is one of the five pillars of Islam. It has been mentioned,
along with daily Prayers
(Salaat / Namaz), over seventy times in the Quran.
Allah's word commanding ".....and establish regular
Salaat and give regular Zakat....." are referred to
in many parts of the Quran. From this we can conclude
that after Salaat, Zakat is the most important act in
|Just as Salaat is the most
important act of worship which has to be performed bodily,
so is Zakat the main act of worship which has to be performed
monetarily. Those who fulfill this duty have been promised
abundant reward in this world and hereafter. Whoever evades
Zakat has been sternly warned in the Qur'an and Hadith
of the consequences.
|Linguistically, Zakat has
two meanings: purification and growth. Technically, it
means to purify one's possession of wealth by distributing
a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves
or captives, and the wayfarer.
|There are many major benefits
of giving Zakat:
- It reminds Muslims of the fact that whatever wealth
they may possess is due to the blessings of Allah
and as such it is to be spent according to the His
- Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those
who have enough money today pay for what they have.
If they need money tomorrow they will get what is
necessary to help them live decently.
- Zakat payer pays his dues to Allah as an act of
worship, a token of submission and an acknowledgment
of gratitude. The receiver of Zakat receives it as
a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favor for
which he is thankful to Allah.
- Economically, Zakat is the best check against hoarding.
Those who do not invest their wealth but prefer to
save or hoard it would see their wealth dwindling
year after year at the rate of the payable Zakat.
This helps increase production and stimulates supply
because it is a redistribution of income that enhances
the demand by putting more real purchasing power in
the hands of poor.
|Zakat is obligatory upon a person if :
- He or she is an adult, sane, free and Muslim.
- He/she must possess wealth in excess of specified
minimum (Nisaab) excluding his or her personal needs
(clothing, household furniture, utensils, cars etc.
are termed article of personal needs).
- It should be possessed for a complete lunar year.
- It should be of productive nature from which one
can derive profit or benefit such as merchandise for
business, gold, silver, livestock etc.
|The amount of wealth which makes one liable for Zakat
is called Nisaab. The Nisaab as fixed by Prophet
Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is as follows:
|Nisaab of cash, stock or bonds,
other cash assets is the equivalent amount of Gold or
Silver. Nisaab is calculated by adding up the cash value
of all the assets such as gold, silver, currency etc.
and if it is equal to or in excess of the minimum Nisaab
as specified in the above table, the Zakat is due at the
rate of 2.5%.
|The payment of Zakat is compulsory
on the excess wealth or effects which is equal to or exceeds
the value of Nisaab, and which is possessed for a full
Islamic year. If such wealth decreases during the course
of the year and increases again to the value of Nisaab
before the end of the year, the Zakat then must be calculated
on the full amount that is possessed at the end of the
|TYPES OF WEALTH ON WHICH
ZAKAT IS IMPOSED:
- Gold and silver, in any form.
- Cash, bank notes, stocks, bonds etc.
- Merchandise for business, equal to the value of
- Live stock.
- On income derived from rental business.
|CALCULATION OF ZAKAT:
- To calculate Zakat on jewelry etc. one must first
determine the gold or silver content and then calculate
the Zakat according to current market price.
- If the Gold possessed is less than 87.48 grams or
if silver possessed is less then 612.36 grams, but
the value of both combined is equal to or exceeds
the Nisaab of either Gold or Silver, the Zakat will
- In the event of an article not being of pure gold
or pure silver, but containing a mixture of other
metals and the gold or silver content is more than
the other metal, it will be regarded as gold or silver
and Zakat will be due. But in the case where other
metal/s is of greater quantity than either gold or
silver, Zakat will not be due on this article.
- For stocks (shares held in a company), Zakat is
calculated based upon the current market value. As
machinery, land, fixtures and fittings, furniture,
buildings etc. are exempt from Zakat, one is allowed
to subtract these from the total asset. This could
be obtained from annual reports. For example, if one
has shares worth $1000 and machinery, land etc., are
worth 5% of the total asset, then deduct $50 for these
assets, afterwards deduct the liabilities of the company
proportionately to the percentage of shares held.
Zakat must be calculated on the balance.
|DISTRIBUTION OF ZAKAT:
- Zakat should be given as soon as possible after
it becomes due.
- All of the Zakat can be given to one person or to
- A poor man cannot be paid for his work from Zakat
nor can Zakat be given in payment of services, except
to the people appointed by the Islamic government
to collect Zakat.
- Zakat will only be valid if the recipient is made
the owner of that amount. If, for example, a few needy
persons are fed a meal from Zakat money, then Zakat
will not be fulfilled as they were not made owners
of the food.
- Zakat cannot be given for the construction of Masjid,
Madrasah, Hospital, a well, a bridge or any other
- Zakat can be paid in kind from the same merchandise
on which it is due, or alternatively, it could be
paid in cash.
|TYPES OF WEALTH ON WHICH ZAKAT IS NOT IMPOSED:
- On any metals other than gold or silver.
- Fixtures and fittings of a shop, car, trucks or
any delivery vehicle etc., which is used in running
- Diamonds, pearls, other precious or semi precious
stones which are for personal use.
- There is no Zakat on personal residence, household
furniture, pots and pan, personal clothing, whether
they are in use or not.
- There is no Zakat on a person whose liabilities
exceed or equal his assets. (Home Mortgage in this
country is not to be counted as personal liability
for the Zakat purpose).
|RECIPIENTS OF ZAKAT:
|The recipients of Zakat, according
to Quran are as follows:
|"Alms are for the poor
and the needy, and those employed to administer (the funds);
for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled
(to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; and for
the wayfarer: (Thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah
is full of Knowledge and Wisdom." (Quran 9:60)
- FUQARA: people who are poor and who possess
more than their basic needs but do not possess wealth
equal to Nisaab.
- MASAKEEN: people who are destitute and extremely
needy to the extent they are forced to beg for their
daily food rations.
- AL-AMILEEN: people appointed by an Islamic
Government to collect Zakat.
- MU-ALLAFATUL-QULUB: persons who have recently
accepted Islam and are in need of basic necessities
who would benefit from encouragement by Muslims which
would help strengthen their faith.
- AR-RIQAAB: slaves who are permitted to work
for remuneration and have an agreement from their
masters to purchase their freedom on payment of fixed
- AL-GHAARIMEEN: persons who have a debt and
do not possess any other wealth or goods with which
they could repay that which they owe. It is conditional
that this debt was not created for any un-Islamic
- FI-SABILILLAH: persons who have to carry
out an obligatory deed which has become obligatory
on them and subsequently (due to loss of wealth) are
unable to complete that obligation.
- IBN-US-SABEEL: persons who are travelers
and during the course of their journey do not possess
basic necessities, though they are well to do at home.
They could be given Zakat in order to fulfill travel
needs to return home.
|PERSONS WHO CANNOT BE GIVEN ZAKAT:
- Zakat cannot be given to the descendants of Muhammad
- Zakat cannot be given to parents and grandparents.
In the same manner one's children and grandchildren
cannot be given Zakat. A husband and wife cannot give
Zakat to each other.
- Zakat contributions cannot be given to such institutions
or organizations who do not give the rightful recipients
possession of Zakat, but instead use Zakat funds for
constructions, investment or salaries.
|VIRTUES OF ZAKAT:
|Allah says in the Quran:
|"The parable of those who
spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain
of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred
grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases."
|It is stated in the Hadith
that by giving Zakat the following benefits are derived:
- Gain the pleasure of Allah.
- Increase in wealth and protection from losses.
- Allah's forgiveness and blessings.
- Protection from the wrath of Allah and from a bad
- A shelter on the Day of Judgment;
- Security from seventy misfortunes.
|THE PUNISHMENT FOR NOT GIVING ZAKAT:
|Allah says in the Quran:
|"And there are those who
hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of
Allah, announce to them a most grievous penalty (when)
on the Day of Judgment heat will be produced out of that
wealth in the fire of Hell. Then with it they will be
branded on their forehead and their flanks and backs.
(It will be said to them) This is the treasure which you
hoarded for yourselves, taste then the treasure that you
have been hoarding." (Al-Quran 9:34-35)