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Delights of Paradise!

1st April, 2015

And those foremost (in faith and virtue) will be foremost (in Paradise). They will be those nearest to Allah in the beautiful Paradise. Many (of the foremost) will be from the first generation (who embraced Islam), and a few of those (of the foremost) will be from the later (generations).
‘They will be reclining, face to face, on thrones woven with gold and precious stones. They will be served by immortal boys, with goblets, jugs, and cups of crystal clear wine, from which they will have neither any headache, nor any intoxication. They will have fruit from which they may choose, and the flesh of birds that they desire.
‘There will be Hoor (maidens) with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), like preserved pearls, a reward for deeds that they used to do. They will not hear unnecessary or sinful talk (e.g. backbiting) but only the saying of: Salam, Salam, (greetings of peace).
‘And those on the Right Hand, who will be those on the Right Hand? They will be among thorn-less lote trees among Talh (banana trees) with fruits piled one above another, in long-extended shade, by constantly flowing water, and fruit in plenty, whose season is not limited, and their supply will never be denied.
‘They will be on couches or thrones raised high. Verily, We have created for them virgins (maidens) loving and of equal ages, for those on the Right Hand.’ (56:10-38)

How I long to be the one amongst the righteously striving believers, to gain this eternal reward in the Hereafter! Am I really on the right path to attaining this delight? How do I tread on this path?
Allah has provided the guide for this path via the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h); by following the five pillars of Islam, believing in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, in the Day of Judgement, destiny, and in the Hereafter.
The first three pillars of Islam: Shahadah, Salah and Sawm, do not require the imparting of something physical in nature; it is the submission to Allah via a spiritual nature. However, the final two pillars of Islam: Zakat and Hajj, require the imparting of our wealth in a physical manner in order to demonstrate our submission to Allah.
These final two pillars are subject to one having sufficient wealth in order to fulfil this command. Allah has not placed an undue burden on those who are poor and needy.
So who is required to pay Zakat?
1] A sane, free, Muslim adult
2] In possession of excess wealth, above the Nisab (minimum amount of extra wealth), after all expenses for personal use have been accounted for
3] Which has been possessed for a complete Lunar year (hawl)
4] And this wealth is of a productive nature i.e. profit could be gained from it (e.g. business, gold, silver, livestock). The Zakat must be paid on the value this excess wealth holds in that year and must be valued each year.
5] The wealth should be debt-free, so if you owe a minimum amount of Nisab to someone, Zakat is not due.
Who do you give Zakat to?
Zakat is for the poor, the needy, Zakat collectors, the reverts, slaves and those in debt, for the cause of Allah and the traveller as discussed in a previous blog.
When giving Zakat, it is preferred that you give to those in need amongst your relatives first. However, individuals who are your legal dependents must not be given Zakat.
It is not necessary to tell the receiver that the money they are receiving is Zakat money, especially if they are needy but too embarrassed to receive it; its source may be withheld.
The Zakat giver must not give money in excess of the recipient’s requirement, nor must the recipient accept an excess amount.
It is a great reward to give Zakat to those who are learning about Islam to better the society, to religious institutions where poor and needy children are cared for, and to orphans.
However, Zakat money cannot be used for the building of mosques and schools as it is the transfer of ownership of the money from one person to another.
Zakat is not a form of tax; it is a duty for Muslims as commanded by Allah. Therefore taxes paid to the government do not form part of Zakat.
Allah states in the Quran that He has brought people’s property and selves in exchange for Paradise:

"Allah has purchased the souls and property of the believers in exchange for paradise. They fight in His cause, and slay and are slain. This is a true promise which He has revealed in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an. No one is more true to His promise than Allah. Let this bargain be glad news for them (believers). This is indeed the supreme triumph. (9:111)

How beautiful a reward is this, and why should we not strive to achieve it? I mean how hard is it to part with the wealth that has already been provided to us by Allah in order to earn a place in Jannat - a success in its truest sense?
Can I place a smile on a person’s face today? Can I overcome my love for these worldly desires in order to secure my place in Jannat? Can I pass this test by parting with my belongings? If yes, then don’t delay: donate today! Be the one to help others smile!!