Zakah is when we give a small portion (2.5%) of our excess wealth to the poor people. It is done annually by Muslims.
Zakah is an Obligation on All Muslims
Let's try calculating the zakah on math.
How much 2.5% of $40000 that one average American family has to pay zakah in year?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Islam is based on five (principles):
- to testify that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger;
- to offer the compulsory Prayers (salah) dutifully and perfectly;
- to pay zakah (obligatory charity);
- to perform Hajj (pilgrimage to the Ka`bah in Makkah);
- to observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
(Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Muslim know that zakah is good investment for cause of Allah for the hereafter and for economic balance in this worldly life.
In the Qur’an, Allah says:
"Take alms of their wealth, wherewith thou mayst purify them and mayst make them grow, and pray for them. Lo! thy prayer is an assuagement for them. Allah is Nearer, Knower." (At-Tawbah 9:103)
Types of Zakah
- Zakat al-fitr (zakah of breaking the fast) is a fixed amount that has to be paid—by rich and poor alike—by the head of the household for every member of his or her family before the `Eid Prayers at the end of Ramadan.
This must be paid by all Muslims with enough food for one day. The amount to be paid for Zakat al Fitr is much lower than Zakat al Mal. Zakat al Fitr is paid by the head of the household on behalf of all family members, both young and old.
Zakat al Fitr as paid by all, both rich and poor. Because of this, even the poor earn reward for giving in charity, and they also have a chance to help those who are even more in need.
- Zakat al-mal (zakah of wealth), on the other hand, can be paid anytime and each individual is responsible to pay his or her own zakah. The amount of zakah is variable according to the person’s wealth.
Zakat al Mal is paid on accumulated wealth over a year. So it’s not based on earnings like income tax. Instead, the amount to be paid is based on whatever amount of wealth a person has in their possession. This would usually entail savings, gold and silver jewelry, stocks, produce, cash, livestock, etc.
Muslims then must pay 2.5% of this accumulated wealth as Zakaat. But not all Muslims are required to pay Zakah. Those people that fall below a certain wealth threshold, called Nisab, are excused.
Zakat al Mal is paid by the wealthy to the poor and needy.
Every Muslim—man or woman, child or adult—whose wealth exceeds the nisab (the minimum zakatable amount) and who has had this amount for a whole lunar year must pay zakat al-mal.
Many Muslims choose to pay their zakah in Ramadan, for during this month their good deeds receive greater reward than at other times.
Nisab and Rate Zakah
If a person’s wealth (over and above his/her needs) reaches the nisab which is the value of 85 grams of gold, whether in savings, property, jewels, land, produce, or livestock, he or she must pay zakah.
Who Can Receive The Zakah
The recipients of Zakah are made clear in both the Quran and the statements of Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi salam.
In Al Qur'an says:
"The alms are only for
- the poor and the needy,
- those who collect the zakah
- those newly converted Muslim
- the debtors,
- the cause of Allah,
- the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah.
Needy relatives (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, etc.) can receive the zakah if they are poor and need help. Indeed, giving to them is both an act of charity and of maintaining family ties.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Charity given to a poor is charity and charity given to a relative is charity and maintaining family ties.” (Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)
However, zakah cannot be given to one’s wife, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents because it is someone’s duty to take care of them first.
One category of zakah recipients is fi sabil lillah (for the cause of Allah), which leaves the Muslim a wider scope to pay the zakah.
Hadiths all about Zakah
- Narrated Ibn Umar (Radi Allah Anhu) Allah's Apostle (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the 'Id prayer. (One Sa' = 3 Kilograms approx.)
[Sahih Bukhari : Volume 2, Book 25 Zakat ul Fitr, Number 579]
- Abdullah bin Umar (Radi Allah Anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) prescribed Zakat-ul-Fitr of Ramadan one sa' of dates or one sa' of barley for every individual among the Muslims (whether) free man or slave, male or female, young or old.
[Sahih Muslim : Book 5 Kitab Al-Zakat, Number 2153]
- Narrated Ibn 'Umar (Radi Allah Anhu): The Prophet (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) ordered the people to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr before going to the 'Id prayer.
[Sahih Bukhari : Volume 2, Book 25 Zakat ul Fitr, Number 585]
- Narrated Nafi': Ibn 'Umar (Radi Allah Anhu) said, "The Prophet (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) made incumbent on every male or female, free man or slave, the payment of one Sa' of dates or barley as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (or said Sadaqa-Ramadan) ." The people then substituted half Sa' of wheat for that. Ibn 'Umar used to give dates (as Sadaqat-ulFitr) . Once there was scarcity of dates in Medina and Ibn 'Umar gave barley. 'And Ibn 'Umar used to give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr for every young and old person. He even used to give on behalf of my children. Ibn 'Umar used to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (even) a day or two before the 'Id.
[Sahih Bukhari : Volume 2, Book 25 Zakat ul Fitr, Number 587]
You can find zakah calculator in here.
Muslims are encouraged to give voluntary charity, or sadaqah, whenever they can.