The word “Zakat” means “purification”. Zakat is fourth pillar of Islam and it serves for purification of wealth. As Muslim we all believe that Allah SWT owns everything in the universe and our wealth is also belongs to Allah and we should use it according to his commands. Those Muslim who are blessed with wealth above certain ration Allah SWT has set a portion and share of less fortunate and deserving people. If a wealthy person keeps the share of deserving people it will be haram for him. So it is obligatory to every wealthy Muslim to purify his/her wealth from getting impure with haram wealth.
The other meaning of Zakat is “Growth” which implies that those Muslims who pay Zakat with responsibility get special blessings of Allah and observe better growth in their wealth.
Who is obligated to give Zakat?
Every Muslim (Man/woman) who is free, sane, reached the age of puberty and has net worth exceeding than nisab is bound to pay Zakat which 1/40th (2.5%) of net worth. The Nisab is zakatable amount which is 87.479 grams of gold and 607.350 grams of silver or amount equal to one of their price. A Muslim must possess wealth in excess of the niṣab level for 1 lunar year (354 days) is liable for Zakat. This year begins on the date the wealth is obtained; so long as the assets are in its owner’s possession at the beginning and end of the lunar year the zakat is applicable. In modern societies niṣāb is considered equivalent to poverty threshold.
What are Benefits of Zakat?
There are many reasons pertaining to the importance of Zakat. Zakat helps in building the society by helping less fortune of society. It also balance the distribution of money in the society. It gives non-wealthy people a chance to enjoy a standard life style. Zakat also accounts for circulation of money in the society and money is runs in society and goes to needy people from wealthy members of society.
Zakat develops the sense of sacrifice and habit of charity. Allah loves those who give the sacrifice most important things and perhaps wealth is one of most important element of a person. It also removes the love of material and greed from heart.
Who can be Given Zakat?
In Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“The alms are only for the Fuqara (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (9:60)
From the above verse of Quran the following people are eligible of getting Zakat:
- The Poor – These are the deserving people who don’t have means to live their standard life.
- The Needy – These are poor people but, their dignity, self respect and bashfulness don’t allow them expose their poverty.
- The Collectors –The people who are involved in collecting Zakat can also take money from it for their needs.
- The New Converts – People who convert to Islam are also eligible to accept Zakat for assistance in starting new life.
- To Free Slaves – The Zakat money can be spent on freeing the people who are slave.
- To Help Someone Pay Debt – The money of Zakat can be spent to pay off debt of those people who are under dept and they are not in good economic condition.
- In Cause Of Allah – Zakat can also be spent on people who strive in the way of Allah.
- For Travelers – Zakat can also be given to the travelers as they are far from their homes and they might need the money during travelling.
Some misconceptions about Zakat
Here are some common misconceptions about Zakat which are cleared in following lines.
1. Is Zakat to be paid in Ramadan Only?
No, Zakat is not only to be paid in Ramadan rather it is to be paid within a year when a Muslim becomes liable to pay Zakat.
2. Do Zakat Purifies Haram Wealth?
No, Zakat is only and only liable on the Halal earned wealth.
3. Is Zakat On Gold Only?
No, this is not right. Gold and silver is mentioned in Quran and Hadith only to define the unit of measurement. Zakat is on every asset anything whether its cash, silver, stocks, livestock, property or another asset that is worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam.
4. Husband has to pay Zakat for his Wife?
This is also a misconception that Husband has to pay the Zakat of Women. In Islam the women has to pay it on his belongings such as jewelry or any other asset.
5. Zakat is not for Relatives?
Zakat can be paid to poor relatives except blood relations such are siblings, spouse, parents.