Non-payment of Zakāh is a direct cause of famine. The indirect causes maybe some scientific explanation like the change of weather patterns worldwide, the “greenhouse” effect or whatever else, but Allah Ta’ala is in control of the weather patterns, the workings of nature and He alone determines whether it should rain or not. As many people discharge their Zakah in Ramadan, please ensure that it’s paid in full. It’s always better to give a little extra, but give you must.
Withholding Zakah not only negatively affects you, but the entire nation, which includes innocent children, the sinless animals there for our benefit and everyone else. It’s a grossly selfish act. On a personal level, non-payment of Zakah translates in the non-growth of your wealth for the coming year and personal losses which would amount many times more than the amount you were supposed to discharge.
Discharge your obligations with a happy heart until it will be taken away forcefully from you by an invisible hand. For those millionaire Muslims who often hold back the full amount and who need to discharge their Zakah which amounts to an entire stack of cash, look at what you have, not at what you have to give. A few hundred thousand here and there which you will in any case spend on some extravagant wedding or holiday in doggone Italy will not make a difference to you. Sadly, most of the culprits in dodging Zakah are the rich. Remember that you may get away by cheating the tax man, but you will never escape the clasp of the Almighty Allah.
Now let us look at a few ahadith in this regard:
Buraydah (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) relates that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “The nation that withholds zakāh (i.e. does not pay it), Allāh afflicts famine on them.” (At-Tabrānī)
Ibn ‘Umar (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) relates that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) once said, “O Muhājirūn! There are five (dreadful) sins; if you fall into these – and I take refuge in Allāh from the evil of these sins lest you fall into them – (you will face horrible disasters)…”
The noble Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) thereafter enlisted a number of sins and their punishments, amongst which he said, “Thirdly, if people stop paying zakāh, rain will be withheld from them, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them.” (Ibn Mājah, Al-Bazzār, Al-Bayhaqī)
Non Payment of Zakāh is aloes a Cause of natural calamities such as windstorms, earthquakes, etc.
‘Alī (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) and Abū Hurayrah (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) report that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) prophesied fifteen actions which his Ummah will perpetrate, and from amongst these he mentioned, “When zakāh is looked upon as a penalty (i.e. people will pay zakāh with a heavy heart, as though it is a penalty), then look for violent windstorms, earthquakes, men being swallowed by the earth, metamorphosis, stones raining down from the skies, and calamities following one another in rapid succession, like beads of rosary falling one after the other when its string is cut.” (At-Tirmidhī)
As mentioned before, it’s a means of destruction of your personal persona as well as communal property.
‘Umar (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrates that our noble Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Wealth is generally lost on the land and the sea because zakāh is not paid on it.” (At-Targhīb)
‘Ā’ishah (Radhiyallāhu ‘anha) narrates that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Zakāh will destroy wealth in which it is.” (Al-Bazzār, Al-Bayhaqī)
The destruction of wealth upon which zakāh is obligatory will be by way of Allāh Ta‘ālā destroying the wealth in which the amount due for zakāh lies, or by removing the barakah from it.
These are just a few of the worldly consequences of neglecting this important pillar of Islam. The consequences in the Hereafter are greater. Listen to this stern warning of our Creator:
“As for those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allāh, give them news of a painful punishment. On the day it (i.e. the wealth) will be heated up in the fire of Jahannam, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it and (it will be said to them), ‘This is what you had accumulated for yourselves. So, taste what you have been accumulating.’” (9:34-35)
The majority of the Sahābah (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhum) and ‘Ulamā are agreed that the severe punishment mentioned in the verse is for those who do not pay zakāh. May Allāh ta‘ālā protect us from such severe punishments. Āmīn.
“And let not those who hoard wealth, which Allāh has bestowed them with from His grace, think that it is better for them. No, it is worse for them. That which they hoard will be made into a collar (in the form of a snake and put around their necks) on the Day of Qiyāmah. To Allāh belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (3:180)
Imām Ar-Rāzī rahimahullāh writes in his tafsīr, “This verse does not apply to the cases of nafl (optional) spending. It applies to cases of failure in obligatory spending.” This is substantiated by a hadīth in Al-Bukhārī that our most noble Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “The person on whom Allāh bestowed wealth, and he does not give zakāh on it, then on the Day of Judgement, his wealth will be transformed for him into a large bald snake with two black spots over its eyes; it will wind round his neck on the Day of Judgement, then grab (him) with both his jaws and say, ‘I am your treasure.’”
Then Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam recited the above verse.
Abū Hurayrah (Radhiyallāhu ‘anhu) reports that our most noble Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “If anyone possessing gold and silver does not pay what is due, then on the Day of Judgement his gold and silver will be made into sheets and will be heated in the fire of Jahannam. His side, forehead and back will then be branded with (the heated sheets), again and again, on that day, the duration of which will be fifty thousand years.” (Muslim)
Once, our Imam of Tawheed, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saw gold bangles on the hands of two women. He inquired if they had given zakāh for the bangles. They replied, “No.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Do you wish that on the Day of Judgement you be made to put on bangles of fire?” They replied, “No.” He said, “Give zakāh on them.” (Ahmad)
Allāh, the All-Merciful has bestowed upon us with many favours: He has given us health and wealth, luxury and comfort, friends and children, life and a wife. Every Rand cent we earn is from the Grace of Allāh. He has given us everything and He asks for only 2.5% to be spent in His way upon those who are not capable of providing for themselves. We don’t wince when the tax man takes 30% of our wealth, so why must we squirm with Zakah?
Remember, 2.5% at the end of the each Islamic year from the excess wealth (i.e. which remains after spending) is basically nothing. If we pay Zakāh in full and abstain from greed, extravagance, etc. there will not remain a single destitute among the Muslims. Our Imam of Tawheed, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)’s ḥadīth is clear evidence for this claim.
He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “In the wealth of rich Muslims, the amount which is sufficient for the poor among the Muslims has been made obligatory. The hardships of the poor among the Muslims regarding food and clothing are because of the deeds of the wealthy (i.e. their refusal to pay zakāh). Beware! Allāh will demand a stern reckoning from them and mete out a painful punishment.” (At-Tabrānī)
Finally, bear in mind that anything we leave behind is not ours. What is our is what we have spent in the way of Allah Ta’ala. If we want to protect our hard-earned money and save it for use at a time when we shall need it badly, let us spend it in the way of Allāh Ta‘ālā and deposit it in the bank of the Hereafter.