Zakah and blessing word count in the Qur'an
This article contains a list of all occurrences of the words "zakah" (tax) and "blessing" in the Qur'an. The purpose is to analyze the claim that they both appear 32 times and that means Allah put a hidden message "taxes are blessings" into the Qur'an via the equality in word count.
The lists can also serve as a reference for people who want to know where the Qur'an speaks about the zakah or blessings.
The zakah is a tax that Muslims should pay in Islam. The Arabic word زكاة (zakah) ends on the letter ة (ta marbuta), that means the "t" at the end is pronounced when reading the word in a context of an Arabic text, but it is not read when reading the word alone. So when using this Arabic word in English, it is sometimes transliterated as zakah and sometimes zakat, due to the letter ta marbuta at the end.
In the Uthmani Script this word is written as زَّكَوٰةَ, while in the Simple Script, it is written as زكاة. This list uses the Uthmani Script.
The word is derived from the root زكو (z-k-w) and this is the list of all the words derived from this root in the Qur'an. We will see that from this root, there are also other words derived, which have a different meaning.
|Total count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Word class|
|1||2:43||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 1||noun|
|2||2:83||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 2||noun|
|3||2:110||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 3||noun|
|4||2:129||وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ||and (he) purifies them||verb|
|5||2:151||وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ||and (he) purifies you||verb|
|6||2:174||يُزَكِّيهِمْ||and (he) purifies them||verb|
|7||2:177||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 4||noun|
|9||2:277||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 5||noun|
|10||3:77||يُزَكِّيهِمْ||and (he) purifies them||verb|
|11||3:164||وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ||and (he) purifies them||verb|
|14||4:77||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 6||noun|
|15||4:162||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 7||noun|
|16||5:12||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 8||noun|
|17||5:55||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 9||noun|
|18||7:156||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 10||noun|
|19||9:5||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 11||noun|
|20||9:11||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 12||noun|
|21||9:18||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 13||noun|
|22||9:71||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 14||noun|
|23||9:103||وَتُزَكِّيهِم||and cause them increase||verb|
|29||19:31||وَٱلزَّكَوٰةِ||and the zakah 15||noun|
|30||19:55||وَٱلزَّكَوٰةِ||and the zakah 16||noun|
|32||21:73||ٱلزَّكَوٰةِ||the zakah 17||noun|
|33||22:41||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 18||noun|
|34||22:78||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 19||noun|
|35||23:4||لِلزَّكَوٰةِ||of the zakah (purification works) 20||noun|
|40||24:37||ٱلزَّكَوٰةِ||the zakah 21||noun|
|41||24:56||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 22||noun|
|42||27:3||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 23||noun|
|43||30:39||زَكَوٰةٍ||a zakah 24||noun|
|44||31:4||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 25||noun|
|45||33:33||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 26||noun|
|48||41:7||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 27||noun|
|49||53:32||تُزَكُّوٓا۟||purify (ascribe purity)||verb|
|50||58:13||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 28||noun|
|51||62:2||وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ||and (he) purifies them||verb|
|52||73:20||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 29||noun|
|59||98:5||ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ||the zakah 30||noun|
- The verse 23:4 talks about the "doers" of "zakah", so it is not clear whether this is the "purity" meaning or "tax" meaning. Either they are "doers of (paying) the zakah" or "doers of the purification (works)". The word "paying" nor "works" is present, so this occurrence is not clear, but it won't matter for the conclusions about the whole list. In the list this word is counted as zakah tax.
So the word zakah does not appear 32 times, as some apologists like to claim, but it appears only 30 times. This word count includes the forms with prefixes, which were often excluded in other apologetic word counts, so if we used that counting method, than there is even less occurrences.
Apologists probably simply searched for the sequence of Arabic letters زكوة (or زكاة in the Simple Script) and got 32 results, but did not realize that in 2 of those occurrences the word means something else:
- 18:81 "So we desired that their Lord might give them in his place one better than him in purity (زَكَوٰةً, zakatan) and nearer to having compassion."
- 19:13 "And tenderness from Us and purity (وَزَكَوٰةً, wa-zakatan), and he was one who guarded (against evil),"
This is the list of all the occurrences of the word blessing (بركة, barakah), as well as all other words derived from the same root (برك, b-r-k), in the Qur'an. The difference here is, that all the words derived from this root have the something to do with "blessing". There are no words with a completely different meaning derived from this root.
|Total count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Word class|
|6||7:137||بَٰرَكْنَا||(we) blessed||verb 2|
|7||11:48||وَبَرَكَٰتٍ||and blessings 3||noun|
|8||11:73||وَبَرَكَٰتُهُۥ||and his blessings 4||noun|
|9||17:1||بَٰرَكْنَا||(we) blessed||verb 3|
|10||19:31||مُبَارَكًا||a blessing 5||noun|
|12||21:71||بَٰرَكْنَا||(we) blessed||verb 4|
|13||21:81||بَٰرَكْنَا||(we) blessed||verb 5|
|14||23:14||فَتَبَارَكَ||so is blessed||verb 6|
|15||23:29||مُّبَارَكًا||a blessing 7||noun|
|17||24:61||مُبَٰرَكَةً||a blessing 9||noun|
|18||25:1||تَبَارَكَ||was blessed||verb 7|
|19||25:10||تَبَارَكَ||was blessed||verb 8|
|20||25:61||تَبَارَكَ||was blessed||verb 9|
|21||27:8||بُورِكَ||was blessed||verb 10|
|23||34:18||بَٰرَكْنَا||(we) blessed||verb 11|
|24||37:113||وَبَٰرَكْنَا||and (we) blessed||verb 12|
|25||38:29||مُبَٰرَكٌ||a blessing 10||noun|
|26||40:64||فَتَبَارَكَ||then (he) was blessed||verb 13|
|27||41:10||وَبَٰرَكَ||and (he) blessed||verb 14|
|28||43:85||وَتَبَارَكَ||and was blessed||verb 15|
|29||44:3||مُّبَٰرَكَةٍ||a blessing 11||noun|
|30||50:9||مُّبَٰرَكًا||a blessing 12||noun|
|31||55:78||تَبَٰرَكَ||(he) was blessed||verb 16|
|32||67:1||تَبَٰرَكَ||(he) was blessed||verb 17|
The word "blessing" in all its forms (including prefixes and plural forms appears 12 times.
The word count 32 can be achieved only by an absurd counting method of counting all the words derived from the root b-r-k, including adjectives and verbs! Actually the majority (17) of the words derived from this root are verbs!
- The word counts for the words "zakah" (Muslim tax) and "blessing" are not equal. Zakah occurs 30 times and blessing 12 times if we count all forms, that is including forms with suffixes and plural forms. If we exclude the forms which were excluded in other apologetic word counts for not being "basic form" enough, we get even less occurrences.
- The apologetic word count of 32 for zakah includes 2 occurrences (18:81 and 19:13), where the Arabic word zakah has a different meaning ("purity").
- The apologetic word count of 32 for "blessing" includes verbs and adjectives and most of the words in this word count are verbs!