My dear fellow Muslim brethren! I was writing a series of articles on the five pillars of Islam last year. Then I intentionally stopped it ahead of continuing on the fourth pillar, namely ‘Zakat’, because I wanted to do it in the ‘holy’ month of Ramadan, on which we Muslims spend whole heartedly on charity. We spend more on Zakat and Sadaqa in the month of Ramadan because, according to our prophet, we get 700 times more reward if we spend in charity in the holy month of Ramadan. In my previous articles of this series, we have learnt what holy the month of Ramadan is all about. We Muslims feel proud of our sense of being charitable as compared to other communities, thanks to paying Zakat as a religious duty. Non-Muslims also appreciate our being charitable in paying Zakat.

But what ‘Zakat’ is all about? We have seen in my previous articles how our holy prophet had copied Islamic prayers and fasting from other religious communities. Was the Zakat charity also copied from other religious communities? Let us ponder over the facts about the origin of the practice of Zakat.



I reiterate again that it is very unfortunate that we don’t have references from other sources to cross-check the deceptions of the Islamic scripture. We have to depend on information from the Islamic scriptures only. So, what do Islamic scriptures say about Islam’s fourth pillar, the Zakat? Unfortunately again, ‘Zakat’ was no new invention by our Allah or our holy prophet. Allah just copied it from the contemporaries of our prophet – this time, from the pagans of Arabia.

If we study Islamic scriptures carefully, we find all kinds of ‘word game’ played by Islamic ‘scholars’ to whitewash the shortcomings of Muhammad and his companions. The Quran says that Allah imposed Zakat upon us Muslims. But during the time of Prophet Muhammad, pagan Arabs used to impose Zakat as a kind of tax upon the neighboring peaceful Christian communities. So, it is incorrect to assume that the practice of Zakat is Islamic or was invented by Allah or his beloved last prophet. Instead, Prophet Muhammad not only copied the system of Zakat from his pagan ancestors, but also continued to collect it from the Christians like their pagan ancestors did in the age of so-called ‘Jahiliya’. This practice of ‘Zakat’ was copied by Muhammad as such, and continued even after his death. I’m presenting the following few hadiths as evidence for our thinking intelligent Muslim brothers.

  1. “…….Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he collects them all together and must pay ZAKAT on them, even if they are of every kind of pulse and not just one kind."
  2. Malik said, ''Umar ibn al-Khattab drew a distinction between pulses and wheat when he took ZAKAT from the NABATEAN CHRISTIANS. He considered all pulses to be one category and took a tenth from them, and from cereals and raisins he took a twentieth………..” (Malik: Book 17: Hadith 17.21.37)
  3. Yahya related to me from Malik that he had asked Ibn Shihab why Umar ibn al Khattab used to take a tenth from the Nabateans and Ibn Shihab replied, "IT USED TO BE TAKEN FROM THEM IN THE JAHILIYYA, and Umar imposed it on them." (Malik: Book 17:Hadith 17.25.47/ 17.25.48/ 17.25.49 )

Please note that Umar never forgot to take his share of 10% as ‘Al-Khums’ (i.e. one-fifth portion of the loot) like his boss, Prophet Muhammad, used to do previously. Umar is better known for great justice, honesty and morality among Sunni Muslims. And he took only 10% of the loot for himself, whereas his boss Muhammad used to take 20%.

Zakat, the fourth pillar of Islam, is not similar to the second pillar, prayers, or the third pillar, fasting, which involve no money. But Zakat is all about money. Before delve deeper into this subject, it is essential to understand Muhammad’s mindset regarding wealth that tempted him to impose Zakat on everyone, Muslim or not.


Orphaned at the age of six, Muhammad was brought up by his uncle and aunt. He spent his time pasturing cattle and accompanying his uncle’s caravans until he turned 25. At the age of 25, he married a twice-widowed 40-year-old wealthy entrepreneur Khadija. Marrying a woman, 15 years older, was very uncommon in the Arab land, although the opposite was quite common. It creates doubts about Muhammad’s intentions of marrying Khadija. Marrying 6-year-old child Aisha when he was 51 after Khadija’s death, and his countless marriages with young women up to his age of 63 certainly shows his real face. It also shows how frustrating a life he had to live for 25 years with the old lady Khadija just for the sake of her wealth. Muhammad never worked after his marriage with Khadija, and that continued after her death until he died at 63.

Muhammad’s greed for wealth was not confined to Khadija’s wealth. He wanted to capture the custodianship of the rich revenue-generating pagan temple of Kaba. To obtain that goal, he proclaimed himself a prophet. The leaders of his tribe understood his real intentions, and offered him the partnership in the custodianship of the temple. But Muhammad was too greedy and wanted be the sole custodian of the golden goose that was the Kaba. So, he refused their offer and wanted them to accept his prophethood instead.

"Abu Talib said to Muhammad, 'Nephew, how is it that your tribe is complaining of you and claiming that you are reviling their gods and saying this, that, and the other?' The Messenger said, 'I want them to utter one saying. If they say it, the Arabs will submit to them and the non-Arabs will pay the jizyah [submission tax] to them." (Tabari VI:96)

"Abu Jahl with sundry other notables went to Abu Talib and said, 'We acknowledge your rank with us, but now that you are at the point of death we are deeply concerned. You know the trouble that exists between us and your nephew, so call him and let us make an agreement that he will leave us alone and we will leave him alone.' The Messenger arrived and Abu said, 'Nephew, these noble men have come to give you something and gain something in return.' Muhammad said, 'Can you give me words by which you can rule the Arabs and subject the Persians to you?' 'How about ten words,' Abu Jahl said [knowing the drill]. Muhammad replied, 'You must say, "There is no ilah but Allah" and "Muhammad is his Messenger."' They clapped their hands and said, 'Do you want to make all the Gods into one Ilah, Muhammad? That would be an extraordinary thing.'"  (Ishaq:191)

Upon reading the above incidents, one can easily come to the conclusion that Muhammad’s Islam was nothing to do with spirituality. It was purely a political ideology to subjugate one and all under his leadership.

CONCLUSION: There are hundreds of incidents available in original Islamic documents that relate to Muhammad’s greed for wealth and power, which is impossible to narrate in this tiny article. I request the readers to bear with me to know more about Zakat, the fourth pillar of Islam, in the few more parts of this series. New readers should read my previous articles in this series on the first three pillars – Shahada, Prayer & Fasting – listed below to understand Islam better.


Part 1Part 2Part 3 Part 4APart 4BPart 4CPart 4DPart 4EPart 4FPart 4GPart 4HPart 5APart 5BPart 5CPart 5DPart 5EPart 5FPart 5GPart 5HPart 5IPart 5JPart 5KPart 5LPart 5M | Part 6A

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