“Who are punctual in the payment of Zakah”
In this context, Zakah does not refer to the fixed portion of money that is given as a Farz. We need to keep in mind that this is a Makkan Surah, and the commandment for Zakah was revealed in Madinah.
Here Zakah literally means ‘purification and development’ – to help something grow smoothly. Therefore, in this context, it denotes self purification, which is known as Tazkiya of one’s self. Thus, a believer is the one constantly involved in self purification of his soul. The previous quality discussed (the avoidance of Laghv) was directed towards saving one’s energy by abstaining from negative and useless things. Tazkiya, on the other hand, means analyzing yourself and focusing on how to add good deeds in your life, which cannot be done without removing Laghv activities first. Both these activities go side by side. We need to do Tazkiya regularly for analyzing where we stand – how our worthless activities and bad qualities can be replaced with more virtuous ones.
We can understand this through a simple example: if we want to plant a farm, first, we have to clear the field, tear the soil and then only we can plant the seeds. Likewise, the farmer needs to play an active role in protecting his farm against all kinds of dangers, such as winds, drought and wild animals. A Momin undergoes a similar process of self purification (Tazkiya). The believer first shakes himself, analyses his activities, eliminates the worthless time wasters from his life, and then he is ready to start his new journey of life with righteous deeds and worthy goals.
However, it is important not to abandon the previous good deeds, when adding new deeds in life. A Momin wants to plant a garden of good deeds and not just one flower, so as we adopt new righteous acts, we must not neglect our previous good deeds. Allah (swt) loves deeds that are done constantly.
Bukhari and Muslim have narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The best loved deeds to Allah (swt) are the ones that are continuous, even if they are not very many.”
We must also keep in mind that it is not forbidden to earn for Duniya or enjoy the blessing of this world, but one must stay within the Shariah, which is the essence of doing Tazkiya.
(Read the introductory article to the series here.)