|What is Zakat|
Zakat (Alms / A tax for social purposes)
What is Zakat?
Zakah (Welfare Contribution), the third pillar of Islam, is not only a payment but it is a duty for all those Muslims able and obliged (by financial situation) to pay. It must be paid on all wealth able to give a financial return.
Who receives it?
Those individuals, by definition, who are eligible to receive it or to any local community project that will specifically benefit those in need.
When must it be paid?
There is no specific time or period in the year, instead it is paid when any unit of wealth (of the necessary size) has remained with the individual for a total of twelve consecutive lunar months.
Who pays Zakat?
All those Muslims who have maintained/conserved over that year a predetermined minimum amount of wealth.
What is this amount?
Anything of capital or goods used in trade or investment that exceeds the value of 85 grammes of pure gold. It is not paid on one's own home, furniture, transport or "tools of one's trade" nor is it paid on personal jewellery.
How do I calculate the amount that must be given?
By calculating 2.5% of each unit of wealth. (e.g. a conserved unit of wealth of £10,000 would yield £250 as Zakah). Please bear in mind that there may well be several Zakah payments due in one year because separate units of wealth were acquired at varying times. Calculations for farm crops and livestock are somewhat different.
Who should receive the Zakat?
Those Muslims (in our own community first – that is in the UK ) who are really in need through being:
In today’s terms we could be referring to those on state benefits, single parent families with children who are in need of clothing, shoes and items necessary to help them get a better education etc, those out of work due to illness or those who are unable to rise out of a state of poverty or dependence on the State to better themselves and improve their situation.
3. Those who have embraced Islam recently and to assist them in their transition and address any harm that might befall them in the process and in the way of Allah
In today’s terms those would be converts to Islam who, on announcing their conversion to Islam are shunned and confronted by family and friends for doing so, who are asked to leave their homes and find alternative accommodation for doing so, who need guidance and support in their new found faith, who suffer racist abuse or are challenged aggressively regarding their choice of faith or about Islam generally.
4. Those who have fallen into debt due to necessity; to help them from it.
This could be debt due to disaster, flooding, fire, vandalism and such like or those caught in the spiralling debt because of being abused by greedy landlords or exploited in some way thus falling into debt.
5. Those who in travelling and find themselves stranded and in need.
These are the migrant workers, the asylum seekers, displaces peoples and refugees of today – those who are eager to work but are not allowed to, who are tied by plutocracy
6. To free slaves or prisoners of war by ransom
In to-day’s terms we could consider those who have been in Prison for one reason or another and who would require support and help to establish themselves on release, find a comfortable secure place to live and general needs to sustain them thus helping them to integrate back into society with the support and protection they require.
7. Those collecting the Zakat; to covering the expenses of doing so.
The people whose painstaking efforts in doing good for the community by collecting, recording, guarding, dividing and distributing the Zakat is rewarded.
8. Those involved in the defence and spread of Islam.
Those who work by speaking, writing, spreading awareness of Islam and who are busy defending it and spending on its promotion.
Is anything else necessary when paying Zakat?
Yes. To understand that Zakat is an act of 'ibadah - worship, and as such is a major form of worship and obedience.
What is the purpose of Zakat?
That Muslims support all those in need and are ready to give help where and when it is really needed and to recognise this as a vital part of sincere faith and correct practice.
What is Zakat ul Fitr?
This is the payment made by all Muslims irrespective of wealth. Paid as an integral part of the Ramadan fast towards the end of Ramadan and given (almost without exception) prior to Eid al Fitr Prayers.
It is calculated on the number of individuals in the household, irrespective of age. Zakat ul Fitr is currently calculated for the UK at roughly £2.50 per person.