This is a very important matter. It relates to one of the pillars of Islam. Allah describes the taking of zakat in the following manner.
"Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it." [Soorah at-Tauba 103]
[Zakat] is one of the foundations of Islam. If the foundation is weak, then this weak foundation will have ramifications for other aspects of our lives.
Today, how many Muslims in the world honestly, sincerely and properly pay zakat to purify their wealth and to help their Muslim brethren. Since we are missing lacking or very weak in that foundation, is it any surprise that:
So many Muslims are starving and in need today.
So much Muslim wealth is wasted on luxury.
So much Muslim wealth is spent on forbidden items.
So little Muslim wealth is spent on jihad and sacrificing for the sake of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was ordered to fight the people until they made the shahada, established prayer and paid zakat. Abu Bakr continued that teaching after him. What does that mean for us today? Does that mean that if they were alive today, we would be from those who wouled be fighting alonside them or would we be from those whom they would be fighting?
Let us make sure that we pay the zakat and fulfill all of the other pillars of Islam correctly and sincerely for Allah's sake, so that our Islam as a whole will be strong and Allah will be pleased with us.