Chanda Is Not Zakat

Chanda is not the same as Zakat – neither, for that matter, is it the same as sadaqa. So what’s the story here? We’ve compiled resources to help you understand this vital component of Islam.

Zakat is Islam’s third pillar – after Shahada and Salat – and its importance is made very clear in Quran and Hadith.

Dozens  of verses appear in the Holy Quran about Zakat, as do multitudes of Ahadith. For a more complete discussion of Zakat, readers are referred to “The Philosophy of Zakat” by Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad and Fiqah Ahmadiyya, Vol. 1.

There should be no confusion about this injunction: Chanda is not Zakat. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Regardless of all the collections our Jamat has through Chandas, it does not behoove a movement, which is the movement of the Promised Messiah (as), not to give proper attention to the principles which form the basis of Islam. Just as paying Chanda does not relieve us from the obligation to pray, fast and perform the Hajj, in the same way it does not make any difference in the payment of Zakat. Performing Tahajud and Nafal prayers does not exempt one from the obligatory prayers one has to offer in the mosque. In fact such Nawafil are a mere waste which hinder one from the performance of obligatory prayers. Similarly, one cannot be exempt from Zakat, which is one of the basic principles of Islam, by paying other Chandas. All our success depends upon holding fast to the principals of Islam….We must consider the payment of Zakat to be as obligatory as prayer, fasting and performing the Hajj.” (An Introduction to Financial Sacrifice, pp.84-86.)

In his Friday sermon of March 30, 2012, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih (V) aba said “he wished to draw special attention towards payment of Zakat. Although Ahmadis are very generous in giving but one aspect of financial sacrifice is Zakat which should be particularly heeded to. Hudhur said especially women who have jewelry or those people who have savings over the course of one year perhaps do not pay as much attention as they should to payment of Zakat. There are some who pay their chanda and Zakat correctly to the last penny but some do not pay Zakat. Hudhur said perhaps finance secretaries do not remind people more about this. Hudhur said there is a great need for this to be done. ”

What exactly is Zakat?

Zakat is a mandatory expenditure in the way of Allah from what is left over of one’s wealth. It is the lowest level of spending in the way of Allah and it is mandatory upon every able Muslim to “purify their wealth.” Zakat cuts at the root of hoarding, niggardliness, and greed. It fulfills the purpose of the verse in the Quran in Chapter 59, Verse 8:


What does the Quran say about Zakat?

The Holy Quran mentions zakat at least 27 times. It states in Chapter 9, verse 103:


In Chapter 9, Verse 71 it mentions:


What did Rasool Allah (saw) say about Zakat?

The Prophet (ﷺ) (ﷺ) sent Mu`adh to Yemen and said, “Invite the people to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I am Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in every day and night (in twenty-four hours), and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the Zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor.” (Bukhari kitabuz Zakat)

What’s the big deal if we have jewelry or cash in our possessions for over a year and don’t pay zakat on it?

“Zakat is such a thing that those who refuse to pay it, are expelled from the fold of Islam.” (Hazrat Musleh Ma’ood (ra). Islah-e-Nafs. Anwar-ul-Aloom, Vol 5. Page 452.)

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