Giving help and hope to vulnerable
What is Zakat?
Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam. It is the amount of money that every mentally stable, free and Muslim, who is in possession of wealth above the Nisab threshold, has to pay yearly (lunar). This amount is one-fortieth or 2.5% of their wealth above the Nisab amount. This zakat is only due on wealth and assets held onto for more than a lunar year The zakat of every Muslim is then distributed to those who meet the criteria to receive it.
What is Nisab?
Nisab is the standard to determine the liability of paying zakat. This can be explained as the minimum amount of wealth required to make a Muslim liable to paying zakat. This amount is sometimes referred to as the Nisab Threshold. Nisab is to possess 20 Mithqal of gold or equivalent amount of money or trade goods in excess of one's debts and basic needs.
Who is eligible to receive Zakat?
The Holy Qur'an determined who is eligible to receive Zakat, stating:
As-Sadaqat (Zakat) are only for the Fuqara' (poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (Zakat funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Chapter at-Tawbah Tevbe, 60
Zakat cannot be given to your immediate family. There are 8 categories of people that can receive Zakat and they are as follows;
- The Fakir – The poor who do not have wealth above the Nisab amount
- The Masakin – The needy who have nothing.
- The Amil – Officials in charge of collecting zakat
- Muallafa al-Qulub – Those whose hearts are to be reconciled meaning, new Muslims or friends of the Muslim community
- Those is bondage – Slaves and those held in captivity
- People burdened with unmanageable debt
- Fisebilillah – For people who are struggling or working in the path of Allah
- Misafir – Wayfarer (Travelers) who is left alone in a foreign land and is in need of money to get back to his destination or to fulfil his objective of traveling.
The importance of Zakat
Through Zakat the able can uplift the poor, help those that are in need and comfort those who are experiencing hardships. The Pillar of Zakat establishes the rights of the poor and needy, and helps to release those who are held captive, physically or by debts, and also helps the spread the word of Allah (S.W.T.). Ultimately Zakat has the power to change the world and it all starts with you paying it.