Zakah

 

In the name of Allah most Gracious most Merciful.

“And be steadfast in prayer and give Zakat:
and whatever good you send forth for your souls before you,
you shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that you do.” (2:110)

Zakah (welfare contribution) is the third pillar of Islam. The Arabic word Zakah means “to purify or cleanse”. Zakah is to be paid once a year on savings at the rate of two and a half percent. This rate applies to cash, bank savings and gold and silver jewellery. The rate of cattle and agricultural produce is different.

Payment of Zakah is a form of worship and its main importance l ies in the fact that it fosters in us the qualities of sacrifice and rids us of selfishness and greed.

Zakah is not something God needs or receives. He is above any want or desire. He in His immeasurable Mercy, promises us tremendous rewards if we help our brethren. But there is one basic condition for being so rewarded. It is that when we pray in the name of God, we shall not expect nor demand any worldly gains from the persons receiving our gifts nor aim at making our mark as philantropists.

Zakah is an act of Ibadah. ‘Ibadah’ is an Arabic term which means worship and obedience. It includes all activities of life, if we do them to please Allah. We pay Zakah to gain Allah’s favour.

Zakah provides us with the opportunity og sharing our excess wealth with those less fortunate than ourselves. In fact, we and our wealth belong to Allah. He is the real owner and we are merely the trustees of His wealth. We do our duty as trustees if we pay Zakah as an obligatory part of Ibadah. (The words Zakah and Sadaqah are used interchangeably in the Quran)

Every well-to-do Muslim’s duty is to help his less fortunate, impoverished brothers. There are rightful claimants on every persons wealth. Zakah is distributed among the following classes of Muslims for relieving respective wants:-

The poor Muslims, to relieve distress.
The needy Muslims to supply the implements for earning their livelihood, and those whose hearts are inclined to embrace Islam, i.e., the converts to Islam, the new Muslims to enable them to settle down and meet their sudden needs.
The Muslims in debt, to free them from their liabilities incurred under pressing necessities.
The Muslim wayfarers, if any one of them be found to be stranded in a land foreign or strange to him and stands in need of help.
Muslim prisoners of war, for liberating them by payment of ransom money.
Muslim employees appointed by a Muslim Amir for the collection of Zakat, for the payment of their wages.
Those engaged in the way Allah, to defray the expenses for the defence and propagation of Islam.

Zakah must be distributed among the classes of Muslims for the the purposes enumerated with the Niyyat of fulfilling the obligation of Zakat and to see to it that the recipient is made the absolute owner in his or her sole right of what is given to him or her.

“Whatever of good you give benefits your own souls, and you
shall only do so seeking the “Face” of Allah. Whatever good you give,
shall be rendered back to you, and you shall not be dealth with unjustly. (2:272)

Nisab and Rate of Zakah
Wealth on which Zakah is payable Amount which determines the payment of Zakah (Nisab) Rate of Zakah
1. Agricultural produce 5 Awsuq (also Awsaq, 653 kg) per harvest* 5% in case of irrigated land; 10% of produce from rain-fed land
2. Gold, silver, ornaments of gold and silver 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver* 2.5% of value
3. Cash in hand or at the bank Value of 595 grams of silver* 2.5% of amount
4. Merchandise Value of 595 grams of silver* 2.5% of value of goods
5. Cows and buffaloes 30 in number For every 30, one 1-year-old; for every 40, one 2-yaer-old.
6. Goats and sheep 40 in number One for the first 40; two for 120; three for 300; one more for every 100.
7. Produce of mines Any quantities 20% of value of produce
8. Camels 5 in number a) up to 24, one sheep or goat for each five camels
b) 25-35, one 1-year-old she-camel
c) 36-45, one 2-year-old she-camel
d) 46-60, one 3-year-old she-camel
e) 61-75, one 4-year-old she-camel
f) 76-90, two 2-year old she-camels
g) 91-120, two 3-year-old she-camels
h) 121 or more, one 2-year-old she-camel for each additional 40, or one 3-year-old she-camel for each additional 50
*Fiqhuz Zakah~Yusuf al-Qaradawi, vol.1, pages 360, 372-373 (Beirut, 1977).
English translation by Monzer Kahf, pages 232-236 (London 1999).