The Excellence and Obligation of the Payment of Zakat
Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And they were
commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat, and that is the right religion.” (98:5) Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Any person who possesses gold or silver and does not pay what is due on it (i.e., the Zakat); on the Day of Resurrection, sheets of silver and gold would be heated for him in the fire of Hell and with them his flank, forehead and back will be branded. When they cool down, they will be heated again and the same process will be repeated during the day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years. (This would go on) until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah’s) slaves, and he will be shown his final abode, either to Jannah or to Hell.” It was asked, “How about someone who owns camels and does not pay what is due on him (i.e., their Zakat)?” He (PBUH) replied, “In the same way the owner of camels who does not discharge what is due in respect of them (their due includes their milking on the day when they are taken to water) will be thrown on his face or on his back in a vast desert plain on the Day of Resurrection and they will trample upon him with their hoofs and bite him with their teeth. As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return during a day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years, until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah’s) slaves, he will be shown his final abode either to Jannah or to Hell.” It was (again) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what about cows (cattle) and sheep?” He (PBUH) said, “If anyone who possesses cattle and sheep and does not pay what is due on them (i.e., their Zakat); on the Day of Resurrection, he will be thrown on his face in a vast plain desert. He will find none of the animals missing with twisted horns, without horns or with a broken horn, and they will gore him with their horns and trample upon him with their hoofs. As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return to him during a day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years, until Judgement is pronounced among (Allah’s) slaves; and he will be shown his final abode either to Jannah or to Hell.” It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what about the horses?” Upon this he (PBUH) said, “The horses are of three types. One, which is a burden for the owner; another which is a shield, and another one which makes its owner entitled to reward. The one for whom these are a burden is the person who rears them for show or for pride or for causing injury to the sentiments of the Muslims. They will be a cause of torment for their owners. The one for whom these are a shield is the person who rears them for the sake of Allah but does not forget the Right of Allah concerning their backs and their necks (i.e., he lets a needy ride on them), and so they are a shield for him. Those which bring reward to the one who rears them in pastures and gardens are the ones that are used in the Cause of Allah (Jihad) by the Muslims. Whatever they eat from the meadows and the gardens will be recorded on his behalf as good deeds so much so that their droppings and urine will be counted for an equal number of good deeds for him. Even when they break their tying rope and every height from which they climb and every hoofprint which they leave will be counted as a good deed on behalf of the owner. When their owner leads them through a stream from which they drink, though he does not intend to quench their thirst, yet Allah would record for him the quantity (of water) of what they would drink on his behalf as good deeds.” It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what about the donkeys?” Upon this he (PBUH) said, “Nothing has been revealed to me in regard to the donkeys in particular except this one Verse of a comprehensive nature: “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.”’ (99: 8,9). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith tells us that those people who do not pay Zakat on their property will be punished with this same property which will become an anguish for them on the Day of Resurrection.
The phrase “and he will be shown his final abode, either to Jannah or to Hell” clearly means that this would happen on the Day of Judgement and the punishment to defaulters would be given before one’s entry into Jannah or Hell. If Almighty Allah will consider this punishment sufficient for a Muslim, He will send him to Jannah, otherwise He will consign him to Hell. In case he is a Muslim, he will be ultimately sent to Jannah (after suffering the punishment in Hell) otherwise, he will be sent to Hell, where he will live for ever.
The phrase “As often as the first of them passes him, the last of them will be made to return” means that the process will be repeated again and again. Some people say that there is some alteration in the wording of this Hadith. According to them the correct wording is: “When the first camel will have passed, the last in the line will be returned on him”. This wording makes the text more orderly and evident and this is how it occurs in some of the narrations. Allah knows the truth.
In this Hadith the words “Fi sabilillah”, (for the sake of Allah, or in the Cause of Allah) have been repeated twice in connection with horses. In the first instance these words are used for noble intention. That is to fulfill humanly needs with it so that one does not have to beg them from others. In the second instance these words stand for Jihad. That is one breeds horses to make use of them in Jihad. The breeding of horses with this intention is eligible to reward, while in the former case is a means of covering one’s poverty.