Who Are Eligible for Zakat? And What Will Be The Impact
Zakat

Who Are Eligible for Zakat? And What Will Be The Impact

Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a form of charity, a means to help those in need, and a way to purify one’s wealth. In simple terms, Zakat is an obligatory act of giving a certain percentage of one’s wealth to those who are eligible to receive it.

The concept of Zakat is deeply rooted in the Islamic faith and is essential for maintaining social and economic balance within the community. But who exactly is eligible to receive Zakat?

This blog will explore the criteria and categories of people who can receive Zakat, written in straightforward language and targeted towards readers in the Bangladesh.

Understanding Zakat

Before we dive into who is eligible for Zakat, let’s first understand what Zakat is. Zakat means “purification” and “growth.” In Islam, it is believed that giving Zakat purifies one’s wealth and soul, and helps it grow by the blessings of Allah.

Muslims who meet certain conditions must pay Zakat annually, usually at the rate of 2.5% of their savings and wealth.

Basic Requirements for Giving Zakat

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Not everyone is required to give Zakat. There are specific conditions that one must meet to be obligated to pay Zakat:

  • Muslim: Only Muslims are required to pay Zakat. Non-Muslims are not obligated to do so.
  • Nisab: The person must own a minimum amount of wealth, known as Nisab, which is the threshold beyond which Zakat becomes obligatory. Nisab is equivalent to 3 ounces (87.48 grams) of gold or 21 ounces (612.36 grams) of silver.
  • Ownership: The wealth must be fully owned by the person and free from any debts.
  • Lunar Year: The wealth must have been held for a full Islamic (lunar) year.
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Now that we understand who needs to pay Zakat, let’s look at who can receive it.

Categories of People Eligible for Zakat

The Quran specifies eight categories of people who are eligible to receive Zakat. These categories are mentioned in Surah At-Tawbah (9:60):

The Poor

These are people who do not have enough wealth to meet their basic needs. They live below the poverty line and struggle to provide for themselves and their families.

The Needy

These individuals have slightly more resources than the poor but still do not have enough to live a comfortable life. They may have some income but not enough to cover all their essential needs.

Those Employed to Collect Zakat

This category includes those who are appointed by the Islamic state or community to collect and distribute Zakat. They are eligible to receive a salary or stipend from the Zakat funds for their work.

Those Whose Hearts Are to Be Reconciled

These are individuals who have recently accepted Islam or whose faith needs strengthening. Zakat can be given to them to help them integrate into the Muslim community and strengthen their belief.

Those in Bondage

This refers to individuals who are enslaved or in bondage. Zakat can be used to buy their freedom and help them start a new life.

The Debtors

People who are overwhelmed by debt and unable to pay it off are eligible for Zakat. This helps them get back on their feet and avoid the negative consequences of debt.

In the Cause of Allah 

This category includes various forms of efforts and activities that are carried out for the sake of Allah. It can include funding for religious education, building mosques, supporting students, or any other activity that promotes the welfare of the Muslim community.

The Wayfare

These are travelers who are stranded or in need of financial assistance to return home. They may have started their journey with sufficient funds but encountered unforeseen circumstances that left them without resources.

Practical Examples of Zakat Recipients

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Let’s look at some practical examples of individuals in the Bangladesh who might fall into these categories:

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The Poor

Sarah is a single mother with three children. She works a part-time job but still struggles to pay for rent, groceries, and utilities. Her income is not enough to cover all her basic needs, making her eligible for Zakat.

The Needy

John has a job that pays just above the minimum wage. He manages to cover his rent and basic bills but often has to choose between buying food and paying for medicine. Although he has some income, it’s not enough to meet all his essential needs.

Those Employed to Collect Zakat 

Ali is employed by his local mosque to manage the collection and distribution of Zakat. His work ensures that Zakat funds are properly handled and distributed to those in need. Ali receives a stipend from the Zakat funds for his service.

Those Whose Hearts Are to Be Reconciled 

Emily recently converted to Islam. She is learning about her new faith and trying to integrate into the Muslim community. Zakat can be used to provide her with educational materials, community support, and other resources to help strengthen her faith.

Those in Bondage 

Although slavery is not present in the Bangladesh in the traditional sense, this category can be extended to include those who are in situations of extreme exploitation or human trafficking. Zakat funds can be used to support organizations that work to free and rehabilitate such individuals.

The Debtors 

David lost his job due to a company downsizing and accumulated significant credit card debt while looking for new employment. He is now employed but struggles to pay off his debt along with his other expenses. Zakat can help David pay off his debt and relieve some of his financial burden.

In the Cause of Allah 

A local Islamic center is raising funds to build a new community center that will provide religious education, counseling services, and social activities for the community. Zakat can be donated to support this cause.

  • The Wayfarer (Ibn As-Sabil): Maria was traveling across the country to visit family when her car broke down, leaving her stranded in a small town. She spent all her money on repairs and has no funds left to continue her journey. Zakat can help Maria get back on her feet and reach her destination.
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How to Determine Eligibility

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Determining who is eligible for Zakat requires careful consideration. Here are some steps to help identify those who qualify:

  • Assess the Need: Evaluate the individual’s financial situation. Do they have enough to meet their basic needs? Are they struggling with debt or other financial burdens?
  • Verify Information: Ensure that the information provided by the person seeking Zakat is accurate. This might involve checking documents or speaking with references.
  • Respect Privacy: While verifying information is important, it’s equally important to respect the individual’s privacy and dignity. Handle their information with care and sensitivity.
  • Consult Community Leaders: If in doubt, consult with local community leaders or scholars who have experience in distributing Zakat. They can provide guidance and help ensure that Zakat is distributed fairly.

The Impact of Zakat

Zakat has a profound impact on both the giver and the receiver. For the giver, it purifies their wealth, promotes generosity, and helps them grow spiritually. For the receiver, it provides much-needed financial support and can be a lifeline during difficult times.

Zakat in Modern Times

In modern times, the concept of Zakat remains relevant and vital. With the rise of economic inequality and global crises, the need for Zakat is greater than ever. Technology has also made it easier to collect and distribute Zakat, with many organizations offering online platforms for donations.

Conclusion

Zakat is a powerful tool for social and economic justice. It helps bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, provides relief to those in need, and promotes a sense of community and solidarity among Muslims.

By understanding who is eligible for Zakat and how it can be used, we can ensure that this important pillar of Islam continues to benefit those who need it most In Bangladesh, as in other parts of the world, there are many people who can benefit from Zakat.

By giving Zakat, we not only fulfill our religious obligations but also contribute to the well-being and upliftment of our community. Let’s continue

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