What is Zakât?
“Take from their wealth a portion for charity, in order to clean them thereby, and sanctify them.”
Zakat means grow (in goodness) or ‘increase’, ‘purifying’ or ‘making pure’. So the act of giving zakat means purifying one’s wealth to gain Allah’s blessing to make it grow in goodness.
The Zakat (Alms, 3rd of the 5 pillars of Islam) is a form of giving to those who are less fortunate. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to give 2.5 % of wealth and assets each year (in excess of what is required) to the poor. This is done before the beginning of the month of Muharram, the first of new year. Giving the Zakat is considered an act of worship because it is a form of offering thanks to God for the means of material well-being one has acquired
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Zakah not only purifies the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors. –Source: zakat (the alms tax)
A certain fixed proportion of the wealth and of the each and every kind of the property liable to Zakât of a Muslim to be paid yearly for the benefit of the poor in the Muslim community. The payment of Zakât is obligatory as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Zakât is the major economic means for establishing social justice and leading the Muslim society to prosperity and security. [See Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book of Zakât (24)].
Measurement of zakat :
Paying zakat is Fard (compulsory). The Qur’an says that only those who pay zakat are in the “brotherhood of faith”. The Holy Qur’an also says that Zakat purifies assets and creates virtue ( SU:9 103 ). Zakat is a 2.5% levy on most valuables and savings held for a full year if their total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab. At present nisab is $1,050 or an equivalent amount of any other currency. Cash money in your bank and building society accounts, and the release value of bonds, securities and shares in any form are zakatable if they are purchased as an investment. There is no Zakat on family home or household furniture, carpets, car, etc.
Zakat also differs from tax in that it cannot be used by the state for just any common purpose, but rather only for its designated groups.
Zakat is to be paid once a year on one’s savings. The rate to be paid differs for various types of assets. See the table (from Fiqhu Zakah by Yousuf Qardawi)
Minimum Amount for Zakat to be applicable (Nisab)
Rate of Zakah
|Agricultural produce||5 Awsuq (653 kg) per harvest||5 percent for irrigated land, 10 percent for rain fed land|
|Gold, Silver, ornaments of gold and silver||85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver||2.5 percent of value|
|Cash||value of 595 grams of silver||2.5 percent of amount|
|Trading goods||value of 595 grams of silver||2.5 percent of goods|
|cows and buffaloes||30 in number||For every 30, one 1-year old; for every 40, one 2-year-old|
|Goats and sheep||40 in number||One for first 40; two for 120; three for 300; one more for every 100|
|Produce of mines||Any quantity||20 percentage of value of produce|
Recipient of zakat :
Zakat is distributed among 8 asnaf (categories) of people, namely:
- Fakir – One who has neither material possessions nor means of livelihood.
- Miskin – One with insufficient means of livelihood to meet basic needs.
- Amil – One who is appointed to collect zakat.
- Muallaf – One who converts to Islam.
- Riqab – One who wants to free himself from bondage or the shackles of slavery.
- Gharmin – One who is in debt (money borrowed to meet basic, halal expenditure).
- Fisabillillah – One who fights for the cause of Allah.
- Ibnus Sabil – One who is stranded in journey.
The Holy Qur’an (Sura Al-Tauba: 60) classifies the due recipients of zakat under the following eight categories.
“Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those
who are employed to administer and collect it,
and the new converts, and for those who are in
bondage, and in debt and service of the cause
of Allah, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained
by Allah, and Allah is the All-Knowing, the
Source : Guide to zakat- By Dr. Abdul-Satar Abu Qhodda
Importance of zakat :
For society, zakat
- Minimizes the feeling of envy among those who are not well-to-do;
- Provides a religiously-approved method of managing economy and finance;
- Makes it possible for part of the wealth of the rich to be distributed among the poor.
Zakah is the third pillar of Islam is the alms-tax (Zakah). It is a tax on wealth, payable on various categories of property, notably savings and investments, produce, inventory of goods, salable crops and cattle, and precious metals, and is to be used for the various categories of distribution specified by Islamic law. It is also an act of purification through sharing what one has with others.
The rationale behind this is that Muslims believe that everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by man as a trust. This trust must be discharged, moreover, as instructed by God, as that portion of our wealth legally belongs to other people and must be given to them. If we refuse and hoard this wealth, it is considered impure and unclean. If, for example one were to use that wealth for charity or to finance one’s pilgrimage to Makkah, those acts would also be impure, invalid, and of course unrewarded.
Allah says: “Of their wealth, take alms so you may purify and sanctify them.” [9:103]
The word Zakah means purification and growth. Our possessions are purified by setting aside that portion of it for those in need. Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakah individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of 2.5% of one’s capital, provided that this capital reaches a certain minimum amount that which is not consumed by its owner. A generous person can pay more than this amount, though it is treated and rewarded as voluntary charity (Sadaqah). This amount of money is provided to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, and can be used in many useful projects for the welfare of the community.
Historically the pillar of Zakah became mandatory on Muslims form the second year after the Hijrah, 622 C.E. It is mentioned more than thirty times in the Qur’an, usually in the same breath as Salah. So important is this pillar that one is not considered a part of the Islamic brotherhood if one ignores this obligation.
May Allah enlighten your heart, have a nice day.
Zakat’s social significance is obvious. It serves to alleviate the miseries of poverty and helps the needy to fulfil their basic requirements. History testifies to the efficacy of Zakat in completely eradicating poverty from a society whenever it was properly implemented.
Zakat also helps to circulate wealth in society, in good and bad times, and hence guards a society from falling into class struggles due to disparities in the distribution of wealth, and also from falling into recession by letting the wealth to be spent rather than being hoarded uselessly. It uplifts the weaker sections of the society by empowering them with micro-credits which help them to stand on their own feet. This benefits the society as a whole
To Deny Zakat
The importance of Zakat can be guaged from the fact that it has been mentioned together with Salah (prayers) in all places in Quran. Those who do not pay the Zakat or a part of it invites grave punishment from Allah, according to Quran:
“And let not those who [covetously] withhold what Allah has given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them: No! it will be the worse for them; soon shall what they withheld be tied to their necks on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is Well-acquainted with all that you do” (3:180)
Prophet Muhammed Said: “There is none among those who do not pay the zakah on gold and silver but will, on the Day of Resurrection, have it heated and made into plates in the fire of Hell and his forehead, his flanks and his back will be branded with them; every time they cool, it will be repeated in a day which lasts for fifty thousand years, until He judges between his slaves” (Muslim)
Some points on Zakat
- One must give the Zakat immediately when it becomes due. It is common practice for people to give the zakat during the month of Ramadan, considering its extra sanctity.
- For the young and insane their guardians should give the zakat on their behalf.
- Zakat must be paid on trading goods, including real estate, vehicles, livestock, clock and other such assets.
- The value of the stock is assessed at their value at the beginning of each year they remain in one’s possession.
- Zakat need not be paid for one’s house, vehicles and equipment, as per the saying of Prophet Muhammed
“A Muslim is not obliged to pay Sadaqah on his slave and his horse” (Muslim)
- According to one opinion Zakat need not be paid for women’s ornaments which they regularly use, even though there is also strong objection to this view.
- Zakat need not be paid for the asset values of one’s property given for lease or rent. But the income from them is Zakatable higher – at 10 % rather than 2.5 %.