“ ز ك و zkv ”, the root of “ الزكوة Zaqah’ which is one of the fundamental elements of the religion of Islam, means “reproduction and The thing that is reproduced and multiplied given by Allah from the species of fruit and cereals is called “ زكاء zeqa ”. One of the derivatives of this root, the word of “ الزكوة Zaqah ” means “ صلاح Salah; the best, cleanest and the most correct form of a thing”. “Zaqah of a property” is “Cleaning of the property and rendering it pure, clean-limpid.” (Dictionaries of LISAN-UL ARAB and TAC-UL ARUS)
“ التزكية tazqiya”, one of the infinitives of the word, means “Cleaning, improving, creation of abundance, growing and purify”. As a Qur’an concept, “tazqiya” means the purification of the soul, cleaning it from polytheism, sin, nifaq [hypocrisy], rics [dirt], ignorance, bad feelings and similar things and teaching it obedience and taqwa [surrendering under guardianship of Allah]. We see this meaning in the following ayat:
Surah Al-A‘la 14–17 :
14-17The one who purifies himself, who fulfills Salah; supports others financially and spiritually; strives to enlighten the community mentioning the name of his Rabb will definitely save himself. But you prefer that simple worldly life. Yet, Akhirat [Afterlife] is better and ever lasting.
Surah Al-Layl 14–21 :
14-16That is why, I have warned you of a fire which is blazing in which no one except those who deny, who turn away, those who are the most unhappy will enter.
17-21The one who gives his wealth to purify himself without expecting a recompense in return, only seeking the countenance of his Sublime Rabb, who has entered under the guardianship of Allah will be kept away from it. And that one will definitely be satisfied soon.
Surah Ash-Shams 1–10 :
1-10The Qur’an and the social enlightment that it spreads, the Messenger and believers who follow the Qur’an, those peoples who are enlightened with the light of the Qur’an, those peoples who are deprived of the light of the Qur’an, scholars and the knowledge that exalts the scholars, those who are utterly ignorant and the principles and mentalities that make them like this, those who have found their selves and the factors which make find the self – then Allah inspired man instincts of transgressing and protecting himself/committing sin and abilities of being under the guardianship of Allah; He coded to his genes – is the evidence that, he who purifies his self has truly been saved. And he who consciously denies it, has definitely lost.
Purification of the soul by a person is a state that is only possible by having faith and doing good deeds. What dirties a person is the disbelief and associating others with Allah because the fact that associating others with Allah is impurity and those who associate others with Allah are impure is stated in the Qur’an (Surah At-Tawbah 28). In a person with belief, “taqwa” [entering under the guardianship of Allah] which is the reflection of belief will emerge and there will be a complete pure and clean soul. In a person without belief, “fujur” which is the reflection of faithlessness will emerge and there will be a soul that accommodates all kinds of social dirt.
Surah An-Najm 31, 32 :
31,32Whatever is in heavens/universe and whatever is on the earth belongs to Allah so that He may recompense those who do evil with what they have done, He may reward those who do good; - except for some minor glitches – those who avoid of the major sins and immoralities with “the best”. Indeed, your Rabb is the One Whose forgiveness is vast. He is the One Who knows you best when He formed you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the womb of your mothers. Then, do not claim yourselves to be pure. He knows better who has entered under the guardianship of Allah.
The word of “ الزكوة Zaqah” is derived from this root as well (“ ز ك وzkv ”). As we specified above, zaqah means, “ صلاحsalah; the best, cleanest and the most correct form of a thing”. The terminological meaning of “Zaqah” is “The tax given by the believers as a debt of belief as a debt of being a servant in the state of the believers for the existence, continuity of the state and establishment of Salah [ensuring financial and spiritual support and safety]”
As zaqah ensures the spiritual purity of the believers by making it possible for them to perform their worships in an independent state freely, thus rendering them perfect, purifies them from the passion of commodities, properties and children while performing this practise, and causes abundance in properties by purifying people from the dirt of sins and stinginess, this tax worship is called “zaqah”. (Let us once again remember the ”tazqiya” ayat we presented above.)
Believers have the task of protecting themselves, their acquaintances, all humans, all animals and nature from incitement, sedition, cruelty and corruption. These tasks assigned by Allah depend only on the fact that they are to have a state belonging to them and a land with clear border. Hence, Allah ordered that the believers must certainly have an independent state, defend that state, and wage a war with those people who wish to drive them out of their land.
As in every state, a material support, a tax, is needed for the state established by the believers to carry out the education, training, health, domestic and foreign security, infrastructure and religious services to guarantee future, and to protect the religion and the independent land.
Even though contemporary tax and the Zaqah tax in Islam are in accord with each other in form at some points, basically [in terms of the purpose and reason of receiving (benefit or power theory), areas of spending, section of the society from which it is received, values received and time for receiving)] they are different.
It is impossible for the believers who do not have free and independent land to live the principles of Islam and to continue their existence.
Zaqah is given only by believers. If foreign support comes for the believers to maintain the existence and continuity of the state, that state is destined to corruption. Zaqah is not requested by the state and received by means of using force. Believers give their shares willingly. Hence, zaqah takes place in the Qur’an always with the verb of “give” (“Give!” or “They give”). Taking of zaqah is by no means mentioned.
GIVING -“ الإيتاءْ iyta ”
Main root with three letters of the word of “ ايتاء Iyta” that is translated into English as “to give” is “ اe ت t ىy”. Actual meaning of “ اe ت t ى y ” is “Coming of water to somewhere as a result of someone’s opening of a furrow” (LISAN-UL ARAB) In Arabic, “coming” is expressed with the word of “ جاء cae”, in addition to the word of “ اتى eta”. Actual meaning of “ جاء Cae” is “Coming of water or rain into a pit by itself”. (LISAN-UL ARAB). This means that the two words are not exactly synonym and there is a difference between them. While “ اتى eta ” means “it came as someone acted as an intermediary”, “ جاء cae” means “it came by itself”.
The conjugations “ اْتى e’ta, يوئتى yü’tiy, ايتاء iyta ” of the verb of “ اتىEta ” from “ إفعالIf’al” bab is generally translated and accepted as “Gave, gives and to give”. When the first meaning of the word is taken into account, the actual meaning must be “Gave, gives and to give by opening a path, overcoming obstacles and bringing-taking”.
With this technical information in mind, we must understand and translate all the “ آتوا الزكوة atuzzaqah, يئتوالزكوة Yu’tunezzaqah ” expressions mentioned in the Qur’an’ as “Give zaqah by brining / taking, they give zaqah by bringing / taking”.
Believers maintain the establishment, maintaining and continuity of a state that is compliant with the principles of the religion of Islam, on the forefront rather than their own existence and lives. Failure or unwillingness by some people of giving zaqah in the state of the believers is the absolute sign that they are not believers.
Protection of all spiritual values and universal rights of the believers depends on their living in their lands safely. This rule applies to all the nations. Nations protect their existences from the outside attacks within the boundaries of their motherland and domestically, they ensure the safety of properties, lives, chastity and live with the freedom of religion and conscience.
In the Qur’an, the word of zaqah is used with its lexical meaning in two places (Surah Al-Kahf81 and Surah Mary 13) and with terminological meaning in thirty ayat, being eleven times in the surah sent down during the Meccan period, and nineteen times in the Medinan surah.
They are as follows: Surah Al-Baqara 43, 83, 110, 177, Surah An-Nisa 77, 162, Surah Al-Ma’idah 12, 55, Surah Al-A‘raf 156, Surah At-Tawbah 5, 11, 18, 71, Surah Al-Kahf 81, Surah Mary 13, 31, 55, Surah Al-Anbiya 73, Surah Al-Hajj 41,78, Surah Al-Mu’minun 4, Surah An-Nur 37,56, Surah An-Naml 3, Surah Ar-Rum 39, Surah Luqman 4, Surah Al-‘Ahzab 33, Surah Fussilat 7, Surah Al-Mujadila 13, Surah Al-Muzzammil 20, Surah Al-Bayyinah 5.
The zaqah tax takes place in twenty nine places together with establishment of Salah [ensuring financial and spiritual support and safety]. This situation shows that it is a condition for zaqah for the believers that it is a must to have an independent state belonging to them and religion cannot be lived without the zaqah task.
Zaqah was, as stated in Surah Al-Baqara 43, Surah Al-A‘raf 156, Surah Hud 87, Surah Mary 31, 55 and Surah Al-Anbiya73, a binding duty for the organized believer communities before us. They were also liable for zaqah. As specified in the ayat, there were those who fulfilled this duty and those who opposed to it and did not carry out the duty. Those who failed to do this duty perished.
The zaqah expressions specified in the Meccan Ayat (Surah Ar-Rum 38, 39; Surah An-Naml 1-3; Surah Luqman 4; Surah Al-Mu’minun 4; Surah A’raf 156-157; Surah Fussilat 6-7) are not in imperative but in indicative. That is to say, it is not in the form of “Give zaqah!” but “They give zaqah, they don’t give it, they did not give it”. With these ayat, the fact that believers are to establish an independent state of believers in the future was underlined and the believers were encouraged and prepared for this.
Zaqah is one of Allah’s significant orders and one of the servants’ significant worships. Financial worships, like zaqah/tax, sadaqa/public revenue and infaq/aid were accepted by our Rabb as lending to Himself, He proclaimed them as the fee of Jannah [Heaven/Paradise] and those people who give zaqah/tax and infaq/aid as His helpers and acquaintances and additionally qualified them with the qualifications of the people who deserve Jannah [Heaven/Paradise], such as Muttaqi, Abrar, Musin, and Musalli.
Following Ayat are the ayat that must be in the minds of the believers at all times:
Surah Al-Hajj 39–41 :
39-41Those whom are waged war have been allowed to fight since they have been treated unjustly; driven out from their lands without right only because they have said “Our Rabb is Allah!”.
And surely, Allah is the One Who is the most competent to lead them to victory. If Allah had not eliminated and prevented some of the people with other people, all sprouts, buds, fruits on the trees, harvested grains, legumes, thorns in barren lands, all built structures, bazaars and malls; markets, all Salah; support institutions (workplaces; employment and procurement institutions, educational and training facilities and security centers) and all the masjids [school] within which the name of Allah is mentioned frequently would have definitely been demolished.
Allah will definitely help those who help Him -who establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], who give zaqah/tax, instruct that which is acceptable for all and who forbid with Wahy [Revelation] and common sense that which is considered evil, if We make them have authority and home-. Indeed, Allah is very powerful, almighty. And only to Him belongs the consequence of all matters.
Surah Muhammad 7–9 :
7O you who have believed! Should you help Allah, He will help you and set your feet firm. 8As for those who deny, destruction will be upon them and Allah will waste their work. 9This is definitely because they disliked what Allah revealed. And Allah has made their deeds worthless.
Surah Al-Anfal 60 :
60And collect any kind of force as you can against them and prepare war horses so you may terrify those who are enemy to Allah, your enemies and lower ones than those whom Allah knows but you do not. And whatever you spend for the cause of Allah will be paid to you fully and you will not be treated unjustly.
Surah Al-Ma’idah 12, 13 :
12And surely, Allah took the solemn covenant of Israelites. And We sent from among them twelve supervisors/leaders. And Allah said: “I am surely with you. If you establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], give zaqah/tax, believe in My messengers, support them and loan Allah a good loan, I will definitely remove your evil deeds and admit you into the gardens of Jannah [Heaven/Paradise], underneath of which rivers flow. And whoever among you disbelieves; consciously denies the divinity of Allah and the fact that He is Rabb after this, he has certainly gone astray from the righteous path”.
13Then, We cursed them for they had broken their covenants and made their hearts hard. They distort the words from their proper/literal meanings. And they have abandoned a significant portion of what they have been advised. You always see a treachery from them, except for a few among them. But, you, pardon them and do not mind. Indeed, Allah likes those who produce good.
Surah Al-Hadid 11 :
11Who is the one who will loan Allah a good loan so He may multiply for him many times! And a noble reward will be for him as well.
And Surah Al-Hadid 18, Surah At-Taghabun 17, Surah Al-Baqara 245, Surah Al-Muzzammil 20
Surah Al-Baqara 177 :
177It is not “being righteous” to turn your faces to east and west. But, “the righteous people” are the ones who believe in Allah, the day of Akhirat [Afterlife]/the Last Day, angels, the Book, prophets; who give their wealth to relatives, orphans, needy, travelers and paupers and the ones who do not have freedom even though they love wealth and who give their wealth by loving Allah and who establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], who give zaqah/tax. And they are the ones who fulfill their promise when they promise and who have patience in the times of hardship, illness and war. They are the ones who are true. And they are the ones who have entered under the guardianship of Allah.
Surah Al-Anfal 2-4 :
2-4Surely, the believers are those whose hearts fear in awe when Allah is mentioned,
who get stronger in faith when His Ayat are recited to them and who rely only upon their Rabb,
who establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community]
and who spend from that which We have given them as provision for the cause of Allah. Indeed, these are the ones who truly believe. For them are degrees, forgiveness and a noble provision with their Rabb.
Surah Al-Mu’minun 1–4 :
1Indeed, the believers have maintained their status/succeeded.
2They are the ones who are sincere in their Salah [supporting financially and spiritually; striving to enlighten the community].
3And they are the ones who turn away from that which is vain.
4And they are the ones who fulfill zaqah/give tax.
Surah Al-Mu’minun 57-61 :
57-61Surely, those who shake, fearing to be away from their Rabb for the deep admiration and respect to Him, those who believe in the Ayat of their Rabb, those who do not associate others with their Rabb, those who give what they give while their hearts are in awe for they will return to their Rabb; they are the ones who hasten in good deeds and who go ahead for good deeds.
Surah An-Nur 36-38 :
36-38There are such men in the houses in which Allah lets Himself to be raised and His name to be mentioned, who continuously purify Allah, commerce and business do not distract them from remembering Allah, establishing Salah [establishing and maintaining the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community] and giving zaqah/tax. They fear a day in which hearts and eyes will overturn so Allah may recompense them with the best of what they did and increase from His bounties for them. And Allah provides for whom He wills without account.
Surah Luqman 2–5 :
2-5These are the Ayat of that book which contains laws as a guidance to the righteous path and mercy upon those who establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], who give zaqah/tax, and those who certainly believe in Akhirat [Afterlife], who do good deeds –they are upon a righteous path from their Rabb. And they are the ones who will reach the salvation-.
Surah As-Saff 10–14 :
10-13O you who have believed! Will I show you a beneficial business that will save you from a painful punishment? You will believe in Allah and His messenger; strive in the path of Allah with your wealth and lives. This is better for you, if you should know: He will forgive your sins and admit you into the gardens of Jannah [Heaven/Paradise], underneath of which rivers flow, and into the pleasant dwellings in the gardens of Eden. This is the great salvation. And another thing you will like: Help from Allah and an imminent conquest… And give the believers the good tidings.
14O you who have believed! Be helpers of Allah; as when once Jesus, son of Mary, said to apostles: “Who are my helpers for Allah?”. And apostles said to him: “We are helpers of Allah”. Then, a group of people believed in Israelites and another group did not. Then, We strengthened those who believed against their enemies so they prevailed.
Surah At-Tawbah 111–112 :
111,112Surely, Allah has purchased from those believers who repent, worship, praise, travel, acknowledge the oneness of Allah, submit, command the good that is accepted by all, forbid the evil deeds, preserve the limits of Allah their lives and wealth for that they will have Jannah [Heaven/Paradise]. They battle in the cause of Allah; then they kill and are killed. This is the true promise of Allah that is in the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an. And who is the one who is more faithful to his promise more than Allah? Then, rejoice over the business you did. And this is what the great salvation is. And give to the believers the good tidings!
Financial worships like zaqah/tax, sadaqa/public revenue and infaq/aid are at the same time the repayment to Allah in terms of the values owned. Our Rabb brought the good tidings that while performing these worships, our Rabb will not reduce but increase owned value.
Surah Saba 39 :
39Say: “Surely, my Rabb extends His provision for whomever He wills of His servants and manages for him. And whatever you spend for the cause of Allah/provide sustenance, He will immediately compensate it. And He is the best of providers”.
Surah Ibrahim 6, 7 :
6,7And when Moses said to his people: “Remember the favor of Allah upon you; when He saved you from the family of Pharaoh who afflicted you with the evil of torment, strangled your sons; made you weak, unqualified by leaving you uneducated and covered your women with disgrace. There was a great trial of wearing from your Rabb for you in this. And when your Rabb declared: “Indeed, if you repay for the blessings you are given, I will definitely increase for you and if are ungrateful, My punishment is absolutely very severe”.
Surah Ar-Rum 39 :
39And whatever you give of riba [revenues which are obtained without effort, service and risk] to increase in the wealth of the people, will not increase with Allah. But what you give of your zaqat/taxes desiring the countenance of Allah…It is those who are the multipliers.
In addition, as in Surah At-Tawbah 5th and 11th ayat, giving zaqah is shown as the indicator of being believer; failure to do financial spending is shown in the passage Surah At-Tawbah 73-79 as the sign of irtidad (apostatize).
Surah Al-Baqara 110 :
110And you, establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community] and give zaqah/tax! Whatever good you do for yourselves, you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah is the One Who sees best what you do.
Surah An-Nur 56 :
56And establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community] and give zaqah/tax and obey the Messenger so you may receive mercy.
The Qur’an says one of their traits is the failure to give zaqah while dispraising the ones who associate other with Allah.
Surah Fussilat 6–7 :
6,7Say: “I am only a human like you. I am revealed that ‘Your god is the One and the Only God’. Therefore, take a straight path to Him and ask Him for forgiveness”. O woe to those who do not give zaqah/tax and those associate others with Allah who consciously deny/disbelieve in Akhirat [Afterlife]!
A person who fails to give zaqah cannot be entitled to Allah’s vast mercy and the friendship of Allah and His messenger because Allah orders as follows:
Surah Al-A‘raf 156 :
156,157Allah says: “I have My punishment; I will touch with it whom I will, and I have My Mercy; that encompasses everything. I will decree it especially to those who enter under guardianship of Allah, those who give zaqah; tax and who believe in Our Ayat; and those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who is from the Mother City/Mecca who orders them the good, forbids them from evil, allows them that which is clean and pleasant and prohibits for them that which is filthy and evil, relieves them of their burden, ties and chains which were upon them; whom they can find written in the Torah and in the Bible which are with them. Therefore, those who believe in him, show him a strong respect, support him and follow the light sent down with him will be the ones who will succeed”.
Surah Al-Ma’idah 55 :
55Your familiars who are helpers, guides, protectors are only Allah and His Messenger, and the ones who have believed, who acknowledge the oneness of Allah and establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], give zaqah/tax.
Believers must certainly make an balanced budget for their state they have established to fulfill its function in a healthy manner and to keep it standing. The state of the believers ascertains the zaqah accordingly and collects it. The budget can by no means yield deficits. It is because, due to budgetary deficit, either the businesses are interrupted or it becomes obligatory to be indebted. Domestic and foreign borrowing endangers the independence and continuation of the country.
Who gives zaqah?
In the Islamic law books, it is seen that there is the condition of obtaining a particular scale of wealth. This particular scale of wealth is accepted “to own two hundred dirham=640 gram silver or approximately one hundred gram gold or forty sheep or thirty cattle or five camels, and approximately one ton of value from soil products; after a domicile, household furniture required for home, two garments for winter and summer, necessary gun, paraphernalia required for working ambiance, book, animal to ride on, servant costs, slave or servant, fee for an annual catering, financial means that will fulfill the debts (mandatory needs/Havaic al-asliyah)”.
The nisap/scale of wealth for zaqah is not a principle determined in the Qur’an by Allah. Allah did not stipulate such a condition. Zaqah is among the mandatory needs. No nisap/scale of wealth is sought for giving zaqah. Nisap/scale of wealth is taken into account in the extra and arbitrary state releases such as sadaqa/public revenue, infaq/aid, expropriation and sequestration. Each believer is obliged to participate in it for the continuity of the state of which he/she is a subject as much as his/her possibilities. A person can be hungry but cannot be homeless. For believers, an independent state and motherland belonging to them has priority upon their residences, dressing and their cars. A believer can sell whatever he has if necessary and gives it as a zaqah/tax.
Above all, zaqah is a worship. Believers are to abnegate from their essential needs in order to keep the state they have established standing. In the societies where the principles of the Qur’an are carried out in a healthy manner, the believers carry out this duty readily and by heart. Here, the benefit and power theories that are the justification of tax are not taken into account.
While receiving and spending the zaqah/tax and sadaqa (all the public revenues), equity measures are considered. Principles of “Property belongs to Allah and believers are brothers and sisters” are considered. For the expansion of the wealth of believers; here, equal treatment is not taken into account.
Surah Al-Hashr 7, 8 :
7,8And the Fai [revenues yielded without fighting and making any effort] Allah has given to His Messenger from the people of that city belong to Allah, the Messenger, those poor who have immigrated – and they have been expelled out of their lands and deprived of their wealth while seeking for the bounty and acceptance of Allah, and they help Allah and His Messenger. They are the ones who are the righteous-, orphans, the needy and travelers so the luxury brought by the power; the authority will not only be for the rich among you. Whatever the Messenger has given you, take it immediately. And whatever he has forbidden you, turn away from it. And enter under the guardianship of Allah. Indeed, Allah is the One Whose punishment/penalty is very severe.
Measure of Zaqah
As we stated previously in terms of nisap/scale of wealth, in the first independent states of the believers, the measure for zaqah/tax was ascertained by Mohammad according to the agricultural economy conditions of the region. In every age, believers determine the amount of the zaqah/tax they will give through a council and with the measures with which balanced budget can be made. The “one in forty” measure in zaqah is not Islamic.
The state of the believers provides the budget with support by means of making investments and receiving profits as well as of receiving customs taxes from the non-Muslims in the state and foreign traders and receiving inheritance tax and receiving the surplus of the shares in inheritance.
Time of Zaqah
There is no fixed time for zaqah/tax in question. Believers give from their net assets at all times and from their production during the time of the harvest of crops.
Surah Al-An’am 141 :
141Allah is the One Who builds gardens with and without trellises, dates, crops with many kinds of fruits, olives and pomegranates, similar to one another and dissimilar. Eat of its fruit when it yields, and give its due on the harvest day and do not be extravagant. Surely, Allah does not like those who commit extravagance.
In this ayah, in the expression of “give its due on the harvest day”, the word of “due” is a general expression and means “zaqah” in our opinion. However, as the believers were not organized when this ayah was sent down yet, it was not named as “zaqah/tax”. Hence, this “due/right” on the products was subsequently privatized and expressed as “zaqah/tax”.
As understood from the ayah, in the areas where the economy is dependent on agriculture, as in their period in which the Qur’an was sent down, the right for Allah is given in the period when “the fruits are picked being ripened”. Accordingly, in the nonagricultural revenues (commerce, service, industry), the day of payment of Allah’s right must be the time of acquiring the money; that is to say, “the day of earning”. Therefore, in such revenues, just like the tax withholding applied on salary payrolls, Allah’s right must be allocated instantly and given forthwith. Havl havelan (passing of one year after earning) is not an Islamic principle.