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ZAKAT

Definition:-
Zakat means grow (in goodness) or 'increase', 'purifying' or 'making pure'.A tax, comprising
percentages of personal income of every kind, levied as almsgiving for the relief of the poor:
the third of the Pillars of Islam. Giving money for charity is highly commendable, and the sky
is the limit, but Zakat is different because it is obligatory and is given in a calculated amount
The Lost Pillar of Islam; Zakat is the 3rd pillar of Islam. It is a form of charity, but the
difference is that Zakat is an obligation to any Muslim who has business or certain amount of
money that reached a sum that is regulated each year by the ministry of religious affairs. It is
the twin sister of Salaat. In Al-Qur'an, Allah (SWT) stated: "So establish regular Prayer and
give regular Alms; and obey the Messenger”.

IMPORTANCE OF ZAKAT:-
After Salah, Zakat is the greatest pillar of Islam. Generally, since in the usual series of ‘Ibadat
fasting immediately follows Salah, people have come to understand that fasting is as next to
Salah. But from the Holy Qur'an we learn that in Islam Zakat stands second in importance to
Salah. These are the two great pillars on which rests the structure of Islam. If these are
removed Islam cannot survive.

Meaning of 'Zakat':-
Zakat means purity and cleanliness. A portion set apart from your wealth for the needy and
the poor is called Zakat. because in this manner a man's wealth and along with it his own
Nafs ?(self) becomes purified. The wealth of that person is impure who does not take out
from the God-given wealth what is due to the poor and the needy. And along with his wealth
his Nafs too is impure because it is filled with ungratefulness. His heart is so narrow, he is
selfish and so much a worshipper of wealth that it pains him to render what is due in return
for the Divine favour of bestowing on him wealth in excess of his real requirements. Can it be
expected from such a person that he will ever do any good deed to please God and will make
any sacrifice for the sake of his religion and faith ? This is why the heart of such a person is
impure as also his wealth which he amasses in this manner.

'Zakat' a test:-
By making Zakat obligatory Allah has put every person to test. That person alone who
willingly takes out what is due to God from that wealth which exceeds his requirements, and
helps with it the poor and needy, is useful for Allah and is worthy of being counted among
the faithfuls. And that one whose heart is so narrow that he cannot make this much sacrifice
for the Lord of the world, is of no use to Allah. He is absolutely unfit to be included in the
community of the faithful. He is a rotten limb which may better be severed from the body,
otherwise it will purify the whole frame. This is why when after the demise of the Holy
Prophet (peace be on him) when some tribes refused to give Zakat, Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq
(may Allah be pleased with him) waged a war against them, as is done against unbelievers
even though they used to say Salah and professed faith in Allah and His messenger. From this
it is clear that without Zakat, Salah, fasting and affirmation of faith are all useless. None of
these is credible.

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'Zakat' obligatory on Ummahs of all prophets:-
Prophet Abraham and the Prophets of his race, Allah says in the Qur'an :

"And We made them leaders of men. They guided the people according to Our
command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds and right establishment of
Salah and giving of Zakat and they were worshippers of Us." (Al-Qur'an 21:73)
About Prophet Ishmael it is said:
"He enjoined upon his people Salah and Zakat and was acceptable in the sight of his
Lord." (Al-Qur'an 19:55)
Prophet Moses prayed for his people :
"O God ! Bestow upon us the well-being of this world as also the well-being of the
Hereafter". (Al-Qur'an 19:55)
Do you know in reply to it what Allah said ?
"I shall smite with my punishment whom I will. Although My mercy embraceth all
things, but I shall ordain it for those who will fear Me and give Zakat and those who
will believe in Our revelations."(Al-Qur'an 7:156)
Since the people of Prophet Moses were narrow-minded hankered after money, just as you
see the condition of Jews even today, Allah plainly said in answer to the prayer of such a
distinguished prophet : "If your people will give Zakat steadfastly, then the promise of
My mercy is for them, otherwise listen clearly here and now that they will be deprived
of My mercy and My punishment will encompass them". Similarly, even after Prophet
Moses Beni Israel were repeatedly admonished on this account. Time and again covenants
were taken from them to worship none save Allah and to be steadfast in Salah and Zakat (Al-
Qur'an 2:10) till ultimately a clear notice was given :
"And Allah said : O Children of Israel ! I am with you, if you offer Salah, and give
Zakat and believe in My messengers and support those messengers who are to come,
and lend unto Allah a nice loan surely I shall remit your sins."(Al-Qur'an 5:12)
Before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last Prophet was Prophet Jesus. The
commandment about Salah and Zakat was given to him also by Allah, as is found in Surah
Mary : "And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me
Salah and Zakat so long as I remain alive." (Al-Qur'an 19:31)
This shows that the religion of Islam has been established from the beginning, in the
ministry of every prophet, on the two great pillars of Salah and Zakat, and it never happened
that any Ummah believing in God was exempted from these two obligatory duties.

'Zakat' imperative for Muslim 'Ummah':-


These two Faraid (obligatory acts) go hand in hand in the Shari’ah of prophet Muhammad
(peace be on him). On opening the Holy Qur'an what are those verses which you first see ?
These are :

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"This Qur'an is the book of Allah whereof there is no doubt. It shows the right path of
life in the world to the pious people. (Pious people are) those who believe in the unseen
and observe Salah and spend of that We have bestowed upon them (in the path of
Allah)."(Al-Qur'an 2:1-2)
It is then said :
"It is such people who have received guidance from their Lord and it is they who are
(successful)."
That is to say those who have no faith and do not adhere to Salah and Zakat are neither
receiving guidance nor can they achieve success.
After this, go on reading the same second Surah. After a few verses it is again commanded :
"Be steadfast in saying Salah and giving Zakat and bow your heads with those who bow
(i.e. say Salah in congregation)." (Al-Qur'an 2: 43)
A little further in the same Surah it is said :
"Righteousness is not merely that you turn your faces to the East and the West, but
righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the
Scripture and the Prophets; and gives his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to
orphan and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and
says Salah and gives Zakat; and those who keep their treaty when they make one, and
the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere
Such are the God-fearing." (Al-Qur'an 2:177)
Then see further what is said in Surah Ma'idah :
"O Muslim ! Your real friends and supporters are only Allah, His messenger and
believers, i.e. such people who say Salah and give Zakat and bow down before God.
Therefore, whoso befriends Allah, His messenger and the believers is a man of Allah's
party and Allah's party alone is going to be victorious." (Al-Qur'an 5:55-56)

Foundations of Islamic fraternity:-


In Surah Tauba :Allah has commanded Muslims to wage war against disbelievers and
polytheists, and has continuously given directions in several Ruku’s about war only. In this
connection Allah says :
" Then if they repent from disbelief and polytheism, and affirm faith, and say Salah and
give Zakat they are your brethren in religion."(Al-Qur'an 9:11)
it is also said in the Surah Tauba :
"And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin
the right and forbid the wrong and they say Salah and pay Zakat and obey Allah and
His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them."(Al-Qur'an 60:71)

Conditions for Allah's help:-


"Verily Allah helps one who helps Him. Lo ! Allah is Strong, Almighty. Those who, if
We give them power in the land, establish Salah and give Zakat and enjoin virtue and
forbid evil. And with Allah is the sequel of events." (Al-Qur'an 22 : 40-41)

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The Prophet described it as one of the five pillars of faith. Said he,
“Islam has been built on five things, namely [the] testimony that there is no God but
God, the performance of prayers, the giving of Zakat, the fast during the month of
Ramadhan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca when one can afford it."
The Prophet said to Muadh:
"Tell them that God has prescribed for them Sadaqah to be taken from the rich among
them in order to be given to the poor."
How is it Calculated?
Zakah is a proportionately fixed contribution collected from the surplus wealth and
earnings of the Muslim.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. Zakah is paid on the net balance
after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Every Muslim male
or female who at the end of the year is in possession of the equivalent of 85 grams of gold
(approx. $1400 in 1990) or more in cash or articles of trade, must give Zakah at the minimum
rate of 2.5%. Taxes paid to government do not substitute for this religious duty. The
contributor should not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his contribution is
likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.
Other gains and profits have their respective formulae, such as proceeds from industry,
agriculture and animal husbandry, real estate, etc. as thoroughly detailed in specialized
references.
Note the obligatory nature of Zakah; it is required. Muslims can also go above and beyond
what they pay as Zakah, in which case the offering is a strictly voluntary charity (sadaqa).
Sadaqa is given preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as 'voluntary
charity' it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said 'even meeting your brother with a cheerful
face is charity'.
The Prophet said: 'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim'. He was asked: 'What if a person
has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and
then give something out of such earnings in charity'. The Companions asked: 'What if he is
not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The
Companions further asked 'What is he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge
others to do good'. The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He
should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'
Islam teaches that people should acquire wealth with the intention of spending it on their own
needs and the needs of others.
There are two categories of charities in Islam - obligatory and voluntary
Obligatory
Zakat on gold, silver currency and jewelry
Zakat on cash or its equivalent such as bonds, shares of joint companies etc.
Zakat on rented buildings, plants (factory), and fixed capital
Zakat on commercial assets such as inventories, work in process etc.
Zakat on livestock
Zakat on agriculture 'Ushr
Zakat on honey and animal products
Zakat on mining and fishing

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Almsgiving on self, Zakat al-fitr (fast-breaking zakah)
Voluntary
Donation to build mosques and Schools
Helping non-Muslim
Conditions For The Payment Of Zakat:-
The conditions for the payment of Zakat are :
1. Freedom and maturity, for there can be no responsibility without these.
2. State of Islam, because [the] payment of Zakat is an act of worship and as such it can
validly be performed only by a Muslim.
3. Freedom. The person or the slave cannot own any property.
4. Lapse of a year. No Zakat is due on property before a year has passed over it. For
determining the nisab, the rule is to add together articles belonging to the same genus.
In the month of Ramadhan, Caliph Uthman had said, "Behold the month of Ramadhan has
come. Whoever has property and debts, let him deduct from what he owns what he
owes and pay Zakat from the remaining property.”
Quantum Of Zakat
As stated before, Zakat is payable
(1) When the property is gold or silver.
(2) When animals are pastured.
(3) When property is intended for trade and business.
Zakat On Gold And Silver:-
The nisab of gold is 7-1/2 tolas [appx 11.7 grams = 1 tola] and that of silver is 52 tolas. It is
to be reckoned on the basis of weight and not on value if the Zakat is given in the shape of
the same metal, but if Zakat of gold is given in silver or if silver in gold, their value will be
taken into account. Zakat is also payable on currency notes if they exceed in value to the
value of 7-1/2 tolas of gold or 52 tolas of silver.
Zakat On Goods Of Trade And Business :-
All goods, except gold and silver [which] serve as articles of trade, will be assessed for Zakat
if their value reaches the nisab of gold and silver. If the goods do not come up to that value
but together with gold and silver the nisab is reached, then Zakat will be payable on the
totality. As stated before, no Zakat is due on property before there lapses one year over it. It
is also necessary that the value of the goods [at] the beginning of the year should not be less
than 52 tolas of silver. The income derived from renting houses and shops is not taken into
account.
Zakat On Animals Or Live Species:-
Zakat is due on animals provided they are sawalm (flocks or herds). Camels, cows and goats,
buffaloes are treated like cows and sheep like goats.
Sawaim is that animal which lives on pasturage for the most part of the year and is kept for
its milk or breeding purposes for its fattening. If the animal is fed on grass that has been cut
outside and brought home or it has neen used as a beast of burden or for ploughing etc., it is
not sawaim and no Zakat is due on it. No Zakat is due on camels less than five or on cows
and buffaloes or on goats and sheep less than thirty in number.

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Zakat Distribution:-
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. (In
Singapore, zakat due to this category of recipients is spent on those who need help to pursue
education or to improve their standard of living).
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.