The actual meaning of the word Zakaat means purification and cleansing. The word is a derivative from the Arabic root word “Zakaa or Tazakka” meaning to purify oneself from filth, profanity, uncleanliness and sins. With every aayaat advocating Namaaz, in Qur’an-e-shareef, Allaah Ta’aala, has stressed and included Zakaat. In Qur’an, zakaat has also been addressed to with words like “sadaqah” and “min amvaalehim”. Zakaat means giving away a part of wealth, according to the quantity specified, during the month of Ramazaan and not at any other time, to the Authority of Da’wat. Barring this, all other charities, almsgiving, donations, sabeel amount, hubb, and other monetary helps, are called “Sadaqah”. For sadaqah there is no limitation of amount or specific time, unlike zakaat which has to be given only to Saheb-e-Da’wat and only during Ramazaan as per strict calculation and well defined rules. According to the Qur’an, zakaat also needs to be given for gold and silver ornaments, cattle, farm produce and cash.
Allaah ordained upon the Rasoolullaah (saws) the law of Zakaat, and accordingly the Prophet (saws) sent his emissaries to different parts inhabited by Muslims to collect zakaat according to the rules. In Qur’an, it is mentioned clearly about the distribution of zakaat, who must be the beneficiaries, who is entitled to collect zakaat, and that the Rasoolullaah (saws) was the sole authority entitled to collect it. Amongst the lawful beneficiaries of the zakaat money as ordained by Qur’an and done by the Da’wat authority, even the collector of the zakaat from the people is included as a beneficiary. That proves that at any given time, the deputy of Nabi, Wasi and Imaam who in the present Daur us-Satr is our Da’i ul-Mutlaq (tus), whose Lineage and chain of Succession till the Rasoolullaah (saws) remains undisputed and unbroken, were appointing people to collect zakaat. It means that the collection and distribution of zakaat has not been assigned to the people themselves. And it is surprising that how can the people who have been ordered to give zakaat be authorized to distribute it! And if they take a direct route bypassing the Da’wat authority, then there is an evident danger that it will not be equitably distributed amongst the poor and the needy and the lawful beneficiaries as specified in the Qur’an shall be deprived of it and the reward for the fareezah (obligation) of zakaat shall go null and void.
As per the Isma’ili Taiyebi works on interpretation of Qur’anic law present in the precious library of Da’wat-e-Haadiyah, there are vast references about the esoteric meaning of zakaat, as to who is entitled to collect, when and how it is to be collected, how it is to be distributed and how by abiding to whatever they are ordered, as far as the fareezah of zakaat is concerned, the believers are helping to strengthen the Da’wat and the Imaamat. Those people who become willfully ready to give zakaat are in fact keeping in mind the order of Allaah, the command of religion and mazhab, and their duty ordained by Qur’an. And if people honestly calculate and take out the zakaat, they will undoubtedly be rewarded and will be entitled to receive divine blessings and mercy from Allaah.
People should not worry as to where the zakaat fund is going and how it is to be distributed, just by giving it their moral duty is over. They should not indulge in censure, allegations, and even think of misappropriation of funds by the Da’wat authority. The Imaams who were the vicegerent’s and deputy’s of the Prophet (saws) were Infallibles! Similarly the Du’aat ul-Mutlaqeen (aq) who are the deputies of Imaam’s are the likes of Infallibles in this Daur us-Satr, and they have been authorized to purify the believers by taking Zakaat!