Zakat is one of the many duties that Allah, the Most High, has ordained upon us as Muslims. It is a beautiful opportunity to improve our character, increase in our faith and contribute to the growth of our community.
Allah (SWT) says, “And establish the prayer and pay the Zakat and bow (in prayer) with those who bow.” [al-Qur’an 2:43]
=== WHAT DOES ZAKAT MEAN? ===
Linguistically, Zakat means to grow, increase and purify.
In the Sharia, Zakat refers to the annual obligatory duty upon Muslims to pay 2.5% of specified components of wealth, by those who have above a minimum specified level. [NZF.org.uk]
===== ZAKAT IN THE QUR’AN =====
Allah (SWT) mentions in the Qur’an that giving Zakat is a way to attain His mercy, His help and a means to strengthen the bonds within the ummah,
1) A way to attain Allah's mercy:
"My mercy encompasses all things. So I will decree it for those who fear Me and give Zakat and those who believe in Our verses." [al-Qur’an 7:156].
2) A way to attain Allah's help:
“Verily, Allah will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. (And they are) those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give Zakat and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of (all) matters.” [al-Qur’an 22:40-40]
3) To strengthen brotherhood in the ummah:
“But if they repent, establish prayer, and give Zakat, then they are your brothers in religion.” [al-Qur’an 9:11]
== CONDITIONS OF PAYING ZAKAT ==
Zakat becomes obligatory upon a Muslim when their wealth reaches the value of the Nisab (minimum threshold). This Nisab is equivalent to 87.48 grams of gold and 612.36 grams of silver. The value of this can be calculated by the gold and silver rate in your country.
Once a whole lunar year passes after possessing the Nisab, Muslims are then required to give 2.5% of their assets that Zakat is due upon.
Another condition of the wealth is that it must have the ability to grow and increase.
====== WHO GIVES ZAKAT? ======
The person paying the Zakat must have reached the age of puberty, be Muslim, be sane and have complete ownership of the Nisab.
Except for the Hanafi school of thought, the other three schools believe that the Zakat is also due upon a Muslim who is an orphan, child and insane.
=== WHO IS ZAKAT GIVEN TO? ===
The following verse summarises the people who Zakat can be given to;
“Verily, (the prescribed) charity is only for
 the poor and
 the needy, and
 those employed to collect (the funds), and
 to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam), and
 to free the captives, and
 to those in debt, and
 for the cause of Allah, and
 to the wayfarer.
(This is) an obligation from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [al-Qur’an 9:60]
======= IN CONCLUSION =======
Zakat is an extraordinary way to eliminate greed and provide security to those individuals who need it the most. Through it, Muslims are able to increase in their faith, beautify their character and work towards a more stable and prosperous ummah.
May Allah make the Zakat we give a purification of ourselves and a means to increase us in our faith, our wealth and all the blessings in our lives.
Nabila Sara Ahmed
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