What is Zakât?
"Take from their wealth a portion for charity, in order to clean them thereby, and sanctify them."
Literal Meaning: Zakat means grow (in goodness) or 'increase',
'purifying' or 'making pure'. So the act of giving zakat means purifying
one's wealth to
gain Allah's blessing to make it grow in goodness.
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong
to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The
word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions
are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like
the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Zakah not only purifies the property of the contributor but also
purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the
heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and
uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the
ZAKAT: (Alms) The Zakat is a form of giving to those who are less
fortunate. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to give 2.5 % of wealth and
assets each year (in excess of what is required) to the poor. This is
done before the beginning of the month of Muharram, the first of new
year. Giving the Zakat is considered an act of worship because it is a
form of offering thanks to God for the means of material well-being one
Zakât: A certain fixed proportion of the wealth and of the each
and every kind of the property liable to Zakât of a Muslim to be
paid yearly for the benefit of the poor in the Muslim community. The payment
of Zakât is obligatory as it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Zakât is the major economic means for establishing social justice
and leading the Muslim society to prosperity and security. [See Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book of Zakât (24)].
Paying zakat is Fard (compulsory). The Qur'an says that only those who
pay zakat are in the "brotherhood of faith". The Holy Qur'an
also says that Zakat purifies assets and creates virtue ( SU:9 103 ).
Zakat is a 2.5% levy on most valuables and savings held for a full year
if their total value is more than a basic minimum known as
nisab. At present nisab is $1,050 or an equivalent amount of any other
Cash money in your bank and building society accounts, and the release
value of bonds, securities and shares in any form are
zakatable if they are purchased as an investment. There is no Zakat on
family home or household furniture, carpets, car, etc.
Zakat is distributed among 8 asnaf (categories) of people, namely:
- Fakir - One who has neither material possessions nor means of livelihood.
- Miskin - One with insufficient means of livelihood to meet basic needs.
- Amil - One who is appointed to collect zakat.
- Muallaf - One who converts to Islam.
- Riqab - One who wants to free himself from bondage
or the shackles of slavery.
- Gharmin - One who is in debt (money borrowed to meet basic, halal expenditure).
- Fisabillillah - One who fights for the cause of Allah.
- Ibnus Sabil - One who is stranded in journey.
The Holy Qur'an (Sura Al-Tauba: 60) classifies the due recipients
of zakat under the following eight categories.
"Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those
who are employed to administer and collect it,
and the new converts, and for those who are in
bondage, and in debt and service of the cause
of Allah, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained
by Allah, and Allah is the All-Knowing, the
... give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth ...
--Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) /Common Misconceptions
The following list comprises both FAQs and Common
Misconceptions about Zakat and Sadaqah. Questions received from visitors
are often summarized and added to this list.
Zakat-al-Mal is the obligatory charity paid by an individual to the needy. It is obligatory
on an individual who possesses wealth equal to or above a minimum amount
called Nisab for an entire lunar year. For the purpose of calculating Zakat,
different categories of wealth are defined. Nisab for the category of "Personal
wealth" is three ounces of gold (or its equivalent amount in money).
However, this amount is defined for each type of wealth separately. See
meaning of the word "Zakat" is cleansing and growth. In keeping
with these qualities, Allah has prescribed Zakat as an obligatory charity,
as a duty to Allah, upon every wealthy individual. Wealthy individual is
defined as one who is in possession of a minimum amount of wealth called
Nisab for an entire year. This charity is prescribed in order to cleanse
the individual's wealth, heart, and by extension the society in general,
of the baser characteristics of miserliness, selfishness, greed, and materialism
and replace them with higher qualities of generosity, love and care, and
Various scholars have defined it more or less in this manner. They have
also developed further definition of the amount that constitutes Nisab,
categories of wealth, the rate of Zakat that applies to each category of
wealth, and the rules of eligibility for receiving assistance from Zakat.
is one of the pillars of Islamic life. It is a duty to Allah that obligates
every wealthy individual to share with the needy a portion from his/her
wealth. It is a very important institution for the individuals as well as
the society in general. This institution aims at not only alleviating the
financial hardships of the less privileged in the society through sharing
a small part of one's wealth, but also building a society on higher moral
and spiritual values. It checks the baser instincts of greed, miserliness,
and selfishness, which lead to materialism. It promotes mutual caring, love,
and generosity leading to gratitude to Allah. For those who receive assistance
from Zakat, it reduces their economic burden and they are enabled to pay
attention to the family, social, and spiritual aspects of their lives.
Though Zakat is an act of sharing, it is discharged, as a duty to Allah,
and in that respect is distinct from an act of normal charity.
If there is an Islamic government, Zakat will be collected by the Government
and distributed to the needy. In the absence of such an arrangement, this
function can be discharged through any voluntary collective effort, for
example, through any private organization. Ultimately every individual is
personally responsible for discharging this obligation and must take care
of this every year.
There are, in general, the following categories based upon
commonality of either the Nisab or the rate at which Zakat is calculated
for different types of wealth. They are:
- Personal wealth, which includes the following.
- Money beyond the normal level needed for everyday
- Gold and silver,
- Jewelry (only the gold and silver content),
- Business wealth (trade inventory, cash, income, profit)
- Money held in restricted funds such as retirement
funds when they are freed for use.
- Agricultural produce, which is further classified into the following.
- Produce from cultivated land
- Produce from non-cultivated land
- Items that are mined or extracted from the Earth
including any buried treasure that is discovered. If this is done as a
business, like in mining, and oil, it may be classified along the lines
of a business.
- Live stock, which is further sub-divided into following three categories.
- Sheep lamb, and goats
- Cows and buffaloes (domestic, not wild)
- All other animals
There is no Zakat on these animals that are raised as a
hobby. If these animals are raised for business, the profit derived from
this business will be handled as the profit gained from any other
business, viz. As a part of the "Personal wealth" category. There will
be no tax on its inventory since its exact count cannot be established
with certainty. For example, animals in a fish farm.
are different opinions about this. However, the general opinion is that
jewelry, whether it is normally in use, or stored for occasional use, must
all be included in calculating Zakat. The value of the gold or silver content
in the jewelry should be included in the category of "Personal wealth".
Precious stones (diamonds, ruby, pearls, etc.) are not to be included neither
the labor cost of making the jewelry is to be included.
Though owning a share of stock of any business is like having a share in
the ownership of the business; we have categorized it as "Personal
wealth". Therefore, the lower of the value of stock at the beginning and
the end of the year should be added in the category of "Personal
wealth". This is categorized as "Personal wealth" because of two
1. For the most people who own stock it is held as a saving with
expectations that it will grow in value over time. In fact it is readily
traded for money. Considering it as a readily redeemable asset, we have
treated it as another form of saving. Therefore, we suggest using its
fair market value in calculating Zakat.
2. Calculating Zakat on stock treating it as a share in ownership is
normally not very convenient. There are literally millions of shares
owned by general public. A stockholder will need to know his/her share
of cash on hand, profit, and inventory, in order to use those values in
the calculation of Zakat. This information is ordinarily very difficult
to obtain, unless it is a partnership of a few people. Therefore, we did
not treat stocks as a business partnership.
If one has acquired stock in a business with the intention of long term
investment, he/she can calculate his/her share of Zakat as a partner in
business owning a fraction of the business depending upon the number of
shares owned. In this case the owner of stock needs to figure out the
percentage of ownership his/her stock represents, and calculate Zakat on
the zakatable assets of the business, as explained in the answer to Q7.
1. Conditions for Zakat on investments in business/trade goods:
Trade is defined broadly as exchange with the intention of making a
profit. Therefore, whenever the two conditions (1. Goods acquired with
the intention of selling, and 2. Goods acquired with the intention of
making a profit) are present, Zakat is due. This will apply to all goods
if they are acquired for trade and with the intention of making a profit
(including live stock, precious stones, real estate, minerals and other
materials from earth). If they are not acquired for trade, but they
fall under the categories of live stock, agricultural produce, and Rikaz
(treasure unearthed), Zakat may become due on them following their
individual Nisab and Zakat calculations. However, generally speaking,
assets acquired for personal use are not subject to Zakat. The above two
conditions for trade goods are in addition to the general conditions
that apply to Zakat for non-business personal wealth. See details under Q12
for general conditions for Zakat.Definition of investments in trade goods:
When one is engaged in business, whatever its nature, one usually
invests some money in the purchase of building, furniture, and equipment
which take the form of fixed investments that are used and are not
"goods for trade". There is no Zakat on such investments that are intended for use and not for sale.
Next, there is the investment in inventory (raw material, or
work-in-progress, or finished goods in the case of any business that
involves manufacturing or processing) and in some operating cash. These assets are subject to Zakat.
During the Zakat year (one lunar year called the Hawl), these ‘trade
goods” are sold and result in cash or “receivables” (which eventually
gets converted to cash after payments are received from customers).
Receivables that are expected to be converted to cash during the Zakat
year are also to be included as zakatable assets in calculating Zakat.
This also applies to any debts that are expected to be received during
the Zakat year. For the general considerations regarding amount loaned
to others see answer to Q13
. However, any short term payables
(for example, amount owed to creditors and suppliers) that are to be
paid during the Zakat year, shall be subtracted from the assets before
calculating Zakat. The profit generated on the sale is either put back
(reinvested) into business and/or is distributed to the owners. The part
that is distributed to the owners becomes a part of their individual
personal wealth subject to its conditions of zakatability (see answer to
But the part that is reinvested into business in the form of operating
cash, and inventory becomes a part of those assets, and are
automatically included in the Zakat calculation. Therefore, Zakat on
trade goods is calculated as follows:
- Add the value of inventory (raw material, work-in-process, finished goods), receivables, and cash.
- Subtract from the above any short term payables (liabilities)
- If the net exceeds Nisab, calculate Zakat at the rate of 2.5%.
This business has to be operating for at least one year. If any share of
the business is sold during the year, that share will not be included
in the assets of the seller or the buyer because neither of them had it
for at least one year.Valuation of assets:
General opinion is that the valuation shall be based on the current market prices
at the time of paying Zakat since the prices do fluctuate during the year. In addition, the valuation shall be done using wholesale prices and not the retail prices
, because if any liquidation of assets is done it will be at the wholesale prices.Zakat Year for business:
The Zakat year for business is also one lunar year (called Hawl). The
zakatable assets as defined above shall be at or above Nisab at the end of the Zakat year.
There is another opinion that the value of zakatable assets shall
satisfy Nisab throughout the Zakat year. If the value gets below the
value of Nisab, a new Zakat year needs to be started after the value
meets the Nisab. However, the practice at the time of the Prophet was to
calculate Zakat if at the end of the Zakat year the value of zakatable
assets was equal to or higher than Nisab.Multiple owners:
If there are more than one owner, the net value of assets of the
business that are subject to Zakat as explained above, should be
apportioned to each owner based on his/her individual share. Then each
individual owner is responsible for calculating and paying Zakat on
his/her share. This approach is preferred because it may exempt a
partner with a small share from paying Zakat. The business may pay Zakat
on behalf of all owners if they all are obliged to pay Zakat..No duplicate payment of Zakat on the same assets:
As a general principle, an item is subject to Zakat (upon satisfying the
conditions of zakatability) only once. For example, if a business is
paying Zakat on behalf of all owners (assuming that everyone meets the
Nisab), then no zakat is required on the proceeds of the business to the
owners as a part of their personal wealth.
2. Income generating assets: (Rental income from assets that are rented):
If one is engaged in the business of renting assets for income, there
are differences of opinion regarding whether the value of the assets
themselves is zakatable or not since they provide growth by producing
income or profit. Stronger view is that the value of these assets is
not subject to Zakat, but any income derived from the exploitation of
these assets is subject to Zakat provided the income received in the
Zakat year meets Nisab.
There are differences regarding the rate at
which Zakat is to be calculated. A modern view is that the rate of Zakat
shall be either 10% or 5% on the net income in a Zakat year. This
opinion is based on an analogy to the Zakat paid on the agricultural
produce. However, the conservative opinion will be to use 2.5% as the
general rate of Zakat on the net income from rental property during the
Zakat year. We have selected this view for the Zakat calculator.
This will also apply to rental income from any exploited assets, such
as, cars, jewelry, animals, etc.
If the rental income for a given Zakat year is the only source of
sustenance for the owner, a reasonable cost for his/her living expenses
including the living expenses of his/her dependents for the year, must
be deducted. Then on the remainder amount Zakat shall be calculated, if
that amount meets the value of Nisab.
is the minimum amount of wealth owned by an individual for one year that
obligates the individual to pay Zakat. This minimum amount of wealth is
separately defined for each category of wealth.
The Nisab and the rate of Zakat for each category are given below.
For further details refer to the answer for Question
Q10. Who should pay Zakat?
|Category of wealth||Nisab||Rate of Zakat |
|A. Personal wealth||Three (3) ounces of gold or its current value||2.5%|
|B. Agricultural produce|
1. From cultivated land
2. From non-cultivated land
|653 Kg of wheat or its equivalent value. ||1. 5%|
|C. Minerals and Rikaz|| ||20%|
|D. Live stock|
1. Goat and sheep
40 goats and/or sheep
obligatory on every man or a woman who is an adult, of a sane mind, and
satisfies the specified Nisab. This responsibility is to be discharged
by each individual based upon his/her situation and value of wealth the
condition that they satisfy the Nisab, their guardian should pay Zakat
on their behalf. It is incumbent upon that guardian to make sure that
the money is growing otherwise the entire amount will be eaten up over
a number of years by paying Zakat itself. Various opinions in this regard
1. There is no Zakat on the wealth belonging to an orphan (or insane person)
2. The guardian shall keep track of the Zakat owed by the orphan under
his care, and provide this information to the orphan's reaching adulthood,
and finally let the orphan decide.
3. If the wealth belonging to the orphan is invested in a business and
only if it is growing then the guardian should pay Zakat on the profit.
If the wealth is not invested or if there is no profit, no Zakat will
4. It is required of the guardian to pay Zakat on behalf of the orphan.
(We have adopted this opinion with a strong recommendation for the guardian
to invest orphan's money so it can grow).
The above opinions will also apply to an insane person or a prisoner.
conditions obligate payment of Zakat on an individual.
If one has given his property in a public trust Zakat is not payable
by that individual. But if it is a trust in the name of specific individuals,
those individuals are required to include their share in the calculation
of their Zakat. In the case of a "Living trust" (in the
United State) where the person establishing the trust keeps complete
ownership and control of the trust until his death, he will be responsible
also for any Zakat that is due. Upon his death, the beneficiaries
who will inherit will be responsible for any Zakat that becomes due
if they own it for one full year. |
borrowed wealth is exempt because borrower is not the owner. See answer
to the general question (Q13) relating to loans. |
the same reason there is no Zakat on wealth acquired illegally (in
a Haram - forbidden way). For example, stolen wealth does not belong
to the thief.|
Wealth shall be of the potentially growing kind|
it is naturally growing kind (Example - Live stock) Zakat is required.|
it is not growing because of its nature, or due to reasons beyond
one's control, no Zakat is required.|
it is not growing because of negligence or mismanagement, Zakat is
satisfy Nisab. It should be above the minimum level specified under
category of wealth.|
the category of "Personal wealth", and of Live stock the
individual shall be in possession of Nisab for one whole lunar year.|
the category of Agricultural produce, there is no holding period of
one lunar year required. As soon as the crop is harvested the Zakat
should be calculated and paid. If there are multiple crops in a year,
Zakat shall be paid each time, provided, of course, that the quantity
of Nisab is satisfied. It should be remembered that Zakat is paid
on agricultural produce that can be stored over time. In other words,
there is no Zakat on perishable agricultural produce. Imam Abu Hanifa
has an opinion that there is no Nisab for agricultural produce. However,
other scholars have defined it based upon the prescribed Nisab at
the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This Nisab was five
(5) Wasaq. Wasaq was a volumetric measure. A Wasaq was equal to 60
measures of a Sa'. Since present day normal measure for grain has
changed to a measure of weight (such as a Kilogram), scholars have
tried to define it in terms of weight of wheat of an average size.
Yusuf Al-Qarzawi has calculated it to be six hundred and fifty three
(653) Kg of wheat. However, what is used in India and Pakistan amounts
to double the quantity around (1000) Kg. We have taken the approach
of (653) Kg of wheat or its value as the Nisab for agricultural produce.
Therefore, one should estimate the value of the grain and compare
it with the value of (653) Kg of wheat. If the value of produce exceeds
the value of (653) Kg of wheat, the Nisab is satisfied and Zakat should
be calculated on the total value of the produce less any loans and
expenses that were incurred in the process of producing and are payable
after a harvest. An important consideration is that if this is the
only source of income for the farmer for his and his dependents needs,
a deduction is allowed. Scholars have determined that, a third or
a fourth of the produce as the amount that should be left for the
farmer. The rate of Zakat for agricultural produce (after loans and
expenses are subtracted) is 10% or 5% depending upon if the produce
is from non-cultivated land or cultivated land respectively. The preferred
way of paying Zakat on agricultural produce is to pay in terms of
the produce itself; however, to pay in monetary terms is also acceptable.
Nisab defined in terms of value of (653) Kg of wheat is very helpful
in case of very expensive crop (for example Saffron) for which the
value of 653 Kg (of Saffron) will be excessive and unfair as Nisab.
Another point to remember is that the grain or fruit in its dried
and storable condition is what is used for estimating Nisab and Zakat.
Grapes will be measured, for example, through the value of raisins
rather than the weight or volume of the raw produce.|
the category of Rikaz (all items mined out of the Earth including
oil or other valuable fluid items, and old buried treasures that are
discovered), there are various opinions. One opinion suggests that
there is no Nisab. According to this opinion, any time anything is
extracted from the Earth, Zakat needs to be calculated on the amount
extracted. The other opinion is that its value should equal the Nisab
on gold or silver, namely three ounces of gold, before Zakat becomes
obligatory. It must be noted that in the case of minerals there may
be other regulations enacted by the State, which may have to be complied
with. The question of Zakat applies only to the portion that is clearly
under the ownership and possession of the individual calculating Zakat.
The question of the hold period of one lunar year is also not applicable
to this category.|
We have taken the position that there is no Nisab on the category
of Rikaz, and that the Zakat on it is 20%, calculated on the amount
that is clearly and personally owned by the individual. No expenses
need be deducted from Rikaz.
this is an on-going business, we leave to the individual the choice
of treating the minerals, including valuable fluids extracted from
the Earth, as personal wealth or proceeds from business, and including
it in the category of "Personal wealth". In that case the
Nisab of three ounces of gold and a rate of Zakat of 2.5% will apply.
However, for one-time acquisitions, for example, the recovery of buried
treasures there will be no Nisab and the rate of Zakat will be 20%.|
in question shall be that beyond the normal needs of the individual
and his/her dependents. If the amount in savings is for the normal
expenses, it should not be included in the calculation. |
individual should not be in debt. If the individual is in debt that
is not serviceable from his normal income and the only way that individual
can repay his/her loans is by disposing of some or all of his assets
the amount owed should be subtracted from the total value of his/her
"Personal wealth" and the remaining amount evaluated to
see if it meets the Nisab in that category. If it does, Zakat should
be calculated upon the net value (total amount less loans). On the
other hand, if loans are serviceable from the ongoing income (such
as in case of regular mortgage payments or an installment loan), the
unpaid loan should not be subtracted from the assets unless the individual
plans to pay the loan off that year from his/her wealth.|
treatment will apply to loans that were incurred for agriculture which
are normally payable upon a successful harvest. They should be subtracted
before the agricultural produce is evaluated for Nisab and Zakat.
In addition, any other expenses incurred in generating agricultural
produce, should be subtracted, before deciding whether the requirements
of Nisab are satisfied or not. Like in the case of a business, investments
made or instruments used in the case of agricultural produce are not
included in calculating Zakat. |
In case of
a loan, Zakat on the amount loaned to someone is primarily the obligation
of the owner of the money, and the obligation is determined based upon
the following conditions.
a. If the borrower is expected to return the loan in the year in question,
the lender (the owner) should include the amount in his calculations.
There are two opinions within this, one is that this Zakat shall be paid
every year, and the other opinion is that it should be paid for all the
years the loan was outstanding upon its return.
b. In case the repayment is not expected, there are three possible opinions.
i. Once returned, pay Zakat for all years the
loan was outstanding.
ii. Once returned, pay Zakat that year.
iii. Once returned, pay Zakat after one year has
passed since the return.
c. We favor the opinion that Zakat should be paid by the owner, upon repayment,
in the year of repayment. Therefore, if a loan whose return is not expected,
should be included if and when the loan is returned.
d. The impact of loan on the borrower is already explained in answer concerning
conditions that make Zakat obligatory.
If this amount is available to the individual at any time without any
restrictions, then Zakat should be calculated for this amount through
the category of "Personal wealth" because its nature will be
that of savings.
If the plan is restrictive and involves penalty and/or taxes, opinions
differ on the payment of Zakat.
a. One opinion is that an individual should calculate the amount that
is available to an individual after paying an early withdrawal penalty
and taxes, and include this remaining amount in the calculation of Zakat
as a part of "Personal wealth" category.
b. Another opinion is that Zakat should be only paid when the amount is
actually received or is fully available to the individual without any penalty.
In that case only taxes due on this amount should be deducted. The net
amount after taxes (for the year the amount is completely available to
the individual) should be included as a part of the "Personal wealth"
If the amount is not fully available, we are of the opinion that
the value of the pension plan should not be included in the calculation
of Zakat. We have taken the opinion that when it is fully available as
in case b above, it should be included in the calculation of Zakat.
Yes it can
be paid in kind or in equivalent amount of money.
Qur'an specifies eight (8) purposes for which the money from Zakat can
be used. They are the following.
1) Poor (Faqir pl. Fuqara'): One who cannot support himself/herself, provided
(or to the extent) that the recipient of Zakat does not reach the level
2) Needy (Miskin pl. Masakin): One who cannot adequately support himself/herself,
and is reluctant to ask for help. Such an individual, therefore, is not
easily recognized as someone who needs help. Such an individual is eligible
for Zakat, provided (or to the extent) that the recipient of Zakat does
not reach the level of Nisab.
3) Those employed to administer the collection, distribution, and administration
of Zakat (Al-'Amilin): They need not remain below Nisab at the time of
receiving compensation through Zakat.
4) Those individuals who have been recently reconciled to the Truth (Mu'allafat-al-Qulub):
This category includes new Muslims, or those who are willing to support
the Muslim State but need to be compensated. They could be non-Muslims
as well. Such individuals can be in possession of Nisab and will not be
disqualified because of that.
5) Freeing of those in bondage (Fi-al-Riqab): Since the custom of bondage
or slavery is now extinct, freeing of slaves may not be needed any longer.
However, this can be interpreted to include individuals who due to excessive
debt do not have any hope of ever standing on their own two feet.
6) Those in debt (Al-Gharimin): Zakat money could be received by on who
is in debt in order to pay off the debt or a part thereof provided at
the time of receiving Zakat, he/she is not in possession of Nisab.
7) In the cause of Allah (Fi-sabil-Allah): Those who are going out or
working in the cause of Allah (including the task of conveying the message
of Islam) or in a battle declared by an Islamic State for just cause.
Being in possession of Nisab does not disqualify them.
8) The wayfarer (Ibn-al-Sabil): Traveler who is in need of help during
One who belongs to the family of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is not
eligible for receiving Zakat.
Yes, provided they are not the dependents, such as wife and children, and parents (including
ascendants grand parents and descendents such as grand children). Beyond
these relatives, in fact it would be preferred that one gives Zakat to
one's relatives first. A wealthy wife can give Zakat to her poor husband
and not the other way around.
be paid with the intention of paying Zakat since it is an act of worship.
If an individual declares his/her Zakat in order to encourage others,
it is permissible, since this an obligatory act of worship. However, it
is not necessary to mention, in fact preferable not to mention, to the
recipient that the payment is from Zakat, if it is feared that it would
be paid any time during the year, in one lump sum or in installments.
However, at the end of each year one must calculate one's Zakat and the
amount due but not paid must be paid. In actual practice, many Muslims
prefer to pay Zakat in the month of Ramadan. This is also fine. Bear in
mind that for agricultural produce, it is preferred to pay Zakat after
Zakat can be paid to institutions, which meet the purposes described.
one may give extra charity beyond Zakat for any good cause, and in fact,
charity beyond Zakat is to be encouraged.
addition to alleviating the hardships of the needy and the less privileged,
this act of worship provides a check against and cleanses individuals,
and indeed the society as a whole, of the baser instincts, such as miserliness,
selfishness, enmity, exploitation etc. that ultimately lead to materialism.
On the other hand, Zakat promotes love, kindness, generosity, and sharing/caring
and mutual cooperation. This also promotes relying on Allah, and sincerity
in seeking the pleasure of Allah alone, and finally building a society
more empathetic and more caring.
A lot has been written about the inner dimensions of Zakat. One may refer
to many books available on Zakat for further details on this subject.
there are differences of opinion concerning the definitions of Nisab and
the treatment of different categories of wealth. For the sake of providing
a comprehensive tool, we have adopted those opinions, which are generally
accepted by various scholars, or are easier to apply. However, other major
differing opinions are also mentioned in the various answers given under
frequently asked questions (FAQs) and the individual is free to follow
other opinions if more appealing to him/her. For a greater in depth understanding,
of course, one can access many books available on Zakat.
Zakat-ul-Fitr is Zakah on the individual. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said:
"Remember Zakat-al-Fitr is essential (Wajib) for every Muslim, man or woman;
free or in servitude; adult or child." (At-Thirmidhi)
Zakat-ul-Fitr or Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is a special charity paid to the needy on
or before the day of Eid -ul-Fitr, which is the first day of the month of
Shawwal following the month of Ramadan. Zakat-ul-Fitr is paid as
atonement for any shortcomings in the worship of Fasting during the
month of Ramadan.
On the day of Eid -ul-Fitr, which marks the completion of the month of
Ramadan, every Muslim possessing an amount of food in excess of his
and his family's need for a day (24 hours) is mandated to pay Zakat-ul-
Fitr on behalf of himself and all his dependent(s).
Zakat-ul-Fitr or Fitrah is "the one full
meal per person or cash
equivalent to the cost of one full meal,
given directly to the needy of
the community before Eid-ul-Fitr prayer.
Arrangements for paying
Fitrah should be made ahead of time so that
it reaches the eligible
recipients in time for them to make use of
it on Eid day. The quantity of
Zakat-ul-Fitr traditionally amounts to one
Sa`. One Sa` is equivalent to
2751--3800 grams of food such as wheat,
barley, rice, or the like. In Albany area the cash equivalent of Fitrah
has been set to $8.00 - $10.00 for each member of the family.The
categories of people who are eligible to receive Zakat-ul-Fitr are
the same as for those who are eligible to
receive the regular Zakat.
Sadaqah is an Arabic term widely used to cover all kinds of charity.
Although Sadaqah and Zakat are often used interchangeably, Sadaqah
voluntary or optional charity.
All good deeds are considered Sadaqah. Every Muslim is exhorted to
give Sadaqah. The Prophet Muhammad(S) said:
“Every Muslim has to give Sadaqah.” The people asked: “O
Prophet of Allah, what about the one who has nothing?”
He(S) replied: “He should work with his hand to give
Sadaqah.” They asked: “If he cannot find (work)?” He(S)
replied: “He should help the needy who asks for help.” They
asked:” If he cannot do that?” He (S) replied: “He should
then do good deeds and shun evil, for this will be taken as
Muslims practice Sadaqah and earn rewards from Allah by doing good
deeds all their lives. They can continue earning Allah’s rewards even
after their death should they leave any of the following legacies behind
them. This is called perpetual Sadaqah (Sadaqat-ul-Jariyah). Prophet
Muhammad (S) is reported to have said:
“When a person dies (the benefit) of his deeds ends, except
three: a continuous Sadaqah, knowledge from which benefit is
derived, or a pious child invoking Allah for him.”
(Sahih Muslim & Ahmad)
Etiquette of Giving Sadaqah
1. Islam has recommended that its followers give Sadaqah. Sadaqah
is to be given from one’s lawful (Halal) earnings because Allah
does not accept Sadaqah if it is given from what is unlawful
2. There is no limit on the amount to be donated as Sadaqah. It is up
to the generosity of the individual to set a limit.
3. Sadaqah is to be given with utmost humility. In order to get the
rewards of Sadaqah from Allah, the donor is required to avoid
making a showoff his generosity.
4. Sadaqah can be given to any deserving person – Muslim or non-
5. Precedence is given first to one’s needy dependents, relatives, and
then to other needy people.
6. The beneficiary of the good deed (Sadaqah) is recommended to
thank the person for his good deed.
The taxes are paid to the government - Federal, State, County, and City in accordance
with its rule and regulations. Zakat is paid as an obligatory duty (Faridatun min Allah)
to Allah. It has its own purpose, function, rules, and regulations of payment and
distribution. In order to have the Zakat obligation to be fulfilled, it must meet
the (Shariah) requirements. Paying taxes do not meet these requirements.
Any unpaid Zakat will be counted as missed obligation (Qada). You should
estimate the amount of Zakat due on you for the years you missed and pay it as soon as possible.
It is a wife's individual responsibility to pay Zakat on her jewelry,
zakatable possession, and wealth. If her husband or someone else pays Zakat
on her behalf with her permission, it is permissible and he will be rewarded
for this voluntary action.
It is prefered to pay Zakat to your poor relatives - sisters, brothers,
cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, etc. Prophet Muhammad (S) said:
"Charity given to the poor is charity, and charity given to a relative is
charity and upholding of family ties." (Ahmad, Al- Nisa'i).
Zakat should not be given to one's parents, grand parents, children,
grand children, or wives. The care of these relatives is a duty enjoined
by Shariah on every Muslim.
The items of one's basic needs and necessities are exempted from Zakat. All items
of value (movable and immovable), that are designated for personal and household
use and/consumption are non-Zakatable.
Example: Food, clothing, residential home, petty cash, personal transportation
(automobile, riding animal), Books for personal study, domestic animals and poultry
for domestic needs, tools of one's personal trade/profession, articles of adornment
in day to day use,, arms and ammunition for personal use, agricultural land cultivated
by the owner, etc.).
We should calculate Zakat properly and meticulously. It is the obligatory duty to Allah
(Fardh minAllah). If you happen to find out that you have underpaid the zakat, you make the
intention of paying due zakat and make up for the underpayment. Allah will accept it as "Ada"
of your obligation (Fardh).
Zakat can be paid as cash/Check/Draft/Credit Card*, and the like. It can also be paid
in kind with gold, silver, grain, livestock, etc.
*Credit Card - it is important that you pay your credit card company on time so as not to incur
any interest payments.
Yes, Zakat will be due on the minimum balance in the bank over the period of one lunar year
(Haul - it is approximately 355 days), provided the balance did not go under the amount of Nisab.