Islam is a comprehensive code of life. It educates and guides us about how to live our lives in a way that pleases Allah and earns us our place in heaven. Islam as a faith stands of five pillars.
- Five prayers a day
- Fasting in the month of Ramadan
- Give Zakat
- Perform the Holy Pilgrimage to Makkah
Zakat is the fourth pillar of Islam and applies to all Muslims obliged to pay it according to the pre-set eligibility criteria without exemption.
Eligibility to Give Zakat
A person obliged to give Zakat must have 3 ounces (87.48 grams) of gold or 21 ounces (612.36 grams) of silver set aside for one year. If a person has money, land, or herd of animal that has the worth equivalent to the price of gold or silver mentioned is also eligible for Zakat. Zakat is also calculated as 2.5% or 1/40th of the total saving of a Muslim. To calculate Zakat, please use our Zakat calculator.
Zakat is only applicable to people that have a certain amount of wealth surplus and set aside from their needs. This wealth or amount is called Nisab. A person is called “Sahib-e-Nisab” if he has that pre-defined amount of wealth on which Zakat is applicable.
Zakat is paid every year generally, in the month of Ramadan to enable poor Muslims to buy utilities to fast in Ramadan and celebrate Eid Al-Fitr afterwards. Zakat cannot be given to non-Muslims. It can only be given by the Muslims to the Muslims. It can be given to deserving people like orphans, widows, or other destitute Muslim brothers and sisters directly or to charities that can help such people in need.
Being one of the pillars of Islam specifies the importance of Zakat quite clearly. It is meant to purify our wealth and help the needy Muslims in the process. Giving Zakat signifies the acknowledgement that whatever wealth or abundance we have been blessed with is all by His grace.
Zakat in the Time of Prophets
Allah imposed Zakat on all his prophets with varying terms. The Prophet Ismail, the progeny of Ishaaq, Prophet Isa, among others, paid Zakat. In the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Zakat was imposed on a voluntary basis. The devout Muslims paid Zakat of their own accord to appease Allah. But after migration to Madinah, Zakat was made obligatory through verses. Since then, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to appoint and sent out agents to collect Zakat and then distribute it among the poor and destitute.
What are the Benefits of Zakat
There are many benefits of giving Zakat yearly. Here are some of those benefits:
- Zakat purifies wealth in the eyes of Allah
- It establishes a spiritual connection with Allah
- It allows us to earn Allah’s pleasure and His divine mercy
- A person who gives Zakat is blessed with more from Allah’s treasure
- It helps alleviate poverty in the Muslim community
- It tames any greed or overindulgence in hoarding wealth
- It promotes empathy and understanding of downtrodden Muslims
- It teaches us to spend money for good and religious reasons
- It promotes care and compassion among the Muslim brotherhood
- It enables the poor to get some relief from their monetary troubles
- It provides much-needed resources to a deserving community through charitable work
- When money exchanges hands, it helps the economy flourish
Zakat is a compulsory part of Islam. Without it, the faith is not complete. Every eligible Muslim man or woman whether young or old must give Zakat as per Allah’s divine rules.