Annual Charity That Makes Your Heart Shine
Zakah is one of the obligations for the seeker because it deeply and beautifully cleans and purifies the heart. In fact, the word “zakah” literally means, “that which purifies.” Zakah is so important to Allah, Most High, that it was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as part of the Qur’an. Zakah is mentioned 30 times in the Qur’an, alongside and second only to salah.
What is Zakah?
a.k.a. Zakat al-Mal
Zakah is charity we give once a year, usually during the month of Ramadan. The amount you give depends upon how much wealth you had, on average, over the past year. The Prophet Muhammad informed us that we should pay half a dinar for every twenty dinars we possess, and that for higher amounts we should calculate what we owe using that same ratio, which is 2.5% (Sahih ibn Majah, 3/291). Sidi used to say that it was important to pay your zakah early in the month of Ramadan so as not to get stuck in procrastination.
Sidi Taught Us To Help Others
A famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is, “All people are beloved to Allah, but the most beloved to Him are the ones who are most beneficial to His children.” Why? Because Allah tenderly loves and cares for all of His creation, and therefore He loves those who help His children. Sidi also said:
For many years our beloved guide Sidi encouraged us to give to the poor and the needy. He taught us by his example what it is to sacrifice everything for the Face of Allah, to hear the crying of all who are in need, and to respond by giving what Allah has given us in order to bring mercy to His creation.
Feeding and clothing the poor, giving them shelter and comfort and kindness, is one of the holiest acts of remembering Allah for the seeker. When we care for others as we care for ourselves, and we want for others what we want for ourselves, we are truly being Sufis, because we are seeing the “other” and ourselves as part of the Unity.
The Spirit of Zakah
We give charity not just because it beautifies us and purifies our hearts, but because it creates a world that is beautiful, where we are all in love with one another, where we support each other, and where we embody and live the Divine Truth that in the deepest way we have all been made from one soul (Qur’an 7:189). To create the world we wish to live in we help one another, as best as we can
The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the early leaders after he passed away, would not go to sleep at night if they knew someone in their village was hungry or unsafe. They cared for every person the same, regardless of race or social class. When they looked at anyone, they saw Allah.
Paying zakah is a yearly reminder that we need to care for all people–not just our own families, but our neighbors, our town, and our whole region. Can you extend your heart to embrace not just your region but your whole country? The whole world? Take a moment and imagine embracing everyone in the entire world and loving all of them, caring for all of them, wanting all of them to have every need met, every hurt soothed, and every hardship eased. Imagine that when you look at anyone, you see that they are just like you–their spirit is from Allah’s spirit and they have a body like yours. They are your brother and sister. Seeing everyone this way, this is how the heart of a Sufi perceives the world. And this is why we give zakah.
How to Give Zakah
Giving Zakah to Beloveds in the U.S.
Many years ago SSC created a fund to support members of our community who have immediate and critical financial need. This fund is our Beloveds In Need fund. This fund operates all year long to help those who find themselves in financial crisis. However, this fund not only provides money, it also provides financial counseling and free healings for those who feel they need this type of support. When you give your zakah to the Beloveds In Need fund, it will go directly to individuals in the U.S. who need financial support to meet their basic needs, which is the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The Highest Ethical Standards
SSC is committed to operating in an ethical and transparent manner in all of our operations. If you have any questions about the donation process you are free to contact us at any time. Our intention is to always be in service to Allah through serving His beloveds in the straightest way possible. And Allah is the Help, the Guide, the Generous, and the Best Manager of Our Affairs. May He always help and guide us and manage our affairs with mercy and generosity. Amin.
Zakat al-Fitr is a special charity we give to help everyone have food and new clothing for ‘Eid al-Fitr, the special three-day feast that concludes the month of Ramadan. Sidi instructed us to give $15-$25 per person in our household, and as with all zakah and sadaqa, we give charity if we can. One important point Sidi made often about zakat al-fitr is that because its purpose is to help people with ‘Eid expenses, it’s important to donate it by the second or third week of Ramadan so that SSC has time to distribute it to those in the community who need it, insha’allah.
Fidya is charity we give when we are unable to complete our obligatory fasting during Ramadan. For whatever reason, you were unable to fast and you are still unable to fast to make up the days you missed. For these cases, Allah gives us a way to make up for the fasting by donating food to the hungry. Typically, the value of one day’s food is considered $5-$15 a day. However, Sidi always recommended we spend on this food what we would spend on food for ourselves in a day. If you missed three days of fasting, you would donate enough to pay for three days of food, insha’allah. As with all charity, we do what we can, and Allah knows best.