Zakat in Islam

Zakat in Islam: A Pillar of Purification and Social Responsibility

Zakat in Islam is a mandatory act. Zakat is one of the third of the five pillars of Islam.  

This is the way to purify wealth and enrich social responsibility within the Muslim community. This important practice in Islam strengthens the connection between the rich and the poor, which makes society fairer and juster.

In this blog, we will talk about different aspects of zakat and help Muslims who are new to calculating and distributing. Also, people who want to learn more about this significant part of the Islamic faith.

What’s Zakat? The True Meaning Of It

Zakat is an integral aspect of the Islamic faith, representing a form of almsgiving practised by the Muslim community known as the Ummah. The term “zakat” originates from the Arabic root “z-k-w” (ز ك و), meaning to purify. Thus, zakat serves to purify one’s income and wealth from any impurities or worldly acquisitions. 

The amount of zakat to be paid is typically 2.5% of a Muslim’s savings and wealth above a minimum threshold known as nisab. It is considered a form of worship (Ibada’h) and is obligatory for every Muslim who owns assets above the Nisab threshold. The Nisab threshold equals 613.35 grams of silver or 87.49 grams of gold.

However, there are variations in interpretation among Islamic scholars regarding the calculation of zakat and the determination of nisab. Zakat redistributes wealth and aids those in need within the Muslim community.

The true meaning of zakat is that it is an act of kindness and faith that shows care for the well-being of other Muslims. It promotes fairness and unity in Muslim society and ensures everyone shares wealth. Giving to others through zakat is a way to give back to society and perform a religious duty to help those less fortunate. This makes the Ummah stronger spiritually and socially.

There are two types of zakat:

  • Zakat al-Mal (on wealth) and 
  • Zakat al-Fitr (before Eid).

Zakat al-Mal Vs Zakat al-Fitr: Comprehensive Table

AspectZakat al-MalZakat al-Fitr
MeaningThis means “whatever is acquired for its benefit and has a monetary value.”This means “breaking the fast” and is offered on the morning of Eid day.
EligibilityIt is mandatory for every Muslim who meets the Nisab threshold. It ismandatory for every Muslim capable of doing so, regardless of wealth.
Timingcan be paid any time throughout the year, often during Ramadan.Must be paid before Eid al-Fitr prayer at the end of Ramadan
Amount2.5% of one’s total wealth (excluding certain exemptions)Fixed amount based on staple food (e.g., rice, dates) for each individual
RecipientsSpecific categories outlined in Islamic scripture (poor, needy, etc.)Primarily for the poor and needy within the community
PurposePurification of wealth and fulfilling a religious obligationPurification of the soul and expressing gratitude for completing Ramadan

Understanding Zakat vs. Nisab: Key Differences

Understanding the difference between zakat and nisab is essential for Muslims to fulfil their religious obligations and ensure proper wealth distribution within the community.

DefinitionMandatory charitable contribution in Islam.Minimum threshold of wealth to owe zakat.
ObligationEligible Muslims must pay.Only applicable once wealth surpasses nisab.
AmountCalculated as 2.5% of total wealth.There is no fixed amount; it depends on individual wealth.
TimingThere is no set payment date; it is paid at any time.It becomes due once nisab has been reached for a year.
Measurementis Calculated annually based on assets.A fixed quantity of gold or silver.
FrequencyPaid annually or whenever applicable.Assessed regularly to determine zakat obligation.
PurposeRedistribute wealth to the needy in society.Determines eligibility to pay zakat.
PracticalityRequires calculation and regular payment.Establishes a threshold for zakat obligation.
SignificanceIntegral aspect of Islamic faith and practice.Establishes financial eligibility for Zakat.

What Does Zakat Mean In Islam?

Zakat is a term used in Islamic finance. Giving some of your money to charity is an important part of the Muslim faith; everyone is expected to do it. Before Muslims can get zakat, they have to meet certain requirements. In this case, it’s 2.5%, or 1/40 of a person’s savings and wealth. During the lunar year, you can pay zakat at any time. In some Islamic countries, people are expected to pay zakat, but not in others.

How Do You Figure Out The Zakat?

Muslims should list everything they own and how much money they have. People must pay zakat when they hit nisab, which is 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver or its value. It costs 2.5%, or 1/40 of their savings and income, to pay for everything. There are many Zakat tools online that Muslims can use to figure out what they need to do.

How Do You Follow The Rules Of Zakat?

Every lunar year, people must reach a certain level, called nisab, to be eligible for zakat. This is worth 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver. People with more than these amounts must give zakat equal to 2.5% of their wealth. People who don’t make this much money don’t have to pay.

Can You Pay Zakat Online?

Yes, you can pay Zakat online. Platforms like Zakat Foundation of America offer calculators for easy payment. Calculate 2.5% of your savings exceeding the nisab value annually. Pay to support the needy as mandated in Islam. Ramadan is a common time but optional. Zakat al-Fitr is a separate payment before Eid ul Fitr for those with excess food. Follow Islamic guidelines for eligibility and ensure your contribution reaches those in need.

Who Is Eligible For Zakat?

نَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“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 the debt-ridden, and for the cause of Allah, and to the wayfarer. [This is] an obligation from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Surah Al-Tawbah, 60]

  • Those in debt
  • In the path of Allah
  • The stranded travellers
  • The poor
  • The needy
  • Collectors of zakat
  • Softening the hearts
  • enslaved people

Final words about zakat in Islam

Zakat is important to the Islamic faith because it helps with community building, spiritual growth, and fair care for others.  Muslims improve their faith and make the world a fairer and more caring place by honestly fulfilling this duty and following the rules set up. Zakat in Islam is more than you think. 

What Are The Four Principles Of Zakat?

People who meet and go beyond the nisab are the only ones who can pay Zakat. Before you have to pay Zakat, you have to keep your money for a whole Islamic year. Giving Zakat must be done with the purpose of giving Zakat; giving money in any way does not count. If you earn more than the nisab, you must give it once a year. 

What Does The Quran Say About Zakat?

“And make sure you pray and give Zakat. Whatever good you seek for yourself, Allah will give it to you.” (2:110 in the Qur’an) Zakat is a form of required charity that is an important part of Islam. It has the power to help millions of people who are hurting.

Can I Give Zakat To My Sister?

Yes. Giving Zakat to poor family members earns more honour. The only thing that isn’t allowed is giving it to family members who gave birth to you or to family members who gave birth to you. You can help your poor brothers, sisters, and others by giving Zakat.

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