The instances of Zakat occur 59 times in the Quran in 7 derived forms having similar meanings according to their morphological and grammatical forms while we know that an Arabic word may have a range of meanings depending on context, which is a key concept to understand the message coded in the Arabic text of the Quran:
|Form||Instances||Arabic text||Literal meanings||No of occurrences||Grammatical form|
|1||Zakaa||(زَكَىٰ)||To purify||1||Verb (form 1)|
|2||Zakkaa||(زَكَّىٰ)||To purify||12||Verb (form II)|
|3||Tazakkaa||(تَزَكَّىٰ)||To purify||8||Verb (form IV)|
|4||Azkaa||(أَزْكَىٰ)||Pure, virtuous etc.||4||Noun|
|5||Zakat||(زَكِيّ)||Purity, paying out||32||Noun|
Note: the above table is populated with data obtained from the corpus.quran.com
Instances of Zakat
Out of 59, 32 instances of Zakat (زَكِيّ) in the noun form found in 32 verses across 19 suras are described below grouping them based on the key messages in the verses. Out of 32 verses, 2 verses describe the importance of Zakat, 4 verses indicate good character traits and 26 verses indicate the precise commandment of Zakat.
Importance of Zakat
There are 2 instances of Zakat in 2 verses of the Quran that indicate the importance of Zakat to achieve righteousness with God. Thus, giving Zakat is part of the criteria for earning God’s mercy while not giving Zakat makes us disbelievers in His revelations as well as in the Hereafter:
[7:156] “And decree for us goodness in this world and in the Hereafter; indeed, we have turned to You.” He said: “My punishment, I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things. So I will decree it for those who fear (Me) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and those who believe in our revelations.”
[41:7] “Those who do not give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and with regard to the Hereafter, they are disbelievers.”
There are 4 verses in the Quran in which the instances of Zakat are used to label a person with good character traits to be nearer to God in affection, to be righteous to Him and to increase one’s wealth manifold giving to charity seeking God’s pleasure, instead of lending it for usury:
[18:81] So we intended that their Lord would replace for them with one better than him in purity (zakatan) and nearer in affection.
[19:13] And he (John) had kindness from us and purity (wa-zakatan), and he was righteous.
[23:4] And those who are doers of Obligatory Charity (lilzzakati).
Note: One can be a righteous by giving Zakat regularly to those who really need it.
[30:39] And what you lend for usury to increase in wealth of people will have no gain with God. But what you give to the charity (zakatin) seeking His pleasure, then those will get manifold.
Commandment of Zakat
Zakat (Obligatory Charity) is one of the major duties required by God from us, and He has commanded us to give Zakat in 26 verses of the Quran so that we fulfill it to get closer to Him by sending forth our good:
[2:43] And you shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and bow down with those who bow down.
[2:83] And when we took the covenant of the Children of Israel: “You shall not worship except God, and be good with the parents and the relatives and the orphans and the needy, and speak to the people good, and observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata).” But you turned away, except a few of you, and you were the rejecters.
[2:110] And you shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you will find it with God. Indeed, God is seer of what you do.
[2:177] Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. The righteous is one who believes in God, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets, and gives the wealth with his love to those who are the near relatives, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the beggars, and in freeing the slaves; and observes the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and gives the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata); and those who keep their pledge when they make it, and those who are patient in suffering and hardship, and the time of stress. Those are the ones who are the truthful, and those are the righteous.
Note: This verse has spelled out the criteria how someone can be righteous through appropriate beliefs and practices.
[2:277] Those who believed and did righteous works, and observed the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and gave the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), they will have their reward with their Lord, and they have no fear, nor will they grieve.
[4:77] Have you not seen those to whom it was said: “Restrain yourselves (from fighting), and observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata).” Then when the fighting was decreed for them, then a group of them feared the people as much as they feared God or even greater fear. And they said: “Our Lord, why have You decreed the fighting for us?, if only You would delay for us till another time.” Say: “The enjoyment of the world is little, and the Hereafter is far better for whoever fears God; and you will not be wronged even in the least.”
[4:162] But those who are firm in knowledge among them and the believers believe in what is revealed to you (Muhammad) and what was revealed before you (Muhammad), and those who observe (wal-muqeemeena) the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and those who give (wal-mu’toona) the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and those who believe in God and the Last Day – those we will give them a great reward.
[5:12] And God certainly took a covenant of the Children of Israel and raised from them twelve leaders, and God said: “I am with you if you observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and believe in My messengers and support them, and give God a loan of righteousness; then I will surely remove your evil deeds from you and I will surely admit you into gardens with rivers flowing beneath them.” But whoever disbelieved after that among you, then certainly, he strayed from the right path.
[5:55] Your only ally is God and His messenger, and those who believe, and those who observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata), and those who give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and they are those who bow down.
[9:5] But when the sacred months have passed, then you may kill the idol worshippers wherever you find them, and attack and surround them, and make an ambush against them at every point. But if they repent, and observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata), and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), then you shall let them go to their way. Indeed, God is Forgiving, Merciful.
[9:11] But if they repent and observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), then they are your brethren in the religion. And we explain the revelations for a people who know.
[9:18] Only he maintains God’s masjids who believes in God and the Last Day, and observes the Contact Prayer (al-salata), and gives the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and does not fear except God. They are those who will be among the guided ones.
[9:71] And the believing men and the believing women, they are allies to one another. They urge the right and forbid from the wrong, and they observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and they obey God and His messenger. God will have mercy on them; indeed, God is Almighty, Wise.
[19:31] “And He made me (Jesus) blessed wherever I am, and enjoined me with the Contact Prayer (bil-salati) and the Obligatory Charity (wal-zakati) for as long as I am alive.”
Note: This verse is a confirmation that Salat and Zakat are decreed for us as long as we are alive without leaving any opportunity to make up the missed prayer and to offer in charities on behalf of the deed while Ramadan Fasting is decreed for the believers who witness the month of Ramadan found in 2:185.
[19:55] And he (Ismail) used to enjoin his people with the Contact Prayer (bil-salata) and the Obligatory Charity (wal-zakata); and was pleasing to his Lord.
[21:73] And we made them leaders who guide by our command, and we inspired (wa-awhaynaa) to them doing of the good works and observance of the Contact Prayer (wa-iqaama al-salata) and giving of the Obligatory Charity (wa-itaa-a al-zakata), and they were worshipers to us.
[22:41] They are the ones if we establish them in the land, they observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and they give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and they enjoin the right and they forbid from the wrong. And to God is the end of all matters.
[22:78] And you shall strive in the cause of God as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in the religion – the religion of your father Abraham. He named you submitters from before and in this that the messenger may be a witness among you, and you may be witnesses among the people. So, you shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and hold fast to God; He is your Protector, the best Protector and the best Supporter.
[24:37] People who are not distracted by business or trade from remembrance of God; and observance of the Contact Prayer (wa-iqaama al-salata) and giving of the Obligatory Charity (wa-itaa-a al-zakata). They fear a day in which the hearts and sight will be overturned.
[24:56] And you shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and obey the messenger so that you may receive mercy.
[27:3] Those who observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) an give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), while they are absolutely certain in the Hereafter.
[31:4] Those who observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), while they are absolutely certain in the Hereafter.
[33:33] And you shall settle down in your homes, and do not display yourselves like you displayed in the old days of ignorance. You shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata), and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and obey God and His messenger. God wishes to remove all unholiness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you completely.
[58:13] Do you fear to offer in charities (sadaqaatin) before your consultation? So when you do not do and God has turned to you. Then you shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata), and obey God and His messenger. And God is fully aware of what you do.
[73:20] Your (Muhammad) Lord knows that you wake (taqoomu – 2nd person singular imperfect verb) a little less than two thirds of the night, and half of it, and one third of it, as well as a group of those who are with you. And God has designed the night and the day. He knows that you cannot do it consistently, so He has turned to you, so read what you can of the Quran. He knows that there will be sick among you, and others are traveling in the land seeking of God’s bounty, and others are fighting in the cause of God. So read what you can of it, and observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata) and loan God a loan of righteousness. And whatever of good you send forth for yourselves, you will find it with God, it will be better and greater reward. And seek God’s forgiveness; surely, God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: The core message in the verse is to read the Quran in every night as much as we can if possible and to observe salat, to give zakat and to loan God a loan of righteousness, and He has let us know that we will find it with Him if we send forth any good for ourselves.
[98:5] And they were not commanded except to worship God being sincere, devoted the religion of monotheism to Him, and to observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and to give the Obligatory Charity (al-zakata). And that is the right religion.
In the 26 verses of 14 suras in the Quran God has precisely commanded us for giving Zakat (Obligatory Charity). If the relevant verse and sura numbers are added, the sum is a multiple of 19 => 1976 = 19 x 104 (as shown in the table below):
Note: This mathematical confirmation is an explicit proof of the precise commandment of the Obligatory Charity and we must fulfill it as one of the major duties decreed by God in His religion updated at the time of Abraham not being confused with what is given as charity or what is given once a year from one’s savings. Participation of 26 instances of Salat with 26 instances of Zakat in the mathematical confirmation implies that Salat and Zakat are like twin-sister (both Salah and Zakah are feminine noun according to Arabic grammar) and we have to be regular in both practices.
There is also another mathematical confirmation of giving the Obligatory Charity including 28 instances of Zakata found in 28 verses and 3 instances of Haqqun found in 3 verses of the Quran, which is not just the precise commandment but has specific details to understand God’s commandment and laws in regard to Zakat to fulfill this requirement on behalf of us:
Note: This mathematical confirmation is an explicit proof of practicing Zakat including its commandment, importance, recipients and portion of income to be given as Zakat with the instances of zakat and haqqun but excluding 18:81 & 19:13 being character traits, and 6:141, 23:4, 30:38 & 30:39 being our opportunity to be righteous, and 2:215 & 3:134 that support Zakat.
Zakat (can also be pronounced Zakah as the Arabic word, Zakat ends with the letter “open ta”) is translated in English to obligatory charity, regular charity, poor-due, betterment etc. by different English translators of the Quran but we can accept what makes sense to us being more clear and appropriate or we may define a new one reflecting appropriate meaning of the word. However, it is evident from the verses that deal with the commandment of Zakah as well as that of its importance confirm that it is giving and obligatory. The presence of instances of both Salah and Zakah in the commandment of Zakah indicates that Salah and Zakah are like twin-sister and we must be regular in both practices if we truly believe in God and His revelations. Salah prevents us from evil and vice, and nourishes our souls while Zakah purifies our wealth (provision given by God) and helps us to grow our souls as well.
The review of 32 verses related to Zakat accompanied the two mathematical confirmations provides us enough evidences to practice Zakah in a right way exposing all corrupt practices of it found around us. The commandment of Zakah is found in 26 verses while that of Salah is given in 63 verses including 26 verses that command us to give Zakah. However, all religious practices including major practices decreed by God are lifetime practices so that we can send forth our good to find with Him when we will meet Him. God has not only decreed Zakah for us but He has given us the way to practice it in a right way avoiding all corruptions from its practice. So we should know about its correct practice and fulfill the obligation giving a specific portion from our income to those who are in real need in a timely manner as directed by God to grow our souls before departing the earthly life but for sure, giving it from our savings once a year is a corrupt practice.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.