The Quranic meaning of zakaa is ‘pure’. Throughout the Quranzakaa is frequently used alongside solaa, as for example in verse 2:43: “You shall observe your commitments (solaa) and keep them pure (zakaa) …”
Purity is an essential condition to help an individual grow, develop and progress. Therefore, keeping your commitments and obligations pure and uncontaminated is an important part of life because genuine sincerity cannot exist when mixed with polluted ideas.
Moses’ task was to go to Firawn who is oppressing his people and convince Firawn to stop this transgression and purify his Self of wrongdoing. [Verse 79:17-18]. When an individual moves forward on the straight and balanced path his good actions purify his Self. In other verses such as 92:7-9, God states that he created the Self and revealed how to safeguard it from the effects of evil, and by their good action the righteous purify it; those who do so are the successful ones. Purity also strengthens the Self making it fit for the life yet to come.
“Those who believe, lead a righteous life and observe their commitments and keep them pure, receive their recompense from God; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” [Verse 2:277].
Other verses show the importance of purity in character: because of John’s righteousness, he was endowed with purity. [Verse 19:13]. Jesus was pure in character [Verse 19:19] and his mother Mary was pure and chosen above all women in the world as an exemplary person. There are many other such verses which show that people of good character fulfil their commitments and keep them pure – sincere and untainted by corruption from outside sources, and the Quran advocates all people to do this. See verse 2:42 for further references.
In traditional translationsconfusion is perpetuated when as in verse 58:13 both sadaqah and zakaa are translated as charity, while in verse 19:19 zakaa is translated as holy and in 19:13 it is translated as purity. Also in verse 79:17-18 reads: “Go thou to Pharaoh, for he had indeed transgressed all bounds. And say to him, wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified tazakki (from sin)?” If zakaa (and its derivatives) mean charity, how can it be translated as purity or holy? See Yousaf Ali translation.
The fact is that the traditional translators have mistakenly misconstrued different meanings for the word zakaa. The roots of the words define that zakaa means pure, purity etc and sadaqah means sincere, true. etc.
Pure: (Arabic: zakaa. from the root Z’K’W). Purity is an essential condition to help an individual grow, develop and progress. Therefore, keeping your commitments and obligations pure and unadulterated is an important part of life because genuine sincerity cannot exist when mixed with polluted ideas. See verses 2:83; 2:129; 2;151; 2:277; 9:102-3; 18:81; 19:13; 19:19; 19:31; 22:78; 24:21; 35:18; 58:12,13; 79:17-18; 91:1-9.