There are Five Pillars of Islam, one of which is Zakat. For those new to Islam or who don’t have guidance from the Muslim community, getting to grips with the five pillars – specifically Zakat – can be relatively difficult. In this event, or for anyone looking to find out more about it, our complete guide on the rules of Zakat will tell you everything you need to know about the third pillar.
What is Zakat?
Zakat, also known as Zakah, is the third pillar of Islam and means ‘to purify’ your wealth in the name of Allah (SWT).
Charity in Islam is important, and there are many different obligations to follow, some of which may get confused. Sometimes, Zakat gets muddled up with Zakat Ul-Fitr, but they are different. Zakat Ul-Fitr – also known as Fitrana – is a compulsory donation (traditionally food, now more so a monetary donation to a charity who distribute food on your behalf) made before Eid. Zakat is an obligatory 2.5% donation all able Muslims make on their excess wealth to help those less fortunate and in need of assistance. If you’re wondering, can we give Zakat before Ramadan, the answer is yes, you can. It is not specific to a certain event or time of the year, although often it is given in the last 10 days of Ramadan as it is believed the rewards for giving are greatest at this time of year.
Through giving Zakat, the divide between the poor and rich is lessened and Muslims are reminded that being wealthy is not everything and that Allah (SWT) – whilst He can bless us with wealth – can take our fortune away. Through Zakat, we are able to become better Muslims.
In order for your charitable donation to be counted as Zakat, you must donate it with the clear intention of it being for Zakat. If you donate to charity but do not do so specifically in the name of Zakat, it will not count as a zakat payment.
Who is Eligible for Zakat?
There are eight categories listed in the Qur’an as being eligible to receive Zakat, and they are as follows:
- Those living in poverty and with little to no income referred to as Fuqara
- People who do not have access to basic needs and amenities, known as Al-Masakin
- Individuals or organisations employed to distribute Zakat, also called Amil
- Those who are new to Islam and friends of the community, referred to as Muallaf
- People living in captivity and victims of slavery, known as Riqab
- People who are in debt beyond their means, called Gharmin
- Individuals who work for Allah’s cause, also called Fisabilillah
- People who are travelling and require help or assistance, referred to as Ibnus Sabil
Simply put, those outside of these eight groups are not able to receive Zakat, but there are other rules too. For clarity, here are some of the most frequently asked Zakat questions and the answers.
Can I give Zakat to my husband?
If your husband fits into one of the eight categories above, e.g. he is in debt, you may pay your Zakat to him.
Can I give Zakat to my wife?
No, you can’t give Zakat to your wife because you are obligated to provide for her irrespective of Zakat.
Can we give Zakat to our parents?
You cannot give Zakat to your parents because as you transcend into adulthood, you have a duty to look after your parents.
Can a mother give Zakat to her son or daughter?
In the same way children cannot give Zakat to their parents, parents cannot give Zakat to their children because they are their dependants and therefore have a duty to provide for them.
Can I give Zakat to my aunt or uncle?
Yes, it is possible for you to give Zakat to your aunt or uncle because they are not immediate family and have no obligation to support you, but they must fit it into one of the eight categories.
Can Zakat be given to siblings?
Your siblings do not depend on you financially so it is possible for you to give Zakat to them provided they are eligible.
Can we give Zakat to Syed?
Those with the name Syed are descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) and so as per the Qur’an cannot receive Zakat. If a Syed is in difficulty, you are permitted to give them a gift but you cannot do so in the name of Zakat.
Can I pay Zakat to non-Muslims?
You can give your Zakat to a non-Muslim as long as they are eligible per the eight categories in the Qur’an and are not involved in fighting Muslims or forcing them out of their homes.
Can you give Zakat to build a mosque?
No, it is not permitted to give Zakat to build any type of building because it is not listed in the eight categories in the Qur’an.
Do I Need to Pay Zakat?
Not every Muslim will be qualified to pay Zakat. First, you must be:
- A practicing Muslim
- An adult (past the age of puberty)
- Of sound mind
- Of free will
- Have a consistent wealth flow
In addition to this, your wealth must exceed the nisab threshold after your monthly bills have been deducted. Nisab is calculated to the current market value of 612.36g of silver or 87.48g of gold. You must hold your wealth for a full Islamic year (Hawl) before you are required to pay Zakat. If you start the year above the nisab threshold and finish it above the nisab threshold, but your wealth dropped below the nisab threshold during the year, you are still eligible to pay zakat.
Wealth that is counted towards your zakat contribution includes:
- Money in the bank
- Investments and stocks
- The value of secondary homes/vehicles
- Gold and silver in your possession
If you do not meet the nisab threshold or cannot hold it for a full Islamic year, you are not required to pay Zakat.
How Much is Zakat?
Zakat is charged at a rate of 2.5%. This means you should donate 2.5% of your wealth which exceeds the nisab value. If you’re struggling to work out how much zakat you need to pay, use our zakat calculator.
If you don’t exceed the nisab value, you need not pay.
Pay Your Zakat
Orphans in Need is a charity authorised to distribute Zakat and so is a cause you can pay your Zakat to. We will use your Zakat to help vulnerable orphans and widows. Every little helps; as little as £360 can clothe, feed, shelter, educate and provide healthcare for an orphan in need.
Calculate and pay your Zakat here to help a child or a widow in need.