Hadhrat Ubay bin Kaab (Radhiyallaho anho) says: "The Prophet
(Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) once deputed me to collect Zakaat
dues from a locality. I went to a person there, and asked about
the details of his possessions. A baby camel one year old was
due from him in Zakaat. When he heard this, he exclaimed, 'Of
what use is a baby camel, one year old? You can neither milk it,
nor ride it. Here is a fine grown-up she-camel. You had better
take this instead.
I replied, 'My commission does not permit me to take more than
what is actually due from you. I, therefore, cannot accept what
you offer. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) is visiting
this locality, and tonight he will be camping at a place not very
far from here.
It is better you should go and place your offer before him. If
he does not object, I would gladly accept your offer, otherwise
you shall have to give me exactly what is due from you.' Thereupon,
he took the she-camel to the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)
and besought him thus: '0, Prophet of Allah! Your deputy came
to receive Zakaat from me. By Allah! before this time, I have
never had the honour of paying anything to the Prophet (Sallallaho
alaihe wasallam) or his deputy. I therefore placed everything
that I possessed before him.
He decided that a baby camel one year old was due from me. Now,
0, Prophet of Allah! This baby camel is of no use. It can neither
yield milk nor carry a load. I, therefore, pressed him to accept
a fine grown-up she-camel in-stead; which he refused to accept
without your permission. I have now come to you with the she-camel.
The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) observed, No doubt only
that much is due from you which he has worked out, but if you
are willing to give more than that, of your own accord, it would
be accepted.' I then presented the she-camel to the Prophet (Sallallaho
alaihe wasallam), which he accordingly accepted and sought Allah's
blessings for the donor."
Look, with what magnanimity of heart the Sahabah parted with their
best things for the sake of Allah. On the other hand, we too claim
to be the true followers of Islam, and ardent devotees of the Prophet
(Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) but, leaving apart the bestowing of
alms in general to the poor and the needy, we are most reluctant
to pay the actual obligatory dues. Zakaat, as a pillar of Islam,
is not even known to our upper classes.
Of the middle classes, only the religiously conscious strata keep
up a form of paying Zakaat, in as much as even the expenditure incurred
on their own relatives and acquaintances, and all other charitable
donations squeezed out of them by the force of circumstances and
face-savings are debited to this account.