Zakat is an obligatory act ordained by Allah (The Glorified and Exalted) to be performed by every adult and able bodied Muslim. It is an important pillar among the five pillars of Islam. Zakat is a part of the wealth and property that Muslims must pay annually, to help the poor of their community.
Zakat is the amount of money that every adult, mentally stable, free, and financially able Muslim, male and female, has to pay to support specific categories people.
This category of people is defined in surah at-Taubah (9) verse 60:
“The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” Qur’an 9:60
The obligatory nature of Zakat is firmly established in the Qur’an, the Sunnah (or hadith), and the consensus of the companions and the Muslim scholars. Allah states in Surah at-Taubah verses 34-35:
“O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. announce unto them a most grievous penalty – On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!” Qur’an 9:34-35
It is agreed between Muslims in all the centuries the obligatory nature of paying Zakat for gold and silver, and from those the other kinds of currency.
Zakat is obligatory when a certain amount of money, called the nisab is reached or exceeded. Zakat is not obligatory if the amount owed is less than this nisab. The nisab (or minimum amount) of gold and golden currency is 20 mithqal, this is approximately 85 grams of pure gold. One mithqal is approximately 4.25 grams. The nisab of silver and silver currency is 200 dirhams, which is approximately 595 grams of pure silver. The nisab of other kinds of money and currency is to be scaled to that of gold, 85 grams of pure gold. This means that the nisab of money is the price of 85 grams of 999-type (pure) gold, on the day in which Zakat is paid. (Current Gold Prices)When is Zakat Due?
1. Passage of One Lunar Year
Zakat is obligatory after a time span of one lunar year passes with the money in the control of its owner. Then the owner needs to pay 2.5% (or 1/40) of the money as Zakat. (A lunar year is approximately 355 days).
2. Deduction of Debts
The owner should deduct any amount of money he or she borrowed from others; then check if the rest reaches the necessary nisab, then pays Zakat for it.
If the owner had enough money to satisfy the nisab at the beginning of the year, then the money increased (in profits, salaries, inheritance, grants…etc.), the owner needs to add the increase to the nisab amount owed at the beginning of the year; then pay Zakat, 2.5%, of the total at the end of the lunar year (there are small differences in the fiqh schools here). Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital.
A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said ‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.
‘The Prophet said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ‘ He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.’ The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good.’ The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.’WHO’S ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE ZAKAT?
In accordance with Islamic guidelines. Giving your zakat means you can help provide emergency food, shelter for refugees, job training, medication, and so much more.According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be beneficiaries of zakat:
- The poor
- The needy
- The collectors of zakat
- Those whose hearts are to be encouraged
- Those burdened with debt
- In the cause of Allah (SWT)
Most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive zakat. It is acceptable to give your entire zakat to individuals who are in those groups.
Most scholars agree that those who collect zakat are one of the eight groups eligible to receive zakat. As such, they are eligible to use donations made to zakat-specific funds for important core work, including administrative and operational functions.