ZAKAT PURIFIES WEALTH
Give 2.5 % of net worth annually
“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)
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is meant to be paid in order to purify the wealth. Therefore, those who have enough wealth have to give 2.5% of one’s 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 act but an obligation.
You should pay Zakat on any surplus wealth under your possession. This includes:
- Gold, silver and other jewelry / ornaments
- Shares and stocks
- Pension amount
- Cash saved in bank, home or given for committee
- Property which you buy for investment purpose
- Money you lend to others
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 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.
Zakat is applicable on 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.
International Aid Charity uses Zakat funds to help poor communities both in the USA and in isolated and remote corners of the world. We assist them during emergencies and natural disasters by providing water, food and shelter. We also use Zakat funds for development projects such as providing communities with a source of income and providing them the skills and tools needed to get back on their feet.
Difference between Zakat al Maal & Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al Fitr (or Sadaqat al Fitr) is paid on the occasion of Eid al Fitr & Eid al Adha and is required of every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult, if the total value of his/her Zakatable assets (cash, gold, silver, merchandise) plus non-essential items (i.e. assets above his basic needs) minus liabilities (debts) equals or exceeds Nisab. A father must also pay on behalf of his pre-pubescent children if they do not have their own wealth equal to the Nisab. If they have their own wealth equal to the Nisab, they can pay their Zakat al Fitr from their own wealth. The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other family members.
The first difference between Zakat and Zakat al Fitr is eligibility. All Muslims must pay Zakat al Fitr regardless of their age or financial status (unless they honestly do not have the means to do so. The second difference lies in the amount due. The amount attributed to Zakat al Fitr is very small, and rarely exceeds $15. Zakat, however, can amount to a larger number because its 2.5% of all net savings.
The third and final difference lies in their due dates. Zakat can be paid at any time, with the only condition being that the earnings reflect one year’s worth of net savings (one lunar year). Zakat al Fitr , however, goes hand in hand with Ramadan. Zakat al Fitr is paid during Ramadan before the month ends. It must be paid before the Eid prayers at the very latest.