must be recorded in the history of modern Singapore. For the first time in many many decades, a man, courageous and daring to submit to Allah after knowledge on the matters explained above had reached him some months ago, came forward to the man he had accepted as his leader and paid zakat to him amounting to 542 dirhams.
He had known the matter and had waited for his financial year to end, declared his monetary wealth and paid zakat in dirhams. It was a simple act of submission to Allah, which did not require great knowledge and the necessity to go through study-courses on Islam. He had to pay zakat because the time had come and he knew he must pay in real, halal and shari’ah currency and he went to his leader, declared his wealth and paid in dirhams. Islam is as simple as that. But his action has now begun a new practice of throwing stones, the weight, gravity, accuracy and speed of every stone will kill three glass birds at every throw.
The dirhams will be distributed very soon with education on halal and shari’ah currency to people belonging to the eight categories of zakat recipients together with education on the imperative of establishing zakat as a communal pillar of the Deen. Keep your watch dear readers on the next Wariq Madinah program. Capitalism that is defending itself with glass shields is smashed once again. At the neighbouring Muslim lands – Malaysia and Indonesia – a few Sultans have pledged daringly and courageously to re-establish zakat in this way and have got their shari’ah currency readily minted to be thrown at the glass shields of Capitalism. But when Sultans throw their royal stones, the efficacy will be far more resounding for many many years to come.
Miuslims must start spending their dinars and dirhams. If they do not want to spend, of course they are permitted to save but then they must also give zakat on their monetary wealth in dinar and dirham, of course only if it reaches the nisab. This method of payment they are not permitted to change. When more Muslims give zakat in halal and shari’ah currency, they will throw strong stones at glass birds.
Laa Ghaliba illallah. We do not win. We do not have power. All victory and power belongs to Allah.