3: Charity (Zakat/Zakah)
"My mercy encompasses all things. I will decree it for those who lead a righteous life, give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and believe in our revelations ....." (Qur’an 7:156)
Charity is obligatory upon every financially stable Muslim in Islam.
Allah blesses people with wealth, and expects the wealth to be shared with those that are less fortunate, for the betterment of society as a whole. Zakat means “purification”, because it purifies one of greed. Just as Allah is generous with us, we should be generous to others.
Zakat must be paid on different categories of property — gold, silver, money; livestock; agricultural produce; and business commodities — and is payable each year after one year’s possession. It requires an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth and assets.
In Islam, a person is not the owner of wealth, it belongs to Allah, so we should spend of wealth in a way that pleases Allah. Hoarding wealth is not what Muslims should be doing; instead, they should be helping others with it, as our intentions should be to help others as Allah has helped us. The poor have this right over the wealthy.
Allah does not need money or wealth of any form, as He is free from all needs.
Zakat should be given for the sake of Allah, not for fame, or reputation of a philanthropist. The one whom which zakat is given should not be made to feel less, or shamed for their need, nor reminded of the help they have been given.
Zakat should be used for specific purposes such as, helping the poor, relieving people of their debts, assisting travelers, helping those whom are inclined to Islam to warm their hearts, or freeing slaves by buying their freedom from their owners. Islam has elevated the freeing of slaves to a form of worship!
Islam provides a systematic solution for social security by implementing zakat.
Another form of charity, which is not obligatory, but is highly recommended is called ‘sadaqa’, which is best if given in secret, to keep ones heart pure of intention for it to be purely for the sake of Allah, and not praise from others.
The more you help and give to others, the more help you will receive from Allah.
Note: Zakat on wealth (3rd Pillar of Islam), should not be confused with Zakat al-fitr (which is paid at the end of Ramadan in the form of staple foods).
Recommended Reading Related to Zakat:
How to Determine What the Nisaab Amount is?
The nisaab is the equivalent of 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver. You can search what that value of gold and silver is HERE . Click the drop down option from the top right corner to select gold or silver, then select your country and find the value. If your monetary wealth is less than that, then you do not have to pay zakat on it. If it reaches that amount, then the zakat is due on it, which is 2.5% after 1 year passed from reaching the nisaab amount.
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