Kitaab-uz-Zakah [Book of the Obligatory Charity Tax] starts today..
Volume 2, Book 24, Number 484:
Narrated Jarir bin ‘Abdullah ,
I gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet for offering prayer perfectly giving Zakat and giving good advice to every Muslim.
What is Zakah?
Zakah is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a duty performed on a regular basis. Zakah is not an option it is a compulsory act for all Muslims. It is a contribution paid once a year on savings of two and a half percent. This giving is to “cleanse” your money and possessions from excessive desire for them or greed. The idea is, that by giving this money you learn not to place too much importance on material wealth (cash and possessions).
Zakah is a compulsory payment and is neither charity nor a tax. It is expected from every Muslim individual. It is paid on the net balance after a Muslim has spent on basic necessities, family expenses, due credits, donations and taxes.
Zakah provides us with the opportunity of sharing our excess wealth with those less fortunate than ourselves. In fact we and our wealth belong to Allah. He is the real owner and we are merely the trustees of His wealth. We do our duty as trustees if we pay Zakah as an obligatory part of Ibadah.
Islam is a complete code of life which includes among other things, the economic side of life. Islam has its own economic principles. Zakah is one of the basic principles of the Islamic economy, based on social welfare and fair distribution of wealth. In addition to the compulsory payment of Zakah, Muslims are encouraged in the Qur’an to make voluntary contributions to help the poor and needy, and for other social welfare purposes. This voluntary contribution is called Sadaqah (Charity).
Through the payment of Zakah, the rich share their wealth with the poor and thus the process of concentration of wealth is checked and fair distribution ensured.
Does a kaafir [non-believer] have to pay Zakah? Answer here.
Narrated Yazid bin Al ‘Ubaid:
I used to accompany Salama bin Al-Akwa’ and he used to pray behind the pillar which was near the place where the Quran’s were kept I said, “O Abu Muslim! I see you always seeking to pray behind this pillar.” He replied, “I saw Allah’s Apostle always seeking to pray near that pillar.”
-> A pillar can be taken as a sutra. It’s a sunnah.
I saw the most famous people amongst the companions of the Prophet hurrying towards the pillars at the Maghrib prayer before the Prophet came for the prayer.
-> After the Maghrib adhaan (call for prayer), and before the Maghrib salah, hasten to pray two nawafil. Mostly because there ain’t much time in between the adhaan and salah. :)
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet entered the Ka’ba along with Usama bin Zaid, ‘Uthman bin Talha and Bilal and remained there for a long time. When they came out, I was the first man to enter the Ka’ba. I asked Bilal “Where did the Prophet pray?” Bilal replied, “Between the two front Pillars.”
‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Allah’s Apostle entered the Ka’ba along with Usama bin Zaid, Bilal and ‘Uthman bin Talha Al-Hajabi and closed the door and stayed there for some time. I asked Bilal when he came out, ‘What did the Prophet do?’ He replied, ‘He offered prayer with one pillar to his left and one to his right and three behind.’ In those days the Ka’ba was supported by six pillars.” Malik said: “There were two pillars on his (the Prophet’s) right side.”
Read also: Inside the Ka’bah.