Zakat: Everything you need to know
The Meaning, Purpose, and Rules of Zakat in Islam
The literal meaning of Zakat is ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purification’. In the Islamic faith, Zakat means purifying your wealth for Allah SWT’s will, acknowledging that everything we own belongs to Allah SWT and working towards the betterment of the Muslim Ummah. The Zakat owed by those obligated to pay is 2.5% of one year’s (lunar year) total cumulative wealth. This amount is distributed to those eligible for Zakat, such as those experiencing poverty and hardship.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has said:
"Whoever pays the zakat on his wealth will have its evil removed from him" (Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Tabaraani).
Click here to pay your Zakat online.
Zakat as a Mean of Spiritual Purification
Zakat is not only a means to purify one's wealth but also a spiritual purification that serves as a means to draw an individual closer to the Creator, Allah SWT. Ibn Taimiah said, "The soul of one who gives zakat is blessed and so is his wealth.” It is clear from the above narration that in addition to being a moral obligation, Zakat is also a spiritual one, which is why millions of Muslims give Zakat to the poor every year.
"In their wealth there is a known share for the beggars and the destitute" (70:24-25)
We mentioned how Zakat is a means of connection between the person and Allah SWT. It also provides a connection between the giver and the recipient. The entire concept of donating a fraction of one's wealth to the poor is a highly honourable act, one that comes with valuable lessons as well as blessings. Zakat teaches Muslims self-discipline, allowing the giver to free themselves from the love of possessions and greed.
Who is eligible to Pay Zakat in Islam?
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. As such, it is compulsory for Muslims, provided they meet certain conditions and criteria. Any Muslim who possesses the required Nisab (the minimum amount of wealth that one must have before Zakat is payable) for one whole year is bound to pay Zakat on that wealth. Muslims must know precisely how much Zakat they owe and how to Calculate Zakat to ensure the intended recipient receives the correct amount.
Many people choose the blessed month of Ramadan to pay their Zakat, and for good reason. Ramadan is the month of blessings, and the rewards for all good deeds are far more significant in this blessed Ramadan than in any other month.
What is Nisab?
Nisab is the minimum amount a person must have for Zakat to become obligatory. Nisab means ‘origin’ or ‘beginning,’ for it is the amount wherein the recipient’s right in one’s wealth commences.
The Nisab was set by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at the equivalent of 85 grams of gold (AUD$8,032.50 as of 15/08/2023). Please note that gold price changes may increase or decrease depending on when you must pay your Zakat.
How Do I Calculate my Zakat?
Click here to use our Zakat Calculator for an accurate assessment.
Who are the Beneficiaries (Asnaf) of Zakat According to the Quran and Hadith?
To put it in simple terms, people who are poor and suffering are eligible to receive Zakat money. They can be any of the following:
Al-Masikiyn - The needy, destitute & dispossessed: Those below the poverty line, the impoverished, survivors of disaster, IDPs, refugees.
Al-Fuqara - The poor: On or around the poverty line, endemically poor, unemployed, under-employed.
Al-Aamiliyn Alayha - The Executors of Zakat al-Mal: Those who administer & manage the collection and distribution of Zakat.
Al-Muallafat Al-Qulubuhum - The Muslim Converts: This category was specifically designed to get new Muslim converts who were genuinely poor on their feet. It still exists to this day.
Al-Gharimiyn - People in Debt: Those in debt and facing hardship, putting them (and other kin) at risk of impoverishment and exposure to further vulnerabilities
Ibn al-Sabiyl - Travellers/Wayfarers: Muslims in the middle of their journey and out of money are eligible for zakat donations.
What can't Zakat Be Used For?
Burying the deceased
Clearing the debt of the deceased
Anything the Zakat recipient does not take ownership of, such as water wells, hospitals, etc
How MAA International Uses Zakat
With millions of Muslims donating their Zakat to relief aid organisations worldwide, it is a pivotal way to fight poverty. MAA uses these funds to help poor communities in isolated and remote corners of the world. We help them start small businesses, gain the skills needed to get back on their feet in today’s economy, and essentially come out of poverty. Zakat funds also go towards emergency relief in case of natural and conflicts, such as the Syrian & Yemen Emergency Appeals. Donate your Zakah today by using this link.
Making the Intention (Niyat) of Zakat
Making an intention is integral in Islam. It can be found in virtually every action within a Muslim's life. Muslims make an intention to pray before they pray. The same goes for fasting and Hajj. It is, therefore, mandatory to make the intention of giving Zakat, either at the time of organising the payment or at the time of payment.
General Conditions of Zakat
Making Niyat is only half the task. Muslims must also consider the following conditions to ensure their Zakat contribution is paid correctly.
Items That Fall Under the Scope of Zakat
Jewellery and Precious Metals: For example, Gold and Silver. Both come under Zakat, even if used merely for decorative purposes. The reason it’s included as part of your Zakat is because it contributes towards your cumulative wealth, and their worth must be tabulated when calculating Zakat.
Cash, Bonds, or Stock: Any cash, bonds, or stock one might have in their savings account. The amount should be in the bank for one year. Loans given or funds received are also part of the Zakat process.
Cattle and Crops: Cattle and crops over one’s needs.
What is the difference between tax and zakat?
Some people might think Zakat is a form of tax. It is not. Zakat and tax are two entirely different things. One is a spiritual act and an obligation as a caring human being; the other is a requirement of secular law. The concept of Zakat is to assist people experiencing poverty and those suffering to help them end their suffering and get back on their feet.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call us on 1800 100 786 or email us at email@example.com.