Why are the Salat and Zakat paired together
in numerous Quranic verses?

By: A. Muhammad

The observance of the Salat and the giving of the Zakat are paired together in no less than 26 Quranic verses, such as:

Observe the Salat and give the Zakat
, and bow down with those who bow down. 2:43

He used to instruct his family to observe the Salat and the Zakat, and he was pleasing to his Lord.
19:55

They were not commanded except to worship God, devoting the religion purely to Him, to be monotheists, to observe the Salat and to give the Zakat. Such is the religion of correctness.
98:5

We do not see a pairing between Salat and any of the other religious duties set by God such as fasting or observing Hajj and Umrah. Accepting that there is nothing coincidental in the words of God, this deliberate pairing must carry a special significance.
To understand the significance of this pairing, we need to first look at another deliberate pairing which also repeats throughout the Quran:

Those who believe and do good deeds. 2:82

This specific phrase is mentioned in more than 20 verses such as 2:82, 2:77, 3:57, 4:57, 4:122, 10:9 and others.
The phrase "those who believe and do good deeds" represents a brief outline of the religion devised by God for mankind. The human being is required to believe in God and to lead a righteous life. The person who achieves those two goals is guaranteed redemption and bliss in the Hereafter.
For reference sake, we will number these 2 phrases as follows:

Phrase 1 =
Those who believe and do good deeds.
Phrase 2 = Observe the Salat and give the Zakat.

While phrase 1 outlines the ultimate goals to aim for (belief and righteousness), phrase 2 is more specific in pinpointing the physical acts that represent the highest forms of the two goals outlined in phrase 1.
The Salat with its bowing, prostrating and devotion to God represents the most sincere act of belief in God and worshipping Him.
Equally, we find in the Quran glorious words that indicate that giving the Zakat and being charitable is the act that is most valued by God among other righteous acts. This is evident in the following words:

And decree for us in this world that which is good, and also in the Hereafter. We have turned to You." He said, "My punishment will strike whomever I please and My mercy encompasses all things, and so I shall decree it for those who are reverent, give the Zakat, and those who believe in Our revelations. 7:156

When God spoke about His mercy and to whom it will be granted, God could have linked it with those who do any of the other good deeds, but God deliberately promised His mercy to those who give the Zakat. It follows that the Zakat, together with the act of Salat, represent the pinnacle of the two goals in phrase 1.

In the following Quranic words, God spoke about the importance of belief in God, then of all good deeds, once again God highlighted the importance of giving (Zakat and charity):

He did not use to believe in God, the Great, nor did he advocate the feeding of the needy. 69:33-34

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Further confirmation of the importance of Zakat in the sight of God is evident in other verses.
To present this evidence we need to be reminded of the following facts in Sura 50:

And the trance of death came bringing the truth.
50:19

The above words tell us that when the moment of death comes to the human being, it brings with it the whole truth. All the truths', previously unknown, ignored, or rejected by the human being, will become apparent at the moment of death. This is likened to a covering that has been obscuring the human's vision which is then removed at the moment of death:

You have been oblivious of this, then We stripped you of your covering, and so your sight today is iron strong.
50:22

At the moment of death, those who disbelieved in the existence of God will know that God is Truth, He is One, and He is Almighty. This is what Pharaoh realised when he was drowning (10:92).
Those who loved mortals as the love of God, giving them authorities that belong to God alone, thereby committing shirk, will know upon dying that God does not share His authority with anyone and that all power belongs to God alone:

Among the people are those who take other than God as equals; loving them as the love of God. However, those who believe have much greater love for God. If only the transgressors would witness the punishment, they would realise that all power belongs to God, and that God's punishment is severe.
2:165

Equally, those who were totally distracted by the worldly life, lavishing their wealth on worldly pleasures and doing little when it comes to paying the Zakat and charities to the needy, they too will know the extent of their transgression.
In Sura 63 we have very significant words. Upon facing death the transgressors will plead with God that if He was to grant them respite, they would make amends:

And give from what We have provided for you before death comes to one of you, then he says, "My Lord, if only You could delay me for a short while! I would then be charitable and be one of the righteous."
63:10

When death comes to those who did not invest for the Hereafter, they will plead with God to be given respite. Their plea to make amends will not be through fasting or observing Hajj or other righteous acts, but that they would
"be charitable".
This is once again because death brings all the truth with it, one of which is the great importance God places on the Zakat and charity.
What the transgressors will plead for when death comes to them is God's mercy, but God had already told them that He will grant His mercy to those who give the Zakat. They did not take heed of those Quranic words (7:156) when they were able, and so their promise to be charitable when they meet death (63:10) will be too late.

In contrast, the righteous believers who sought the Hereafter and have invested in it, they have read the Quran, they believed the Quran, and they followed the Quran. They knew the importance of giving the Zakat and charity:

Those who recite God's Book, observe the Salat, and give from what We have provided for them, secretly and publicly, are seeking a trade that can never go to waste. 35:29

And they give food away, despite their love for it, to the needy, the orphan and the captive: "We only feed you because we seek the Face of God. We want no reward from you, or thanks. 76:8-9