Question: It is written in Shawahid-un-Nubuwwa: (Allahu ta’ala says about Thalaba, "Of them were some who made a firm promise with Allah saying ‘If He grants us out of His grace and bounty, we will certainly give zakat and truly become of the pious.’ When He granted them out of His grace, they become stingy with it and turned away. In fact, they were sidestepping."
When the tribe of Thalaba heard it, they said to Thalaba, "You have perished. Allahu ta’ala has sent a verse about you." Thalaba came and said to the Messenger of Allah, "This is the zakat of my wealth. Accept it." The Messenger of Allah said, “Allahu ta’ala has forbidden me from accepting your zakat” and “You have caused yourself harm. I warned you, but you did not heed” and did not accept his zakat. After the demise of the Messenger of Allah, Thalaba brought his zakat to Hadrat Abu Bakr, but he said, “How can I accept something that the Messenger of Allah did not accept?” He brought his zakat to Hadrat ‘Umar during his caliphate, and he did not accept it, either. However, Hadrat Uthman accepted it during his own caliphate.)
I have two questions regarding this. 1. Was Thalaba not from Ashab-i kiram? How did a sahabi not give zakat while a common Muslim can give it? Why was his zakat not accepted though he repented of it? 2. Why did Hadrat Uthman accept it?
1. Thalaba was a hypocrite. Allahu ta'ala did not accept his zakat because He knew that he was a hypocrite and would not repent of it. Thalaba wanted to give zakat in order not to be blamed among people and in order to conceal his hypocrisy. Allahu ta'ala did not accept his zakat so that the Muslims were not deceived by his trick.
(Hum mu'ridoon) is said at the end of 76th verse of Tawba Surah. In tafsir books, it is explained as "They were of the ones who were sidestepping, swaying, breaking a promise, objecting, were renegades." The following two verses say (what means):
(Because they broke their word to Allah and because they lied, He made the consequence to be hypocrisy in their hearts to last until the Day of Resurrection.) [Surat at-Tawbah 77]
(Do those hypocrites not know that Allah knows both what they hide and their whisperings?) [Surat at-Tawbah 78]
2. Hadrat Abu Bakr did not accept either what the Messenger of Allah did not accept to set an example. Hadrat Umar, as he followed Hadrat Abu Bakr perfectly in all ways, did not accept it, either. Thus, it became definite that the zakat of hypocrites would not be accepted. Afterwards, it made no difference anymore for Hadrat Uthman to accept it. As there was nothing wrong with taking what a disbeliever gave, he accepted it not as zakat but as charity. This case shows that it is permissible to accept the gifts of disbelievers.