Q: What is the position of Zakat in respect to Islam?
A: Zakat is the third pillar of Islam.
This is understood from the prophetic tradition narrated by ‘Abdullah ‘ibn ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s blessings and salutations be upon him) say:
“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying Zakat, making pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)
These pillars are the foundation of Islam; without the presence of these pillars, Islam is non-existent at a macro and micro level. Thus, Zakat plays a huge role in establishing Islam in the lives of individuals and the community, by resourcing them in such a way that barriers to ongoing faithfulness at both an individual and collective level are reduced or removed altogether.
And Allah knows best!
Mufti Faraz Adam