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The Gifts of Ramadan:
Fasting and Zakat

Ramadan is the month of blessings, in which all Muslims who are able, perform two of the most important pillars of their faith: Fasting and giving Zakat. Here is why both are integral to our lives as Muslims, and how they’re beneficial to us as individuals and for our society at large.

‘Oh, you who believe I give you and prescribe to you fasting. Maybe you will gain Taqwa (Piety).’
(Quran, 2:183).

Fasting in Ramadan

Fasting is a gift from Allah (SWT). It is the fourth pillar of Islam. In the Holy Qur’an ‘Taqwa’ – the increasing of our piety and God-consciousness is cited as one of the benefits of fasting.

Muslims fast for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah (SWT) by adhering to His commands. With this intention, we hope to cleanse ourselves spiritually and draw closer to Allah (SWT). So, in what other ways does abstaining from food and drink in the daytime as a spiritual act, benefit us and our society?  

Personal Benefits of Fasting

Fasting weakens the Nafs/ego – The Nafs is that part of us that compels us to our animalistic desires. As we indulge our physical needs like food and drink, our Nafs is strengthened. By depriving our bodies of physical needs, the Nafs is weakened, and we are more inclined towards our spiritual lives.

Also, fasting encourages us to refrain from bad habits. As the hadith goes: ‘Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his leaving food.’ (Bukhari, 1903). We want our fast to be as perfect as possible so that it is accepted, so we hold our words and actions to account more while fasting.

Fasting forgives past sins. And when our spiritual connection to Allah (SWT) is enhanced, we strive to be good and do good. Allah says about the fasting person: ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.’ (Bukhari, 1894).

‘Prayer is the light of the believer and fasting is his shield from the fire.’
(Ibn Majah, 4210).

Social Benefits of Fasting

Even though fasting is a personal sacrifice, it also assists us in fulfilling our social responsibilities. As our spiritual selves are enhanced, we become more aware of others and their needs. We become more compassionate, firstly because thirst and hunger allow us to empathise with people who rely on our charity, and also because the focus on our spirituality helps us remember our responsibility towards those less fortunate than ourselves.

So the month of Ramadan is not just about refraining from food and drink. It’s also a time to be generous, especially to those who are less fortunate than us, those who experience hunger every day. For this reason, we are encouraged to increase charity in Ramadan.

Giving Zakat in Ramadan

When Ramadan is mentioned, we automatically think of fasting. But Zakat also features prominently in this month. There is no hard and fast rule that Zakat must be given in Ramadan. Muslims are free to give it throughout the year, piecemeal or in one lump sum. However, most Muslims prefer to give their Zakat in Ramadan for several reasons:

  • It allows us to clearly mark the completion of a lunar year so that each Ramadan serves as a reminder that it’s time to give our Zakat again.
  • It also helps when we’re calculating how much we must pay since any savings we have (that are over the Nisab value) must have been in our possession for a lunar year before Zakat is due on them.
  • It means reaping maximum rewards on our Zakat since Allah (SWT) multiplies the rewards of all our worship and charity in this month by 70!

‘Establish regular prayer and give Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger.’
(Quran, 33:33).

Personal Benefits of Zakat

There are many benefits of giving Zakat for the giver, maybe even more so than for the recipient:

  • Firstly, Zakat cleanses our wealth. Zakat or Zakah literally means to ‘purify/clean’ and by giving away a portion of our wealth to those who have a right over it, we cleanse all our wealth.
  • Giving Zakat removes the love of worldly possessions. We know that greed is one of the sins that keeps us away from goodness, so by giving Zakat, we release our attachment to wealth and possessions.

‘Verily those who give alms–be they men or women, and give Allah a beautiful loan shall be repaid after increasing it many times; and theirs shall be a generous reward.’
(Quran, 57:18)

Social Benefits of Zakat

Zakat is designed to help ease the burden of our Muslim brothers and sisters less fortunate than us. The people who have a right over our wealth – the widows, orphans, the disabled, the needy, the destitute are helped through what is due to them.

Zakat has the potential to change the world and make a fairer and more just society, by ensuring wealth is more equitably distributed.

How you can Help

At Akhuwat we tackle poverty by distributing Zakat as interest-free microloans. This allows donors who want to give Zakat, to achieve more; more than just helping someone for the immediate term.

When the loans are eventually repaid, the money is reinvested to provide new loans to other needy people. This is repeated again and again so that your initial Zakat donation helps multiple families for years to come.

Read more about Akhuwat’s various loan products and donate your Zakat with us this Ramadan.