What is Zakat?
Zakat (also known as ‘Zakah’), comes from the Arabic word ‘to purify’ as in the Qur’an: “take from their wealth so that you might purify and sanctify them” (9:103). By recognising that one’s wealth is a gift from Allah and giving away a portion of it to others, a Muslim purifies the rest of his or her wealth from greed and miserliness. The verse given above from chapter 70 also highlights the concept that Zakat is a right which the poor have over the wealthy; it is the duty of the wealthy to fulfil this responsibility to those who are less fortunate.
Why pay Zakat? Is it obligatory?
The giving of zakat to the poor and needy, is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory upon every adult Muslim of sound mind who has reached the age of puberty and has the above minimum required amount of wealth.
The individual must own a specific amount of wealth or savings (after living costs, expenses etc). This is referred to as Nisaab and is the threshold at which Zakat becomes payable. The amount of Zakat to be paid is 2.5% of Nisaab. Zakat is not a tax but an obligation.
When should Zakat be given?
You should record the Islamic date on which you first became the owner of Nisaab – if, on the same date the following lunar year, you are still the owner of Nisaab, you will be obliged to pay Zakat. Many Muslims choose to give it during Ramadan as the rewards for good deeds performed in Ramadan are greater than in any other month.
Who should receive Zakat?
The Quran mentions eight groups of people on who Zakat should be spent:
- The Fuqara (the poor)
- Al-Maskin (the needy)
- Aamileen (zakat collector)
- Muallafatul Quloob (poor and needy who recently converted to Islam)
- Ar-Riqaab (slaves)
- Ibnus-Sabeel (A stranded traveller in need of financial assistance)
- Al-Ghaarimeen (A debtor)
- Fi-Sabeelillah (Those who are away from home in the path of Allah)
By Donating your Zakat to SteppingStones Charity, we can guarantee that your Zakat will be given to the recipients eligible for Zakat. Donate your Zakat today and help us make a difference in the lives of the poor and needy.