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What is Zakat ?

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  • Zafar Khan
    What is Zakat http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Park/6443/Zakat/ One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2004
      What is Zakat


      One of the most important principles of Islam is that
      all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore
      held by human beings in trust. The word Zakat means
      both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are
      purified by setting aside a proportion for those in
      need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting
      back balances and encourages new growth.

      Zakat is the amount of money that every adult,
      mentally stable, free, and financially able Muslim,
      male and female, has to pay to support specific
      categories people.

      This category of people is defined in surah at-Taubah
      (9) verse 60: " The alms are only for the poor and the
      needy, and those who collect them, and those whose
      hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives
      and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for)
      the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is
      knower, Wise." (The Holy Qur'an 9:60).

      The obligatory nature of Zakat is firmly established
      in the Qur'an, the Sunnah (or hadith), and the
      consensus of the companions and the Muslim scholars.
      Allah states in Surah at-Taubah verses 34-35: "34:O ye
      who believe! there are indeed many among the priests
      and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance
      of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And
      there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it
      not in the way of Allah. announce unto them a most
      grievous penalty- 35:On the Day when heat will be
      produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and
      with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks,
      and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- "This
      is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves:
      taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!" (The Holy
      Qur'an 9:34-35).

      The prophet (pbuh) said: "Any owner of gold and silver
      who does not deliver from them their right, on the Day
      of Quiyamah (Day of Judgment), (the gold and silver)
      will be shaped as foils of fire. Then it will be
      heated in the fire of Hell; (and) then with it he will
      be ironed on his side, his forehead, and his back"
      (narrated by Muslim).

      It is agreed between Muslims in all the centuries the
      obligatory nature of paying Zakat for gold and silver,
      and from those the other kinds of currency.

      Zakat is obligatory when a certain amount of money,
      called the nisab is reached or exceeded. Zakat is not
      obligatory if the amount owned is less than this
      nisab. The nisab (or minimum amount) of gold and
      golden currency is 20 mithqal, this is approximately
      85 grams of pure gold. One mithqal is approximately
      4.25 grams. The nisab of silver and silver currency is
      200 dirhams, which is approximately 595 grams of pure
      silver. The nisab of other kinds of money and currency
      is to be scaled to that of gold, 85 grams of pure
      gold. This means that the nisab of money is the price
      of 85 grams of 999-type (pure) gold, on the day in
      which Zakat is paid.

      When is Zakat Due ?

      1. Passage of One Lunar Year:
      Zakat is obligatory after a time span of one lunar
      year passes with the money in the control of it's
      owner. Then the owner needs to pay 2.5% (or 1/40) of
      the money as Zakat. (A lunar year is approximately 355
      2. Deduction of Debts:
      The owner should deduct any amount of money he or she
      borrowed from others; then check if the rest reaches
      the necessary nisab, then pays Zakat for it.
      If the owner had enough money to satisfy the nisab at
      the beginning of the year, then the money increased
      (in profits, salaries, inheritance, grants...etc.),
      the owner needs to add the increase to the nisab
      amount owned at the beginning of the year; then pay
      Zakat, 2.5%, of the total at the end of the lunar
      year. (there are small differences in the fiqh schools
      Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakat
      individually. For most purposes this involves the
      payment each year of two and a half percent of one's
      capital. (Zakat Calculator)

      A pious person may also give as much as he or she
      pleases as sadaqa, and does so 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

      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 if 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.'

      More about Zakah at:

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