What is Zakat?
Zakat is the idea of mandatory charity in Islam. Zakat is given of your own wealth,to needy and impoverished families. The word ‘Zakat’ has Arabic origin which means’ to purify’, Allah states in the Quran: “give from your own wealth so that you might cleanse and sanctify them”. Your wealth is a blessing from Allah and distributes some amount of it to the less fortunate. In this way, a Muslim cleanses the remaining of his wealth from cupidity and parsimony.
In the era of economic and social variations, it is integral for Muslims to sustain the culture of Zakat. It is obligatory for each Muslim to attain this commitment to those who are stricken with poverty. For many years, it has been used to fulfill the needs of destitute and most poor communities.
People who have resources to enhance their living conditions and maintain their basic requirements are not eligible to take Zakat money. This money can be used to grant medical aid and shelter for people living in a war zone.
There are some categories of people who are eligible to take Zakat money
Allah SWT states in Quran
“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler– an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise” (Quran 9:60)
Fuqara are extremely poor and needy people, who do not have the means to fulfill the basic amenities of life. These people are eligible to take Zakat to meet the basic need of their lives.
Masakeen are the people who do not have any belongings or income, who lives their life below the poverty line. Your Zakat can only help them to enhance their living conditions.
There are many Zakat collector organizations such as NGOs who are working to help poor Muslim communities. You can give Zakat to those organizations that are allowed to gather Zakat money and distribute it between the poor and the less fortunate.
4. Converted to Islam
Those who are recently converted to Islam (if needy) also eligible to take Zakat money. If someone in your community has converted to Islam and is separated from the family then your Zakat money can help him or her to start a new life.
Even though slavery is forbidden around the globe. But still, people are kept as slaves. Zakat can be given to those people to free themselves from slavery and improve their living conditions.
Zakat money can be used to pay off the debt of someone who does not have enough money to repay. But money taken to repay the debt should not be used for the wrong purpose.
Travelers are eligible to receive Zakat money, since they leave their land because of brutality, violence, and despotism, looking for a safe and secure place.
At What age Zakat is mandatory ?
When the child hits the age of puberty, if they own the wealth equal to or more than the nisab value, then they are liable to pay Zakat.
How much money is paid in Zakat?
You are obliged to give Zakat if the complete amount of your assets more than 7.5 tolla/3 ounces/87.48 g of gold, or 52.5 tota/21 ounces/612.36 g of silver for a complete Islamic year. For Zakat, Muslims are required to pay 2.5% of their disposable income after paying the expenses of their family which means people who are poor and needy are not obliged to give Zakat.
First, you must have a certain amount of wealth to pay zakat, which is known as Nisab. The standards for calculating Nisab, there are 2 parameters which include gold and silver. Zakat is 2.5 % of your yearly disposable income.
While calculating Zakat, Take your current savings, any business inventory and value of any investments, the value of gold and silver jewelry, and marketable securities, add them together. Suppose the total amount is 25,000US dollars.
Then calculate your monthly expenses namely house rent, other expenditure, insurance payments, etc, add them together. Suppose the total amount is 13,000.Then minus your monthly expenses from assets, For example, 25,000 – 13,000 = 12,000 US Dollar. Now multiply 2.5% with the remaining amount such as 2.5% x 12,000 = 300 US Dollars which is due for Zakat.
The following assets you must include while calculating zakat :
- Cash, at home or in bank
- Any Foreign currency you have
- Savings kept for Hajj, marriage, purchasing a car
- Value of gold and silver that you have
- Rental income
- Any property that is purchased as an investment, then its market value must be included