Zakat is the third and most important pillar of Islam, and it is obligatory charity to every Muslim who is savings or financially stable to donate a particular portion of wealth to the poor and needy. Allah says Zakat is the sign of true belief, and Muslims believe purifying yearly income as an individual is a form of leading life in the way Allah shows. Not all have to donate yearly, but only those who are saving or financially stable. Allah says in the Quran:
“And establish prayer and give Zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah.” (2:110, Qur’an)
What is Zakat? Meaning and Definitions of Zakat.
According to Islam, the literal meaning of the zakat word is “concerned, “and it is derived from the Arabic word zakah, Which means to “purify” & “Blessing. “Islamic shariah zakah is an obligatory charity which is surplus wealth that has reached the Nisab level or above and stays with him for one complete lunar year. He should give Zakat that surplus wealth which is mostly 2.5 percent. And Allah says in the Quran:
“Of their goods, take zakat, so that you might purify and sanctify them.” (9:103, Qur’an)
Importance of Zakat or Zakah
Zakat words are mentioned in the Quran 32 times and 28 times mentioned right next to the salah. So that means when Allah commands us to the prayers, it also commands us with Zakat.
The importance of Zakat is to purify your wealth and wipe away your sins. Zakat brings you closer to Allah and increases your faith in Allah.
Zakat helps build society and circulation of money in the whole economy. Allah says in the Quran:
“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah” (Qur’an 2:110)
Zakah is the right of the poor. Zakah is not considered a favor given to the poor by the rich. It is the right of the poor on the wealth of the rich. Allah says: “..(In their) wealth there is a known share for the beggars and the destitute” (Quran 70:24-25)
Conditions that make Zakat an obligation.
Zakat is compulsory in every Muslim, Whatever he is an adult or minor, as long he’s a free citizen, and he has surplus wealth which has reached the nisab level or above it, and he has that wealth or surplus amount for a complete lunar year. Then Zakat becomes compulsory for that particular Muslim, and it is mostly 2.5% of that wealth.
Basically, there are a few conditions required:
- The person should be Muslim
- Should be a free citizen
- Should be sahib-e-nisab ( Sole owner of that surplus wealth)
- It should be paid from lawful hearings ( Halal Earnings )
Categories of People who are eligible to take Zakat
There are eight categories that can receive Zakah. It is mentioned in surah Tauba.
“The prescribed alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those employed to administer the funds, those whose hearts are reconciled to the faith, for freeing enslaved people and helping those in debt, for God’s cause, and for travelers in need. This is an obligation from Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” Quran 9:60
- Fuqara’: The poor
- Al-Masakin: Needy
- Amil Zakat: Those who are involved in the collection of Zakat
- Mu’allaf: Those whose hearts inclined towards Islam
- Ar-Riqaab: Free a Captive or in bondage
- Al Ghaarimeen: Those are the debtors
- Fi Sabeelillah: Zakat can be used by Allah
- Ibnus-Sabeel: That is the wayfarer
Common Misconceptions of Zakat in Islam
There are many misconceptions about Zakat, and I will like to mention a few of them down below:
Zakat needs to be paid during Ramadan only.
Many Muslims believe that Zakah should be paid only in Ramadan, but it is not true that you should pay anytime in the years when you become sahib-e-nasib. So it is not compulsory to pay during Ramadan.
Many people pay Zakat during Ramadan because of the higher reward.
Paying Zakat purifies Haram’s wealth.
Paying Zakat can’t purify your wealth that has been earned from haram ways.
If you pay Zakat from haram wealth, you will not receive any rewards from Allah.
Zakat only needs to be paid on gold.
Zakat can not be paid only on gold. It needs to be paid on many types of surplus wealth:
- Gold, silver, and other jewelry
- The money you lend to others
- Shares and stocks
- Pension amount
- Cash saved in the bank, home, or given to the committee
- Property which you buy for investment purposes.
Zakat Cannot give to poor relatives.
You can give Zakat to a poor relative; Even you can give Zakat to your Parents, Siblings, spouse, or children.
And you can give to your extended family; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“Charity given to the poor is charity, and charity given to a relative is a charity and upholding of family ties” [Ahmad, al-Nasaa’i].
Zakat is the same as Zakat-al-Fitr (Fitrana).
Zakat and Fitrana are not the same, and they are different entities. Paying Fitrana does not mean that you paid Zakat too.
“Yet you shall duly establish the Prayer. And you shall give the Zakât-Charity, and in addition to that lend God a most goodly loan. For whatever good you advance for your souls, you shall find its reward with God in the Hereafter; yet it shall be far better and much greater in reward.”
(Sûrat Al-Muzzammil, 73:20).
As I mentioned above, Zakah is compulsory for every eligible Muslim. Apart from being obligatory, Zakat carries many importances like it will free you from Excessive desires and greed and teach you self-discipline and honesty. And the most important benefit is that it will get you closer to Allah. So, Brother and sister, if you want to be closed to Allah, you should pay Zakat and pray Salah.
What is Islam?
Who is ALLAH?