I then awoke, and upon reflection realized that an extremely important truth was contained in that dream. As proven and explained in the Twenty-Fifth Word, when comparing modern civilization with the principles of the Qur’an, all immorality and instability in the social life of man proceeds from two sources:
The First: “Once my stomach is full, what do I care if others die of hunger?”
The Second: “You work, and I’ll eat.”
That which perpetuates these two is the prevalence of usury and interest on the one hand, and the abandonment of zakat on the other. The only remedy able to cure these two awesome social diseases lies in implementing zakat as a universal principle and in forbidding usury. Zakat is a most essential support of happiness not merely for individuals and particular societies, but for all of humanity. There are two classes of men: the upper classes and the common people. It is only zakat that will induce compassion and generosity in the upper classes toward the common people, and respect and obedience in the common people toward the upper classes. In the absence of zakat, the upper classes will descend on the common people with cruelty and oppression, and the common people will rise up against the upper classes in rancour and rebellion. There will be a constant struggle, a persistent opposition between the two classes of men. It will finally result in the confrontation of capital and labour, as happened in Russia.
O people of nobility and good conscience! O people of generosity and liberality! If acts of generosity are not performed in the name of zakat, there are three harmful results. The act may have no effect, for if you do not give in the name of God, you are in effect imposing an obligation, and imprisoning some wretched pauper with a sense of obligation. Then you will be deprived of his prayer, a prayer which would be most acceptable in the sight of God. In reality you are nothing but an official entrusted with the distribution of God Almighty’s bounties among His servants; but if you imagine yourself to be the owner of wealth, this is an act of ingratitude for the bounties you have received. If, on the contrary, you give in the name of zakat, you will be rewarded for having given in the name of God Almighty; you will have offered thanks for bounties received. The needy person too will not be compelled to fawn and cringe in front of you; his self-respect will not be injured, and his prayer on your behalf will be accepted. See how great is the difference between, on the one hand, giving as much as one would in zakat, but earning nothing but the harm of hypocrisy, fame, and the imposition of obligation; and, on the other hand, performing the same good deeds in the name of zakat, and thereby fulfilling a duty, and gaining