Qur'anic Roots of the Shari'a, 3
A DONATION FOR ALLAH PURGEs THE CONSCIENCE
Who has been Funding
The Renaissance of Islam Since 1973?
029 - Version 19.6.2003
English Title: A Donation for Allah Purges the Conscience
German Title: Eine Spende für Allah reinige das Gewissen!
Grace-and-Truth l P.O.Box 2904 l Weirton, WV 26062 l USA
Every country levies taxes and every religious community needs offerings. Muhammad was a pragmatic merchant. From the beginning of his religious activity he placed great emphasis on taxes, donations and expenses "for Allah!” In the Qur'an there are 85 verses on this subject. The representatives of the four schools of Islamic law use these verses as the basis for their legislation. They prescribe how much every Muslim should offer and to whom.
Muhammad went so far in his calls for taxes and donations, that he assured the donors that their monetary donations would cleanse their "hearts" (Sura al-Tawba 9:103). He did not hesitate to consider, and even to call his religion a "business” with Allah (Sura Fatir 35:29-30). Whoever wants to understand Islam, should study the verses in the Qur'an concerning religious payments. He should then compare these commands with the basic principles of the Gospel.
In his earlier Suras (chapters in the Qur’an) from his time in Mecca, Muhammad answered his critics from among the people of the Book and among insecure believers in the Qur'an: They did not receive any other commandment, but to adore Allah faithfully, to accept his religion, to observe the official prayer and to pay the religious tax. That is the right religion! (Sura al-Bayyina 98:5).
At the midpoint of his twenty-plus years of religious activities, and before he emigrated to Medina in 622 AD, he wrote: Truly, those who recite the book of Allah (the Qur'an), who observe the (official) prayer, and who secretly or openly donate from what we have granted them, hope for a "business" (not "gain" as in some translations), which will not be in vain. He (Allah) will pay them their alms and add to it from his abundance. Truly, he is the forgiving one, the grateful (Sura Fatir 35:29-30).
Towards the end of his life in Medina, Muhammad expressed his view of faith in detail: Righteous (pious) is he, who believes in Allah, in the last day, in the angels, in the books of revelation, in the prophets, and who donates out of love, for relatives, orphans, the downtrodden, guests, beggars, to free enslaved Muslims, and who observes the (official) prayer, pays the religious tax, keeps his contracts, and remains patient in troubles of the misery of war. Those are the ones, who truly fear God (Sura al-Baqara 2:177).
Whoever compares these three verses will notice that the basic pillars of the Islamic faith are the official prayer, as well as various offerings and donations. Without the religious tax (zakat), without voluntary donations (sadaqa) and without additional expenditure for Allah (nafaqa), there would be few Islamic activities. However, as the price for crude oil has been raised several times its original value since 1973, the oil-producing Islamic countries have become relatively rich, and finance the resurgence of Islam on all continents with the obligatory taxes!
Allah created the heavens and the earth. Therefore, everything that exists remains his property. To him belongs the universe (Suras Al 'Imran 3:129,189; al-Nisa' 4:126,131-132; al-Ma'ida 5:18; al-An'am 6:12; al-Fath 48:14; al-Munafiqun 63:7; al-Ma'arij 70:40 et al.)! Allah is the unrestricted lord and owner of the East and the West and of everything which lies in between (Suras al-Baqara 2:115,142; al-Shu'ara' 26:28-32; al-Saffat 37:5; al-Ma'arij 70:40; al-Muzammil 73:9 et al.). Johann Wolfgang Goethe adopted this Semitic idea and wrote:
God's is the Orient, God's is the Occident,
North and South in his hands rest.
This great poet did not realize, that the Islamic concept of God is not idealistic, nor humanistic, nor pantheistic. Muhammad, when referring to the East and the West, claimed the territories in between to be ruled by Islam. According to Islam, Allah is the owner of the East and the West. All continents in between are to be subjected to Islam (Suras al-Baqara 2:115,193; al-Anfal 8:39; al-Fath 48:28; al-Saff 61:9; et al.).
After creation, Allah predestined every creature’s fate to the last detail (Suras al-Furqan 25:2; al-Qamar 54:49; al-Talaq 65:3 et al.). He controls everything (Suras Al 'Imran 3:108-109,127-129,189; al-Nisa' 4:126 et al.). The Qur'an states: We belong to Allah and to him we will return (at the end of our lives) (Sura al-Baqara 2:156).
All angels and even Christ are his slaves (Suras Maryam 19:30; al-Zukhruf 43:19). All gold and silver belong to him. He alone is rich (Sura al-Nisa' 4:132). Everything we own is on loan from Allah. He will call everyone to give an account as to whether or not he has paid his religious duty regularly and in full, and whether or not he has offered sufficient voluntary donations (Suras al-Baqara 2:284; al-Nisa' 4:86; al-An'am 6:62 et al.). No miserliness and no injustice will remain unpunished (Sura Fussilat 41:7).
With such basic principles Muhammad took hold of all Muslims, and made them bondservants and feudal estate holders of Allah. Thus, the regular payment of the religious tax is a compulsory duty for every Muslim. Generous donations are also expected (Sura al-Tawba 9:60). Allah reserves the right to all goods he has entrusted to the individual (Suras al-An'am 6:141; al-Isra' 17:26; al-Dhariyat 51:19; al-Hashr 59:7; al-Ma'arij 70:24-25 et al.).
With these principles of funding, Muhammad laid the foundation for a comprehensive social order for his community (Umma). He established an indirect insurance for the needy within his clan. With the help of these "revealed" laws, he made the spread of Islam possible. Allah, Muhammad, relatives in need, Muslim slaves, and warriors in Holy War had a right to money and property of all Muslims. This right is specified and regulated by the rules on the religious tax to be levied (Suras al-Baqara 2:83,177,180,215; al-Anfal 8:41; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Insan 76:8; al-Balad 90:16 et al.).
Allah made it compulsory for every believing Muslim to fulfil his financial obligations, which have been decreed in Qur'an and in the Shari'a law (Sura al-Baqara 2:264,267,271,277 et al.). Whoever had opposed Muhammad and wanted to convert to Islam could prove his sincerity with a donation. Allah would accept his repentance, if the contribution was appropriate.
Even pretenders and hypocrites were accepted warmly as soon as they paid! They could expect atonement from Allah for their sins, if the amount of the donation was big enough (Sura al-Tawba 9:103).
A defeated enemy will become a friend, as soon as he prays and pays (Sura al-Tawba 9:5,11).
Whoever fears the judgment of Allah, can overcome his fear through donations (Suras al-Mu'minun 23:60; al-Rum 30:38; al-Sajda 32:16). Whoever experiences a special blessing in his family or in his business, should give a substantial donation as a sign of his gratitude (Sura al-Tawba 9:75). But whoever does not have money, should not feel obliged to make a donation (Sura al-Tawba 9:91).
Muhammad states that the Israelites were called to donate generously for the cause of their Lord (Suras al-Baqara 2:83; al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Hajj 22:78 et al.). Everyone who claims that he is in a covenant with Allah has to testify to this privilege through substantial payments (Sura al-Tawba 9:75).
In the Qur'an we do not read that Christians and slaves should pay religious taxes. In Mecca and Medina they rarely had money or possessions. They generally belonged to the poorer classes of society. The honored church in Wadi Nadjran (North Yemen), however, eventually had to pay a minority tax (jizya). This was combined with degrading humiliation (Sura al-Tawba 9:28-29).
How Much Should a Muslim Pay and Donate?
The surplus from the net gain should be distributed among needy Muslims (Suras al-Baqara 2:215, 219; al-Talaq 65:7).
One fifth of the booty from the Holy War belongs to Allah and his prophet, and to whomsoever he may allocate it. The "Law of the 20 Percent of the Net Gain" includes in some countries the fruits of the harvest, as well as catches from fishing (Sura al-An'am 6:141-144). Even one fifth of the slaves captured in the Holy War, had to be turned over to the Caliph every year.
This "heavenly" decree in Sura al-Anfal 8:41 became one of the most important verses in the Qur'an. It rules the funding of many Islamic activities. One fifth of the net profit from the oil-production, the pearl fishing or from the generation of nuclear power finances the renaissance of Islam. As a result of these compulsory taxes and donations, the number of mosques is mushrooming on all continents.
Muhammad wanted to distinguish himself from the Jews of the Old Testament, and did not accept the tenth of the gross income, as is demanded in the Law of Moses, but demanded 20 percent (one fifth) of the net gain or net profit of his Muslims! In addition, he also expected continuous voluntary donations from the individual (Sura al-An'am 6:141-144).
In Sudan, some employees of the administrative departments of the mosques do not wait until one fifth from millet or from sugar cane harvests has been delivered to them. On the contrary, they drive trucks to the fields and demand their share – with violence if need be – sometimes even from Christians (Sura al-An'am 6:141)!
Muhammad, however, set limits to this law for pragmatic reasons: No one should give more than Allah has given him (Sura al-Talaq 65:7).
However, those who feed the poor in addition to paying their religious tax will be highly regarded by Allah (Suras al-Insan 76:8-9; al-Balad 90:14-16). If a bride voluntarily renounces part of her wedding gifts, her renunciation will count for her as a donation for Allah. The same also applies for a divorced women if she is willing to reduce her right to the remainder of her dowry.
Muslims want to satisfy Allah with their donations and taxes (Sura al-Baqara 2:265). Through their offerings, they hope to draw closer to their lord, and to please him (Suras al-Baqara 2:272; al-Rum 30:39; al-Insan 76:9). Everyone who donates, however, should examine himself so that he does not bring something of inferior quality from his harvest or from his cattle to Allah, while keeping the good and sound things for himself. Allah knows well the quality and quantity of all gifts (Sura al-Baqara 2:267,270).
With plain words, Muhammad demanded that his Muslims fulfill their duty to:
· Give donations, before death reaches you. Afterwards it will be too late. Allah does not grant any extension (Sura al-Munafiqun 63:10-11).
These calls for donations actually mean: Give always and give plentifully!
Furthermore, Allah demands that everyone who leaves behind assets write a will in which he should assign his assets to his nearest relatives and to the needy among them, according to the rules of the Qur'an. He should not forget anyone who has a right to his property (Sura al-Baqara 2:180).
Furthermore, the Qur'an teaches: Do not waste your gifts, but donate with wisdom (Suras al-Baqara 2:195; al-Isra' 17:26, 27, 29; al-Furqan 25:67).
Spend from your money, regardless of how much you love it, and give to those who need it (Sura al-Baqara 2:177).
If you come together in a circle of well-acquainted Muslims, then encourage the participants to give alms and donations. This is better than idle talk (Sura al-Nisa' 4:114).
First of all, Allah and Muhammad were to receive one-fifth of the religious tax and one-fifth of the spoils of war. If needed, the Almighty accepts "loans" from those who worship him (Sura al-Anfal 8:41 et al.).
After Allah and Muhammad, booty and donations are distributed to relatives. Of these, parents come first. They are more entitled to receive help and assistance than other needy people are. Islam is oriented towards clans, since the clan is responsible for all obligations, including the social welfare or health care of the individual. Furthermore, the clan takes care of the education of the children and the well-being of the elderly. The clan remains the nucleus and the guardian in Islamic society. The local power of each Muslim must first be strengthened and maintained. Otherwise, not even a wealthy person will find protection or support (Suras al-Baqara 2:83,177,180,215; al-Nisa' 4:36; al-Anfal 8:41,75; al-Isra' 17:26; al-Nur 24:22; al-Rum 30:38).
A married wife from a separate clan is often only an attachment to the clan of her husband. She is not an equal partner to her husband, and does not have the same rights as he has. She is merely a baby factory for her husband in order to strengthen his clan. He can divorce her at will. The children then belong to her husband and his clan. A husband is not responsible for his wife's relatives or their children.
Apart from the one fifth that is designated for Allah and the one fifth that is designated for the clan, the Muslim emigrants who left Mecca in Muhammad's day were the next recipients of donations and of shares in the religious tax. This decree was intended as a kind of ordained burden-sharing in the early Islamic community (Suras al-Nur 24:22; al-Hashr 59:5 and 8-10).
In Medina, Muhammad was faced with a growing problem. The Muslim refugees from Mecca had very quickly used up their assets they had brought with them. They rarely found work and did not inherit anything from deceased relatives. This nucleus of Islam had left behind all their estates, properties, relatives and acquaintances for the sake of Allah. In Medina, they began to suffer. They looked with envy on their hosts, the Muslims of Medina, who became richer and richer. Bitter animosity arose – conversion to Islam had not brought success! The sacrifices for Allah were fruitless! The result was frustration, poverty and contempt. Many of them played with the idea of returning to the animists of Mecca to take back their possession and their abandoned property. Tensions between the local Muslims and the asylum-seekers grew (Suras al-Anfal 8:72; al-Tawba 9:117; al-Hashr 59:8-10).
So, Muhammad again and again demanded in the name of Allah to honor the emigrants, to supply them and to accept them as brethren with equal rights in "an inseparable kinship and brotherhood". Above all, Muhammad promised the faithful and patient emigrants from Mecca the forgiveness of their sins, the highest position in paradise, extensive land and a great reward in eternity (Suras al-Baqara 2:118; Al 'Imran 3:195; al-Anfal 8:74; al-Tawba 9:20; al-Nahl 16:41 et al.).
The situation of the refugees from Mecca nonetheless worsened. Muhammad saw no alternative but to attack the caravans of Meccan merchants in order to satisfy the most urgent needs of his followers with the loot gained from these raids. In addition, the siege of the Jewish quarters in Medina and the extermination of their clans helped to enrich asylum-seekers from Mecca.
Following support distributions to the emigrants from Mecca, the Qur'an directs Muslims to give to the needy people from the Islamic community.
Support for Orphans
The number of orphans among the Muslims rapidly and disproportionately increased, because many fathers died in the "unholy" wars, and Muhammad, as the representative of Allah, was responsible for their surviving relatives (Suras al-Baqara 2:83,177,215; al-Nisa' 4:36; al-Anfal 8:41; al-Insan 76:8; al-Balad 90:15).
The unemployed, the less gifted, the injured in war and the blind could not be overlooked on the streets of Medina. They looked upon Muhammad as their only hope (Suras al-Baqara 2:83,177,215; al-Nisa' 4:36; al-Anfal 8:41; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Isra' 17:26; al-Nur 24:22; al-Rum 30:38: al-Insan 76:8; al-Balad 90:16). Among them were also beggars, outcasts, the poor, people released from prison without means and all those who possessed no land, no house, no camels and no goats. (Suras al-Baqara 2:177,273; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Rum 30:38; al-Dhariyat 51:19). Muslims who were indebted to Animists or Jews were ridiculed and cursed when they did not repay their debts on time. Therefore, Allah commanded Muhammad to provide coverage for the "foreign debt" of his followers (Sura al-Tawba 9:60).
A special monetary challenge was pressing on the Muslims to free other Muslims enslaved by unbelieving masters. Some masters suspected the slaves were spies of Muhammad and at times tortured them. Muslims captured in the Holy War were only released after the payment of a steep ransom. Muhammad called "buying the freedom of a Muslim slave" a justifying work, through which the sins of the donor would be atoned before Allah (Suras al-Baqara 2:177; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Nur 24:33; al-Insan 76:8 et al.).
Strangely enough, the guests of Muslims are found among the list of those who should receive support (Suras al-Baqara 2:177,215; al-Nisa' 4:36; al-Anfal 8:74; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Isra' 17:26). Hospitality was revered among the Arabs from ancient times. The guest is sometimes labeled "lord" or "god of the house."
The expenses spent on the guest could be deducted from the religious tax. Furthermore, catering for guests provides the host with bonus points in his heavenly account. This counts also, if the guest stays for a longer period. Such expenses are "worthwhile" for the Muslim in the end. This method of crediting the expenses for the guests, however, deprives the much-appraised Arabic hospitality of its value. This will be followed by a complete disillusionment, if the host with his family pays a reciprocating visit after a while.
Apart from the support for relatives, refugees, orphans, the poor, Muslim slaves and travelers, the religious tax should, above all, serve the weaponry of the Muslims and the procurement of provisions for their war endeavors. Since Muhammad ordered over thirty attacks and battles, the violent spread of Islam was one of the main items in the budget of the Muslims. They hoped that they could cover these expenses with the booty gained after victories. They first had to buy horses, camels, breastplates, swords and other arms required for them and their slaves. So, Muhammad called the Muslims to engage in a Holy War and to sacrifice their lives and their money (Suras al-Baqara 2:195,261-262 and 273; al-Tawba 9:60; al-Nur 24:22, et al.). Wealthy Muslims were encouraged to help poor brethren in the faith financially, so that they could purchase weapons for battle (Sura al-Baqara 2:273). They were also ordered to give money to those who most probably would not be able to repay their loans (Suras al-Baqara 2:280; al-Hashr 59:9).
Using Money to Buy Friends
Defeated enemies are to be attracted to Islam by offering them gifts (Sura al-Tawba 9:60). This gesture is called in the Arabic popular language "to cut off their tongue." After receiving the gifts, the recipients can no longer disparage their generous donors.
Wording in Qur'an recommends "to wrap up their hearts" in order to get them accustomed to Islam through gifts of money. This method paves the way for the Muslims on all continents to "purchase" for Islam presidents, generals, police officers and ministers, as well as the poor and students by giving them scholarships. Many humanists do not approve of this practice, which nowadays is practiced openly in many countries of Asia and Africa. Experience confirms, however, that this command of Allah is still carried out thousands of times.
Muslim governors, oil-billionaires and Muslims of moderate means need not pay their social welfare, expenses for arms, and atonement payments exclusively from their living expenses. They can deduct these ordained expenses from their religious tax, or they can count them as a donation to Allah. We should not therefore, assume that Muslims act out of love. They think in terms of business and obligatory duty rather than compassion and love! Muhammad was a merchant. He called his religion a deal with Allah. The one who wants to understand Islam as it is needs to adopt a different “Islamic” mindset! In the cultural sphere of this religion there is no free grace. The only thing that counts are deeds in accordance with Islamic law, which Allah, the quickest calculator of all, will count, record, and give a generous reward for conforming.
In Medina, Muhammad frequently asked Muslims, Jews and Christians to give Allah loans (Suras al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Hadid 57:10-11 and 18; al-Taghabun 64:16-17; al-Muzammil 73:20 et al.). In return the Jews asked the hypocritical question: "Is Allah weak? Does he need loans from his creatures? Normally, the Creator blesses all those, who ask Him for help. He blesses even those, who do not ask Him. How then can the Qur'an challenge sinners and righteous ones, Jews and Muslims, to lend money to Allah?" This subject is so explosive, that we would like to quote some texts, which have been translated precisely.
In the Sura al-Ma'ida, we read that Allah made a covenant with the children of Israel and that he had appointed "twelve superintendents" for them. Allah told them: Truly, I will be with you, if you pray the obligatory prayers, if you pay the religious tax, if you believe in my ambassadors (Moses, 'Isa and Muhammad), and support them – and give Allah a good loan! Then I will blot out (atone for) your evil deeds and let you enter the gardens, in whose lower regions rivers flow. But those who remain unbelieving even after this offer, have strayed utterly (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:12).
The conditions mentioned in the Qur'an had their peak in the demand for a "considerable" loan, which had to be handed to Muhammad, Allah's representative.
As a result, the Lord would blot out the sins of the children of Israel! This command does not represent a hidden righteousness by deeds, but it shows Islam regards itself as having a painstakingly calculated deal with Allah!
Muhammad in particular made fun of Christian bishops and of monks in monasteries:
Many of the religious leaders and monks eat the assets of the people without being of use, and (apart from this) hinder the "endeavor of Allah" (the Holy War of the Muslims). To all those, who hoard gold and silver and do not donate anything for the "sake of Allah", I announce a painful punishment: On the day of judgment their gold will be heated (and melted), and it will be burnt onto their foreheads, their sides and their backs. (In addition to this, they will be told): These are the treasures, you have hoarded. Taste now, what you have gathered and hidden (Sura al-Tawba 9:34-35)!
Muhammad wanted to get hold of the treasures of the churches and monasteries and use them for spreading Islam.
In the Sura al-Tawba we read how, in Islam, sinners can find forgiveness of their own sins by giving donations. This reminds us of the indignation of Martin Luther at the monk Tetzel, when he taught: "As soon as the coin sounds in the offertory box, the soul jumps out of the fire." In a similar way Muhammad said: Among (the Bedouins and the inhabitants of Medina) there are some, who confessed their sins, yet (still) mix their good deeds with evil deeds. Maybe Allah will turn to them. Allah is forgiving and the merciful. Take from their property a donation, which will cleanse and purify them and pray over them. Your prayers can calm them down. Don't they know that Allah accepts the repentance of his slaves, and that he accepts donations? Truly, Allah is the one, who turns (to the donors) and he is the merciful (Sura al-Tawba 9:101-104).
Repentance in Islam means the acceptance of Islam, which has to be sealed by a considerable donation. According to the belief of the Muslims, the religious tax cleanses their souls from their sins. In addition to that, Allah is always ready to accept repentance of sinners, proved by the payment of their donations.
Muhammad writes that in case an infidel dies and is able to offer a lump of gold as big as the earth for his redemption, it would no longer be accepted of him. Why? He ought to have paid the money to Muhammad before his death! Truly, those, who were unbelievers, and who died as unbelievers, never a lump of gold of the size of the earth would be accepted from them, if they would offer it for their redemption. They must suffer a painful punishment, and they will find no helper. You will never receive righteousness, until you spend that, which you love (as long as you are still alive). Allah knows, what you give! (Sura Al 'Imran 3:91-92).
In all circumstances, Muhammad wanted to get hold of the money of pious and rich Muslims. For this purpose, he unmasked their love for money. He wanted to have the wealth of the Muslims at his disposal in order to purchase horses, camels and weapons. It was his intention to lead Islam to victory and gain further booty.
Muhammad guaranteed his followers that Allah would pay them back for all donations: Whatever you donate of your possessions will be for your own good. You do not donate anything, apart from aiming to seek the face of Allah. Whatever you donate of good things, will be paid back to you in full. You will not be treated unjustly (Sura al-Baqara 2:272).
Muhammad confirmed a guaranteed return of all gifts and goods: Truly, my lord spreads out for each and everyone of his slaves the livelihood that he wants to give them. Therefore, whatever you donate, he will replace. He is the best provider (Sura Saba' 34:39)!
Frequently, we read in the Qur'an, that Allah does not merely guarantee rewards, but also adds them together, and from this account he will later pay Muslims in paradise, in lieu of a pension (Suras al-Baqara 2:262,274,277; al-Nisa' 4:114; al-Hadid 57:7,18; al-Muzammil 73:20; al-Tin 95:6 et al.).
To those, who donate their assets day and night, in secret as well as openly, to them are appointed due wages from their lord. They will not be depressed by any fear (on the day of judgment) and they won't be sad (Sura al-Baqara 2:274). Believe in Allah and in the one, he has sent, and pay your religious tax from that, over which he has placed you as guardians. Those of you, who believe and pay, can expect a great reward (Sura al-Hadid 57:7).
In Sura al-Baqara, we read that Allah hates interest and that he will destroy the capitalistic system of granting interest. At the same time, Allah grants interest and adopted the capitalist system for himself.
Allah will wipe out the interest (of the usurer), but he (on his part) will put interest on voluntary donations! Allah does not love unbelieving sinners (who charge interest) (Sura al-Baqara 2:276)!
Furthermore, we read in the Qur'an that donations pleasing to Allah will not only include interest, but will be double the amount. Those, who donate their assets in their search for the pleasure of Allah, and who – in doing this – get stability (or steadfastness), are like a garden on a hill, on which rain falls as a consequence of which it will yield the double amount of fruit. Allah knows exactly, what he does (Sura al-Baqara 2:265).
The Multiplication of the Loans
With the special offer of the Islamic bank in heaven, each good loan for Allah will not just double, but will multiply several times in value (Suras al-Baqara 2:245; al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Rum 30:39; al-Hadid 57:10-11 and 18; al-Muzammil 73:20 et al.). Whoever gives Allah a good loan, He will multiply it several times (to him). Allah controls everything, and he presents (His offer) openly. To Him you will return (Sura al-Baqara 2:245). Whatever you give to increase by interest from the wealth of people, will not render any interest with Allah. However, what you pay in religious taxes to seek the face of Allah, that is the wealth which will be multiplied (Sura al-Rum 30:39). What hinders you to spend for the "cause of Allah" (in other words, “Holy War”)? Allah will inherit the heaven and the earth! Those of you, who have given donations before the victory, and who have fought with the weapon, will be evaluated higher than those, who only donated and fought with the weapon afterwards. However, Allah has promised all the best! Allah knows what you do. Who will lend Allah a good loan? He will multiply it for him and (in addition) will give him an honorable reward! (Sura al-Hadid 57:10-11). For those donors, who (repeatedly) place a good loan at Allah's disposal, he will multiply it. They can expect an honorable reward (Sura al-Hadid 57:18).
Muhammad never grew tired of launching funding campaigns. In Islam there is no Holy Spirit as a driving force inside the Muslims. So, donations, loans and promises of rewards and assets in paradise have to serve this purpose instead:
Fear Allah, as much as you can. Hear and be obedient, and give something good (as a donation) to your own advantage. Those, who remain protected from their own greed, will have success. If you lend Allah a good loan, he will multiply it for you, and he will forgive you. Allah is thankful and lenient (Sura al-Taghabun 64:16-17).
Before a nighttime prayer Muhammad reminded his Muslims that prayer alone was not enough, but even at nighttime donations should be added:
During your nighttime prayer, recite (from the Qur'an), what is easy for you. Perform the (whole) compulsory prayer. Pay the religious tax and lend Allah a nice loan! That what you send in good things for yourself ahead of you, you will find again with Allah as a better and more tremendous reward. And ask Allah for forgiveness! Truly, Allah is the one who forgives and he is the merciful (Sura al-Muzammil 73:20c).
The two big feasts ('Id al-Fitr and 'Id al-Adha), as well as the month of fasting, Ramadan, are considered the most convenient opportunities for the multiplication of donations. The night of pre-determination (Lailat al-Qadr) in particular is called the most blessed of all nights (Sura al-Qadr 97:3-5).
In Sura al-Baqara 2:261 Muhammad offers his followers the crown of all promises from the heavenly bank regarding the supply of loans: Those who spend their money for the "way of Allah" (Holy War), resemble a seed, which brings forth seven sheaves of which each sheaf carries in it a hundred grains! Allah multiplies the seed for whom he wants. Allah encompasses everything with his full knowledge (Sura al-Baqara. 2:261).
In the days of the Pharaohs there grew stalks of wheat, which brought forth seven sheaves. Experiments, in which grains found in the graves of the Pharaohs were sown on good soil, confirm this Sura. Maybe even in Muhammad's days such sturdy seeds were still in use. Muhammad used this as an illustration for the Muslims, that their donations for the Holy War would be multiplied seven hundred times!!!
Special Promises for the Donor
After this sobering introduction to the materialistic principles and business-like background of Islam, we can understand what the driving forces are in the faith and life of Muslims. Apart from these quotations one should also draw attention to some spiritual promises, which Islam offers every donor:
· The privilege to ask for forgiveness for his sins (Sura al-Muzammil 73:20).
· Exceptional forgiveness for his sins for donations given in secret in order not to hurt the dignity of the recipient (Sura al-Baqara 2:271).
· Purification/purging of the conscience for payment of the religious tax (tuzakki al-zakat al-zaki) (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:12).
· Success in life and in eternity (Suras al-Mu'minun 23:1-4; al-Rum 30:38; al-Taghabun 64:16; al-A'la 87:14; et al.).
· The betterment of themselves (Suras al-Baqara 2:272; al-Taghabun 64:16-17; al-Muzammil 73:20; et al.).
· The hope of pleasing Allah through their donations (Suras al-Baqara 2:265,272; al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Rum 30:39; al-Insan 76:9).
In most encouragements to give donations, Allah appears as a businessman who waits eagerly for the donations of the Muslims and who accepts their loans. He carefully takes note of all gifts (Suras al-Baqara 2:270; Al 'Imran 3:92; al-Tawba 9:102-103).
In the final analysis, Islam is something like a trade deal with Allah (Suras Fatir 35:29-30; al-Tawba 9:111; al-Baqara 2:272 et al.).
Warnings to the Donors
A Muslim who gives donations in order to be seen is called a friend of Satan (Sura al-Nisa' 4:37-38). Whoever is proud and gives donations "in a condescending manner" and who uses rude words toward those in need and hurt them loses the eternal value of his gift (Sura al-Baqara 2:264).
Misers do not give donations. They oppose Islam (Suras al-Baqara 2:38; Al 'Imran 3:12; al-Tawba 9:34,76,77; al-Nur 24:22; al-Rum 30:39; Ya Sin 36:47; Fussilat 41:7; Muhammad 47:38; al-Munafiqun 63:7).
Hypocrites do not give contributions. They promise to give, but they lie and break their promises (Sura al-Tawba 9:77).
Muhammad urges his Muslims: "Never swear not to give anything!" (Sura al-Nur 24:22)!
Muhammad's Position Respecting Money
Muhammad was a merchant and understood his religion to be a trading relationship with Allah. His philosophy of life was pragmatic. Whoever works receives his wages. Whoever does not work won't receive anything. Whoever wants to buy must pay. Without payments there are no goods available. In this way, Muhammad demanded efforts from his Muslims in the form of their confession, their compulsory prayers, fasting, various kinds of payments, participation in the pilgrimage, and their engagement in Holy War. They had to work hard for their salvation!
Through the fulfillment of their spiritual and secular duties one might enter into the Islamic paradise – if Allah so wishes (Suras al-Baqara 2:261; al-Nur 24:56). In the end, Islam is based on a justification by works. Monetary donations and loans for Allah are an inevitable part of Muslim efforts. Whoever does not give donations or offerings, won't enter into paradise (Sura Fussilat 41:7).
Muhammad needed a lot of money for relatives, refugees from Mecca, orphans of war, the poor, guests, Muslim slaves who needed ransomed, and the Holy War (Suras al-Baqara 2:83,177,215; al-Anfal 8:41; al-Isra' 17:26; al-Insan 76:8; al-Balad 90:16 et al.). He had the talent to gain money from most of his followers, from Jews and Christians, and from the spoils of war. He used all the devices his eloquence provided. Through promises and threats, through guarantees and intimidation, he induced those who were reluctant to hand over their beloved mammon. He was even prepared to offer forgiveness of sins and entry into paradise in return for more considerable donations (Suras al-Baqara 2:271; al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Tawba 9:102-103; al-Muzammil 73:20; al-A'la 87:14 et al.).
Muhammad did not put the money into his own pockets. On the contrary, in Mecca, he used the assets of his rich wife Khadija in order to encourage persecuted Muslims. The goal of his procurement of funds was the well-being of the Islamic Umma. Initially, the purpose of the Holy War was not only the spread of Islam, but also to take revenge, to gain victory over the enemies and to gain sufficient amounts of loot, since there were not many opportunities to earn one's living in the deserts of the Arab Peninsula. For this reason, many Bedouin tribes in Muhammad’s day overcame their persistent shortages through raids on travelers and caravans.
The Attitude of Jesus Towards Money
Jesus was different. He never asked for donations or taxes! This is one of the fundamental differences between Muhammad and Jesus. It is true that the Son of Mary said: The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them, anytime you want (Mark 14:7).
However, he did not start to collect money, nor did he carry out any fund-raising rallies for the poor. Jesus changed the attitude of His followers so that they were willing to help those in need.
He confessed: The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
Jesus did not only give the tithe, as in the Old Testament, or a fifth of his net gains, but gave Himself completely! Through His self-sacrifice, He has shaped the life motto of his followers: Pray and work! He did not say: Pray and rob, so that you can pay your religious tax! With Jesus, a Holy War is unthinkable. He challenges us to pursue a mission of love and of sacrifices. Christian religious wars are anti-Christian endeavors.
Jesus worked hard. He healed all the sick people who came to Him, free of charge. He cast out demons and fed 5,000 of His listeners with five loaves of bread and two fish. He was no merchant, He had different principles. He did not demand payment for His services. He did not reject gifts, but He did not beg for them. He gave what He had as an offering. He lavishes His grace on us. He said that the small donation of the widow was more valuable than all the other contributions, because she had given everything she had at her disposal, and the others gave out of their surplus.
Jesus urged His followers: No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).
The Son of God relied on His Father in Heaven. He believed that He would care for Him and for His followers. In referring to God as Father, He went beyond our earthly dimensions, and taught us how to overcome our worries. The blessing of Jesus rests on the followers of Jesus day and night (Matthew 6:25-34). By His death on the cross and His resurrection, Jesus overcame the sin and death. He did not save us with money, but by his precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19). Since then the love of God accompanies all who trust in Jesus. His Spirit transforms them into people of love, praise, service and sacrifice.
People who are consciously Christians do not give offerings in order to be saved, but they serve, because they have already been freely saved by grace. Our sacrifice and service are our thanksgiving for the vicarious death of Jesus on Calvary. We do not need to render our own efforts or payments for our salvation, but we live solely from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, Muhammad established a city-state with taxation, social obligations and Holy War. Jesus built a spiritual kingdom without taxes and without an army. His church still lives in this world, but is no longer of this world. Politics ought to remain separated from the church. However, politicians should accept the guidance of the Spirit of Jesus and act according to the Gospel.
Jesus did not close His eyes to specific needs in the world around Him. He said: Whoever receives a child in my name, receives me (Matthew 18:5; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48). Myriads of abandoned boys and girls have found welcoming homes because of this counsel.
Jesus said: But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck, and be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6; see also Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).
In the age of child pornography, child molestation and abortions worldwide, this word of caution from our Lord will judge many ungodly people.
Jesus saw His mother standing beneath the cross where He was hanging and knew that she, as the birth giver of the crucified One, would be held in contempt and be rejected by everyone. Therefore, He said to His mother: "Women, look! This is your son!" Then He said to the youngest of His disciples: "Look, this is your mother!" (John 19:26-27). Jesus cared for the widows (Luke 7:12). The misery of this world aroused His compassion and His love impelled Him to perform great miracles.
When His disciples asked Him for their reward for following Him, He assured them, that they will be cared for in this world and the next, not for the sake of their sacrifice and suffering but for the sake of His love. Jesus did not give them any money, but He granted them promises to believe in (Matthew 19:27-30; Luke 6:23,35, et al.).
When Jesus was asked whether the tax of the Roman occupying force was justified, he answered: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's (Matthew 22:21).
With this statement, he called everyone promptly to give his whole life to His Father in Heaven – completely and forever.
The followers of Christ do not have to acquire their own salvation through their own efforts, by way of donations, religious taxes and offerings of money. But they give donations, serve, and give offerings, because they have already been freely redeemed. Donations for the church and for missionary work transform the unrighteous mammon into a blessing. Christians should not "expect" any reward for their donations, because their Lord Himself is their protection and their great reward (Genesis 15:1).
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:14) have transferred us into a culture different from that of Islam. The kingdom of Jesus Christ develops out of the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. The realm of Muhammad, on the other hand, is confined to this world and ignores the Holy Spirit. Islam remains a religion subject to the law and to the power of money. Faith in Jesus Christ, however, liberates us from the tyranny of the law and creates in us the will to serve.
Q U I Z
If you have studied this booklet carefully, you can easily answer the following questions. Whoever answers 90 percent of all questions in the different booklets of this series correctly, can obtain a certificate from our center on
As an encouragement for his/her future services for Christ. It will be appreciated if you include the Qur'anic references in your answers.
1. How did Muhammad, as a former merchant, understand religion? (Sura Fatir 35:29-30)
2. What are the main elements in Muslim faith? (Suras al-Bayyina 98:5 and al-Baqara 2:177)
3. Why does a Muslim believe that Allah owns everything that exists in the world? And what are the consequences from this faith for Islam?
4. Why does Allah have a right in the property of a Muslim?
5. Why are payments for Allah an unquestionable obligation for every Muslim?
6. What are the different forms of payments that Islam expects?
7. Who are the people who should pay religious tax (Zakat) and give free-will donations (Sadaqa)?
8. Why does Islam accept payments from hypocrites and even from enemies of Islam?
9. How should payments for Islamic purposes overcome the fear of the day of judgment?
10. Why did Muhammad accept great contributions from Jews?
11. How much should a Muslim pay from his income or profit?
12. Why did Muhammad not adopt the tithe (tenth part) from the Jews but instead introduced his own regulation?
13. What does this new regulation mean for the poor, for a bride, for a divorcee or for a widow?
14. What is the spiritual aim of Muslim payments? (Sura al-Baqara 2:265,272 et al.)
15. Why should a Muslim not cheat when bringing his gifts?
16. Why should a Muslim donate before he dies? (Sura al-Munafiqun 63:10-11)
17. Why does Islam consider secret donations as more valuable than donations given openly and directly?
18. When should a Muslim donate?
19. How did Muhammad try to free his Muslims from the love of money?
20. How much should Muhammad receive from the booty in Holy War?
21. Why do the blood relatives come before the religious community in receiving parts of the donation?
22. Which are the main groups of people who should benefit from the religious tax in Islam?
23. Why should religious payments be used to free slaves and finance Holy Wars?
24. From where do Muslims take the right to “buy” unbelievers by giving them loans and help to win them for Islam?
25. How could Muhammad dare to call his people to give a loan to Allah? What would be the benefits for a donor if he gives a good donation?
26. How did Muhammad test the faith of new Muslims?
27. How does a loan of a Muslim given to Allah bring interest?
28. When can a Muslim hope to receive a salary or a pension in paradise?
29. Why are payments before a victory esteemed more highly than payments after a victory?
30. Why does a donation given to show the honor of the donor lose its value?
31. Who are the ones that will never donate?
32. Where is it written that religious donations will forgive sins and how is the word Zakat connected to being cleansed from sins?
33. How does Islam limit its promises of blessings and salvation, even if Muslims sacrifice a lot?
34. What is the difference between Muhammad and Jesus in connection with money?
35. Why did Jesus say, "You cannot serve God and money"?
36. What did Jesus mean when He said, "Give to Caesar, what is Caesar's and to God what is God's"?
37. What is the difference between salvation by grace and the deception of building up one's own righteousness with the help of donations?
38. Is Christianity a business with God or something else?
Every participant in this quiz is allowed to use any book at his disposition and to ask any trustworthy person known to him when answering these questions. We wait for your written answers including your full address on the papers or in your e-mail. We pray for you to Jesus, the living Lord, that He will call, send, guide, strengthen, protect and be with you every day of your life!
Yours in His service,
Servants of the Lord
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