Zakat is the third of the five pillars in Islam and the only pillar which directly concerns the material/financial aspect of life. The fact that Allah made it a pillar shows the importance of a material/financial comfort to reach a balanced life. Zakat has so much significance that Allah combined it with prayer (salah) in many instances in the Quran. By making it a pillar, Allah makes almost everyone experience it either as a giver or as a receiver. Muslims are still ignorant about numerous aspects, laws, and regulations of Islam. Allah says:
لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِي الْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَاءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُم بِسِيمَاهُمْ لَا يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ
“(Alms are) for the poor who are confined in the way of Allah– they cannot go about in the land; the ignorant man thinks them to be rich on account of (their) abstaining (from begging); you can recognize them by their mark; they do not beg from men importunately; and whatever good thing you spend, surely Allah knows it.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:273)
Many Islamic laws and rules have been misinterpreted by people and they have implemented them in the wrong way. We cannot lead a righteous life or become a righteous person unless we fulfill our social responsibilities towards the poor, orphans, beggars, travelers or refugees or the needy. Zakat, the giving of alms to the poor and needy, is one of the five pillars of Islam (the others are a declaration of faith, prayer, fasting in Ramadan and Hajj). It is obligatory upon every adult Muslim of sound mind and means. Allah says:
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:60)
The individual must own a specific amount of wealth or savings (after living costs, expenses, etc). This is referred to as Nisaab and is the threshold at which Zakat becomes payable. The amount of Zakat to be paid is 2.5% of Nisaab. Allah says:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلْ مَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ
“The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien.” Any good you do, God is fully aware thereof.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:215)
Why do we give Zakat?
Zakat is not charity, It is not voluntary charity, not a tax but an obligation. By giving Zakat, a Muslim is acknowledging that everything we have is Allah’s and we do not really own it, and we should use it to remember Allah and help those who are in need. It is also an act to help free us from excessive desire and greed, learn self-discipline and honesty.
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
“And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow in worship and obedience.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:43 )
When should we give Zakat?
You should record the Islamic date on which you first became the owner of Nisaab – if on the same date the following lunar year, you are still the owner of Nisaab, you will be obliged to pay Zakat. Many Muslims choose to give it during Ramadan as the rewards for good deeds performed in Ramadan are greater than in any other month. Allah says:
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them to increase, and invoke [Allah’s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:103)
It means that Charity leads to purification of oneself from all kinds of evils like greed for wealth which also causes one to commit further wrongdoings. Above all, one gets countless blessings of the Almighty Lord through this action.
Zakat can only be paid to specific beneficiaries and projects.
The Qur’an mentions eight groups of people on who Zakat should be spent:(Surat At-Tawbah 9:60)
- The Fuqara’ (the poor)
- Al-Maskin (the needy)
- Aamileen (Zakat collector)
- Muallafatul Quloob (poor and needy who recently converted to Islam)
- Ar-Riqaab (slaves; Zakat can be used to purchase their freedom)
- Ibnus-Sabeel: A stranded traveler in need of financial assistance.
- Al Ghaarimeen: A debtor
- Fi Sabeelillah: Those who are away from home in the path of Allah
Muslims need to know the facts about Zakat. In fact, all people do. Most of you recognize zakat as an act of giving. It is also recognized as one of the significant faiths in Islam. Well, you should know more about it. you enjoy the list below.
- The Essence of Zakat
- The Nisab
- Nisab Controversy: Most of the countries apply 2.5% in Zakat. However.
- The Procedure of Zakat: There is due process in Islam. It applies in Zakah, as well. One should be a Muslim and he must be mature. Next, there should be an intention to pay Zakat.
- Varieties of Products: One can pay Zakat in either money or products. Some of them also pay zakat of property, livestock, mineral resources, or farming products.
- One of the Pillars in Islam; Zakat is one of Islam pillars.
- Zakat of Property: Those with a private property don’t need to pay Zakat for their building. That means residential buildings aren’t included in Zakah. On the other hand, commercial buildings should pay Zakat. It’s because those buildings generate income for the owners.
- Zakat of Agricultural Products: Farmers don’t need to pay Zakat for their agricultural products if these below 653 kilograms. If the production exceeds such a number, they need to pay Zakah. The products include fruits and crops.
- Zakat of Livestock: Zakat in livestock is a little bit tricky. The amount depends on the type of animal. Those with 30 cows should give 1 cow as the payment of Zakat. For 40 goats, there should be 1 paid as Zakat.
Facts about Zakat
Zakat is a religious and social responsibility bestowed upon the rich by the Almighty himself. Unfortunately, most of us lack the proper knowledge about giving Zakat and remain confused while calculating it.
Here are some basic facts about Zakat which every Muslim should know before they give Zakat.
- Zakat is for One`s own Betterment
- Zakat brings Social Justice
- The process of Paying Zakat
- Zakat on Property
- Zakah (charity) is purity
- One Year Rule to Pay Zakat
- Helping Closed People First
Did you know…
- Being a fundamental pillar of Islam, Zakat is compulsory on every sane adult Muslim man or woman whose net yearly savings meet or exceed the Nisaab values.
- Zakat amounts to 2.5% of all net savings. This includes cash in hand, bank savings, bonds, and other objects of monetary value.
- Jewelry and gold are not exempt from Zakat. Therefore, their worth must be factored into total yearly savings.
- Items for personal use are exempt from Zakat. This includes your house, cars, and clothing.
- There is a clear difference between Zakat and Zakat-ul-Fitr. The latter is due to all Muslims, period. The former applies to only those who meet Nisaab values.
- Zakat is given to the poor and the needy. This includes people in debt.
- The Zakat amount can be broken down into different quantities and be given to multiple charities.
- Zakat is due on adults and as such children are exempt from Zakat.
- Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, its regular payment being the single most important act in the life of a Muslim after the five daily prayers.
- Zakat is not something that the poor are gifted – Zakat is their right and it has been ordained as such by the Highest – Allah.
- Zakat amounts have been specified; it is not up to the individual to deduce how much he or she can spare to give.
- Zakat is intended to enable the poor to become self-sufficient. This is the wider aim and concept. It is not meant to be a temporary solution.
From an individual point of view, when one gives Zakat, one is acknowledging that everything belongs to Allah, and everything returns to Allah. When giving Zakat we do experience that money is a blessing from Allah; that we are not the real owners but trustees with the wealth we have. So Zakat is a reminder. Allah says:
إِن تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
“If ye disclose (acts of) charity, even so, it is well, but if ye conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you: It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:271)
Zakat is a highly practical and beneficial Islamic action that needs to be taken very seriously as it only creates balance in society but also results in an overall improvement in the life of the one executing it. Muslims give Zakat, and as they do, they remember Allah and they think about those in need. Zakat might make us postpone or delay something we really want in favor of giving someone else what is really needed. We here have a wish, in opposition to a very basic need.