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Penalty Zakat


The word Zakat in the Quran literally means purification (20:76, 2:43, 2:129, 9:103). The Quran does not specify what type of purification because it includes any type of purification, any deed which purifies your soul (20:76). However, most of the purifying deeds in the Quran also have additional names. For example, body purification is called fasting, or travel purification is called Hajj, and so on. But here, when I say Zakat, I am limiting my explanation only to financial purification – obligatory financial purification. So, when I say Zakat, here, I mean financial purification. And I read the whole Quran, just for this – to list all the financial purifications – and in the whole Quran, I found 19 different financial purification subcomponents. Of course, there is only one Zakat, but it has 19 subcomponents. Here they are:

  1. If you harvest crops, fruits, or vegetables, give the due alms from it (6:141, 17:26).

I call this Private Obligatory Charity.

  1. If you own more than 40 units of anything, you should give 1 of them, which is 2.5% for charity.

I call this Public Obligatory Charity. I explain the details of both these first two subcomponents in the other video clarification titled “The Obligatory Charity (Zakat)”. However, I have to mention that the amount of 2.5% is never mentioned directly in the Quran, and that is because it’s not always 2.5%. It’s 2.5% only under the assumption that you did not do anything wrong. But, if you did something wrong, or gained wealth through some way which is partially wrong, then there are additional subcomponents of Zakat, or additional financial purification subcomponents (9:102-103) – the following 17 subcomponents, which I explain in this video:

I call the following 17 subcomponents, Penalty Zakat, because they are financial penalties for something wrong which you did (9:102-103). The Christians and the Jews translate them in the English Bibles as purification offerings, or sin offerings (Leviticus 4:27-35) – a financial contribution to purify yourself from a sin. So, let me present them:

  1. If you break an important promise or oath, feed ten poor people (5:89).
  2. If you don’t fast when you should, then feed a poor person for each day of not fasting (2:184).
  3. If you break your engagement or marriage, compensate the woman (2:236-237).
  4. If you estrange your wife, and can’t fast, feed sixty poor people (2:233).
  5. If you divorce your wife with a baby, provide food and clothing for two years (58:3-4).
  6. If you accidentally cause a death, compensate the family, plus two months of fasting (4:92).
  7. If you kill a person, and their family forgives you, compensate the family (2:178).
  8. If you take a loan, pay it back (4:58).
  9. If you take an unwritten loan, leave an equivalent item as a guarantee (2:283).
  10. If people entrust something with you, return it (4:58).
  11. If you set for Hajj and return due to your own health, send an animal offering to Mecca, plus atone through fasting, charity, or worship (2:196).
  12. If you set for Hajj and others prevent you, send an animal offering to Mecca (2:196).
  13. If you break the state of sanctity (Ihram) during Hajj, offer an animal sacrifice (2:196).
  14. If you kill (hunt) an animal during Hajj, offer an equivalent domesticated animal (5:95).
  15. If you publicly mention or admit a bad deed which you did after joining the submitters, you should contribute an equitable charity (9:102-103).
  16. If you wish to confer with the messenger, contribute a charity (58:12).
  17. If you get unowned wealth (ghanimtum) of any type, then 20% of it is for God and for the messenger, and for the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien (8:41, 8:1).

Ok, so now you have all the 19 subcomponents of Zakat (the financial purification). The first two are obligatory for every submitter. The next 17 ones are obligatory only for submitters who did something wrong – Penalty Zakat. Now, among the Penalty Zakat, the blue ones are either personal, or they are facilitated by Democratic States, which means that there is no need for us as community to facilitate them. The purple ones are facilitated by the Custodians of the Sacred Masjid (9:19, 8:34), so we don’t need to facilitate them either, but the Mahdi will eventually end up facilitating them (48:27). The red ones should be facilitated by the messenger or the Congregation Directors whom he puts in charge (4:59). I call these, Public Penalty Zakat, because they are penalties for damages against the whole community of submitters, which is why they have to be facilitated by the messenger as the center of the community (22:78, 59:7), which is why now I am going to explain them further.

Let’s start with the first one:

If you publicly mention or admit a bad deed which you did after joining the submitters, you should contribute an equitable charity (9:102-103). This might include compensation for damages. For example, let’s say that you broke the window of the mosque, then you should pay for it. It can be any other bad deed, even if it is not visibly directed against the community. This is because once you mention it among submitters, it degrades the community (24:19), but once you pay, then your sin is erased. Of course, if you tell a sin which you did before you joined submitters, then we should not request that you pay (64:9), because at that time, you were not part of the community (2:256). That’s between you and God, and God will make you pay (6:120), or maybe you already paid through suffering (42:30), or additional worship, or other means (3:16-17). Also, a sin which you tell to your family, or your husband, or wife does not count as a public confession, because that is a private discussion, and they should never leak that information to the others. They should try to convince you to fix it, but not tell the others. But, if you admit it publicly, then you should pay for it publicly, so that the others know that justice was restored.

Now, the next point:

If you wish to confer with the messenger, you should contribute a charity (58:12). This is because when you take the time of the messenger, you are actually slowing the whole community down (49:5), but if you are ready to atone for it through charity, then it’s ok.

Now, the 19th subcomponent: I left this point last, because it has a lot of weight in the success of submitters. All the other previous points are simply a way of maintaining the community at the same level, but this last point actually grows the community. Of course, it is possible for a community to grow, even without this, but that can only happen at the expense of righteousness (2:79). Without this last point, you can either have a fair community or a growing community (17:83), but you can not have both. Only with this last point, the community can both grow and still remain righteous (9:88). So, let me explain this last point. Here is what the verse says:

If you (ghanimtum) get unowned wealth of any type, then 20% of it is for God and for the messenger, and for the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien (8:41).

But what is this unowned wealth (ghanimtum)? Because it has so many meanings, the English translators of the Quran were forced to translate only one meaning, or another one, or another one, but not all of them at the same time. However, the most comprehensive way to translate it is “unowned wealth”. But what is this unowned wealth? Of course, in the end God owns everything (19:40, 15:23), but for the purposes of testing the humans and Satan in this world (21:111, 67:2), He has retracted His ownership from Earth temporarily (2:30, 19:40), to let us humans see how we will do when we are given responsibility and ownership (33:72). Nevertheless, there is still wealth on earth which is not owned by any human, either because they haven’t owned it yet, or because they lost its ownership. For example, the fish in the sea are unowned by any human. So, fishing is ghanimtum. But, we as submitters almost always get our fish from the supermarkets these days, and not directly from the sea, so let’s cross this out. It’s insignificant for us. Corporations do it, but they are not people to become members of our congregation. Now, the wild animals in the wild are also unowned. So, hunting is ghanimtum, but for the same reasons as with fishing, let’s cross this out. It’s insignificant for us as individual modern submitters. Also, the precious minerals and oil deposits inside the earth are unowned. So, mining is ghanimtum. This is also insignificant for us as individual submitters, so let’s also cross this out. Also, in the past, discovering unexplored land was ghanimtum, but we have reached all the corners of the earth now, and there is no more unexplored land. So, let’s also cross this out. Also, the spoils of war in the past were unowned wealth, because when you killed the enemy and captured his children (33:26), his children lost the status of free people, and became slaves, and slaves don’t get inheritance, and so the wealth which was left behind by the dead enemy, then did not belong to anyone – it became unowned wealth. It was up for grabs for those who participated in the organized struggle. So, getting spoils of war is ghanimtum. But, because democracies are peace agreements between believers and disbelievers, which I explain in another video, this does not apply to us in democratic countries. So, let’s cross this out also – not applicable in democracies. But, there is a sixth meaning of ghanimtum which applies within democratic countries– It is getting “inheritance” from non-submitters. Because this is a very important case for our democratic circumstances, let me explain it in more detail. There are two main points which I will explain about this. First, why “inheritance” from non-submitters is ultimately not an inheritance, but a reception of unowned wealth, and second, why we should give away 20% from it. And by the way, traditionally, the Muslim scholars have believed both of these (al-Bukhari 6764, 8:41), but they could never explain them (75:19).

But, God blessed me with this knowledge (6:105), so let me explain both of them with one go, from the Quran (75:19). Here is how it works: When a person dies, before his inheritance is distributed, the will of the dead person should be fulfilled (4:12). But if he was a disbeliever, regardless of what his will was before he died, at the moment of death, he changes it. God tells us in verse 23:99, that his true will at the moment of death is to get his property back again. At the moment of death, he says, “My Lord, send me back, so I can do good in the inheritance which I left” (23:99-100). So, he wants his property back first, which automatically means that he doesn’t want anyone else to inherit his property. He hopes to get it back again, and then he thinks that he can give 2.5% of it as charity, and in this way, in the second try, he will be saved. But that’s not how it works. It was 2.5% only for those who accepted all messengers and who believed the Quran (57:28, 28:52-54). But, for all the other people, it is actually 10% (6:160). So, because this disbeliever rejected his corresponding messenger and the Quran, he now will actually have to give 10% to be saved. God would not send the messenger back again (25:76), just so that this disbeliever can get a second chance to accept the messenger (40:50), because it would be unfair to take the messenger out of Heaven. The messenger finished his own test (2:285). And, also God would not reveal the Quran directly to this disbeliever, because he is not qualified for it (74:52). So, if this disbeliever is sent back, he would have to be saved in a world without the Quran and without his corresponding messenger, and in that world, he has to give 10%, instead of 2.5%, which is actually what the Jews and the Christians gave (Genesis 28:20-22, Leviticus 27:32), before the Quran and Muhammad, 10%. So, with 10% Zakat, this disbeliever would be saved (6:160). However, this would be his second time that he is enjoying his property. The first time, he gave nothing (11:16). So, now he would have to give 10% for the first time, and 10% for the second time, which is 20%. So, the true will of this disbeliever when he dies is that he would want to be sent back to earth, get his property back, so he could give 20%, just so he can be saved. So, this is where the 20% comes from. So, to fulfill the true will of the disbeliever, you have to give 20% from his property. However, you can not fulfill his will, unless you get the property first. But he does not want you to have the property, because he wants a second chance. At the same time, God is not going to give it back to him, because he already got enough chances (39:59). So, according to the disbeliever’s will, you shouldn’t get the property, and according to God’s will, the disbeliever shouldn’t get the property either. And so now the property remains without an owner. It has become ghanimtum, unowned property. And because it’s unowned property, whomever can get it, gets it. It just happens today, that according to the rules of democratic countries, they give it to you anyway. So now you got it. It was an inheritance according to your state, but according to the Quran and you, it was ghanimtum, unowned property, which you luckily got, because you live in a state with such rules, where you get it anyway, but you truly received it as unowned property (ghanimtum), not as inheritance. And now that you ended up have it, you can fulfill the will of the dead disbeliever and give 20%, which is why verse 8:41 tells us to give 20% whenever we get unowned property.

And this is the explanation of verse 8:41. The verses says, if you get “inheritance” from non-submitters, you should give 20% of it to God, the messenger, the relatives, the orphans, the needy, and the traveling alien.

Now, if a submitter does not declare this type of “inheritance”, because he does not want the community to know, so that he can keep that 20% for himself, in that case, I can assure you that God will curse him, and Hell is awaiting him. Let me show you here a true story from the Bible to show you what I am talking about:

“The Book of Acts, chapter 5 

  1. Now a (submitter) man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. (so they can contribute their due Zakat).
  2. With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest of it and put it at the messengers’ feet.
  3. Then Peter (the messenger) said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received from selling the land?
  4. Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
  5. When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.”

So, no hiding the money (93:11, 40:16), and you can see that in the past the process of Zakat involved sending the money through the messenger to the final destination. The Quran gives us more flexibility about the middle process, but the final destinations of where that money should go is clearly defined, and it can not be changed (10:15). And the final destination, of that money, of that 20%, according to verse 8:41 in the Arabic Quran, word for word, it says that it should go to:

  • God
  • The messenger
  • Relatives
  • Orphans
  • The poor
  • And the traveling alien

Let me explain them one by one: First, what does it mean to give your money to God? Well, first of all, it means, buying and sacrificing animals for God (22:36). However, this is supposed to be done in Mecca (48:25), and we still don’t have authority over Mecca. So, let’s postpone this for the very end of times when the Mahdi frees Mecca (48:27).

Second, it means buying weapons to be used for fighting in the cause of God only (80:60). However, this does not apply for our democratic circumstances, because democracies are peace agreements (4:90, 4:94). So, let’s also postpone this for the very end of times when democracy ends (9:31-33, 48:28).

And now, the third type of giving to God, and the only one applicable in our circumstances are masjids (places of worship), which belong to God alone (72:18). When we spend the money to establish and maintain masjids, that money is given directly to God, because the masjid does not belong to the community, it doesn’t belong to the messenger, and it does not belong to the Congregation Director. It belongs directly to God (72:18). So, in our circumstances, giving the money to God means only two things: establishing masjids, and maintaining masjids.

Now, let’s explain the second point. What does it mean to give the money to the messenger? Well, verse 5:99 says that the ONLY duty of the messenger is to deliver the message. So, the messenger is a messenger only when he is delivering the message, publishing the message. So, giving the money to the messenger does not include giving it to him personally for houses, or cars, or for any personal purpose. It only includes things which have to do with disseminating the message from the messenger to the final listener or reader. This includes, for example, printing Qurans, paying for webpages, online adds, or things like that – any means or tools which help disseminate the message from the messenger to the final recipient. I will personally never accept any payment from any submitter for religious purposes (42:23). God gave me the message for free, and I will preach it for free (3:187). However, when I preach it, it’s still here in front of the camera. It doesn’t travel by itself. It’s to our benefit and other people’s benefit to spend money to help spread the message from here to the final intended recipients, to as many people as possible (7:164).

Now, the remaining money should go to the relatives, orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien (8:41). To enable myself not to coordinate this portion, let me decide on a fixed percentage, so you can do it yourself. Let me set it at 2.5%. Verse 59:7 gives me the authority to divide it in any portions I decide from the permitted categories, but to keep it simple, and enable you to do it yourself, I am deciding on 2.5%. So, from the 20% which you owe, you can give 2.5% directly to the relatives, orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien, and I will not include it in the declaration and reporting. You do it yourself. But, the remaining 17.5%, you have to declare it and spend it only with preapproval or upon the request of your Congregation Director (59:7, 4:59), to ensure that the money is not wasted in projects which don’t work.

So, to conclude, the main point of this video is that from whatever you receive as net-inheritance from a non-submitter, you should give 17.5% for:

  1. establishing masjids
  2. maintaining masjids
  3. for means which help to disseminate the message

And I call these, contributions. And of course, whatever you receive as net-inheritance from a submitter according to the Quranic inheritance rules, all of it belongs to you, because the deceased submitter has already purified that property by declaring and giving away the regular 2.5% Zakat every year.

Now, some haters still might want to argue that I am asking you to give money (63:7), but in fact God is asking you in the Quran to give money in the cause of God (8:41, 9:41, 9:44, 47:38, 9:102-103, 63:10). I personally will never accept any money for delivering the message. God provides for me (42:19), either through trade, or previous investments, or my professional skills which I might serve as a non-messenger (25:20), like in a daily job (18:77), or even through what my own family might choose to help me with (42:23), and all of these are my human right (41:6), just like they are your human right (2:198, 62:10).


By: Alban Fejza, the Clarifying Messenger