Zakat is one of the most important pillars of Islam. It is mandatory for every Muslim who is financially stable, to pay zakat to the poor and needy. Zakat is an act of worship that every Muslim should perform to help the underprivileged Muslims. In the Quran, zakat is discussed a number of times. What Is The Meaning Of Zakat And What Is Zakat In Islam?
“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah” (Qur’an 2:110)
According to Islam, zakat is meant to be paid in order to purify the wealth. Therefore, those Muslims who have enough wealth have to give a little amount i.e. 2.5% of your wealth to the poor and needy. It is the duty of wealthy people to serve the deprived community by helping them in every possible way. Zakat is not a voluntary charity but an obligation. Muslims pay zakat every year in order to purify their wealth and to seek blessings from Allah.
You should pay zakat on any surplus wealth under your possession. This includes:
- Gold, silver and other jewelry/ornaments
- Money you lend to others
- Shares and stocks
- Pension amount
- Cash saved in bank, home or given for committee
- Property which you buy for investment purpose
WHO CAN RECEIVE ZAKAT?
Zakat cannot be given to anyone in need. There are eight kinds of people to whom zakat can be given as mentioned in the Quran:
“Indeed, [prescribed] charitable offerings are only [to be given] to the poor and the indigent, and to those who work on [administering] it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to [free] those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. [This is] an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise.” – Al-Tawbah, 9:60
- Al-Fuqara: They don’t have enough wealth to meet the basic necessities of life.
- Al-Masakin: These people don’t have any type of income or possessions.
- Zakat Collectors: The administrators or organizations who are authorized to receive zakat to distribute among the poor people.
- Those who converted to Islam: People who newly converted to Islam and have no means to survive because of detachment from family.
- Slaves and Captives: Those who are kept as slaves. Your zakat can help freeing captives or slaves.
- Debt-Ridden: Those who have no means to pay off their debts.
- In the cause of Allah: Those who are fighting in the path of Allah are entitled to receive zakat.
- The Wayfarer: A traveler who is left alone in another land and is in dire need of money to get back to his home.
Islam has guided us to make this world a better place by supporting those who are less privileged. Therefore, Islam puts great emphasis on charity and zakat. Muslims should do the calculation of their zakat carefully before giving any amount to poor people.
Some of the facts about Zakat are as follow:
- It is an imposed specific amount of assets that are identified by the Islamic laws as the assets that have the potential to grow
- The imposed amount at the rate of 2.5% each year on the market value of the Zakat-able possessions
- Zakat means a must to do transfer of ownership of some of the wealth or property of the giver, according to the estimated rate of 2.5%, to the needy or poor Muslims in any part of the world
- Zakat is a religious and spiritual act and is totally different than that of the tax. It is obligatory on every sane Muslim who has the ability and is liable to pay zakat.
Zakat is applicable to every Muslim who owns Nisab viz. 613.35 grams of silver, or 87.49 grams of gold or who owns one or more assets liable, equal in value to 613.35 grams of silver or 87.49 grams of gold.
IMPORTANCE OF ZAKAT:
Besides the fact that zakat is an obligatory act of worship in Islam and that Muslims get immense blessings by paying zakat, there are other reasons of how zakat is an important factor of the Muslim community.
Helping the Community at large
The most important benefit of zakat is that it helps to build society. If everyone keeps on saving the money and spend on themselves, then the less privileged will always remain poor. Therefore, with the help of zakat, people learn to support others in need. Zakat gives all the Muslims an opportunity to create a huge impact in the lives of deserving people.
With the help of zakat, your money circulates in the whole economy. As Zakat is an obligatory act, Muslims who are financially stable, pay zakat to the needy. This way, money gets out of the ones who are wealthy enough and reaches those who are not much privileged.
Act of Sacrificing
In today’s world, wealth has become an important aspect of life that everyone loves to have. Therefore, when a person pays from his wealth in the form of zakat, it means he/she is sacrificing wealth in the path of Allah.
SHOULD I GIVE ZAKAT ONLY IN RAMADAN?
There is a misconception that you can only pay zakat in the month of Ramadan. This is not true. A Muslim can pay zakat any time of the year. However, it is suggested that if a person is paying zakat in the first month of the year, he/she should pay zakat at the same time next year i.e. after the year finishes. Therefore, you should not wait for Ramadan to pay your zakat. Once you become liable, you can pay your zakat as the year ends.
CAN YOU PAY ZAKAT TO RELATIVES?
Yes, you can give zakat to your relatives if they are poor and needy. However, you cannot give zakat to your parents, children, spouse, siblings and others with whom you have blood relation.