Giving charity or Zakat was ordained on Muslims with its details in the second year of Hijra, but the concept of Zakat itself was introduced during Makkah time.  Allah (SW) said in Surat (Al An’am; The Cattle), a Makki Surah: {And give (to the poor) what is rightfully due on the day of its harvest} 6:141.

Definition

Charity (Zakat) in Arabic language means “growth”[1] and it also means “purity, righteousness and blessings.”[2] In the Islamic definition, it is: “Obligated right in specified money for a specified group at a specified time.”[3]

Importance of Zakat

Charity (Zakat) is one of the main five pillars of Islam.[4] Allah (SW) ordered Muslims to give charity (Zakat) in the Holy Quran: {However, (duly) establish the Prayer, and give the Zakat-Charity} 2:110. Since Allah (SW) is the true owner of wealth and all that exists, He (SW) decides where and how the money is to be distributed and to whom.

How Does Zakat work?

The details of giving Zakat could be studied in the books of (Fiqh) Islamic Jurisprudence but I will only give some basic highlights in simple terms of how Zakat works:

The conditions for Zakat are the following:

  1. It must be paid in the proper time and not delayed.
  2. A whole term of (Hawl) must roll in a one year period to pay Zakat.
  3. Zakat is applicable on the money itself so even if a child inherited money, his guardian must pay Zakat on the money inherited.
  4. The money should be of a minimum amount of 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver (Nisab).
  5. Zakat is applicable on the wealth that is based on investment and bringing income (Nama’). For example, a person would not pay Zakat on the house he lives in or the car he drives.
  6. The amount calculated of Zakat is of 2.5% of the wealth.
  7. Refer to books of (Fiqh) Islamic Jurisprudence for details about how to calculate Zakat on animals or fruits etc.
  8. The recipients of Zakat money are mentioned in the Quran, Allah (SW) said: {Indeed, (prescribed) charitable offerings are only (to be given) to the poor and indigent, and to those who work on (administrating) it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to (free) those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. (This is) an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise} 9:60.

[1] Lisan Al Arab by Ibn Manthoor

[2] Al Mujam Al Waseet

[3] Kasf Al Qina’ a’n Matn El Iqna’ by Mansur Al Bahooti

[4] Refer to Hadith by Bukhari: “Islam is built on five…” 4514

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha