Zakat is a mandatory charitable donation that applies to all adult Muslims who meet the Nisab threshold. It is the third Pillar of Islam and refers to the obligatory donation to charity expected of every qualifying Mulsim, as opposed to an act of voluntary generosity through Sadaqah. There are certain regulations surrounding who is allowed to benefit from Zakat donations.
With this being said, Zakat isn’t to be confused with Zakat al-Fitr; Zakat al-Fitr is a mandatory donation that must be made ahead of Eid al-Fitr.
Here, we will cover the primary concerns of Zakat that are queried by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Zakat refers to an annual donation to charity that is required by Islamic law. The grounds of this donation apply to all disposable income, qualifying property, and other assets. Within the Five Pillars of Islam, Zakat is the third.
Zakat directly translates to “that which purifies”. This refers to the notion that Zakat cleanses one’s wealth.
There is no set time frame in which Zakat needs to be paid, as long as it’s done on an annual basis. Upon reaching the Nisab threshold and holding it for a full lunar year, you will be required to pay Zakat.
As previously mentioned, Zakat may be paid at any time of the year. These times include prior to, during, or subsequent to Ramadan. Lots of Muslims decide to donate their Zakat during Ramadan as this is when they’re able to reap the most rewards. As well as this, Zakat al-Fitr (Fitrana) will need to be paid during Ramadan by all adults with food in excess of their needs.
Allah (SWT) permits Zakat to be spent in eight separate ways, including:
As you can see, Mosques aren’t included with the above list, meaning that Zakat can’t be used to build a Mosque.
Educational institutions like schools aren’t eligible for receiving Zakat as Zakat payments are intended to provide someone who has nothing with something. However, if the students are eligible for Zakat, it would be possible to donate to them.
There are instances in which one can pay Zakat on behalf of someone else. For example, a husband may pay Zakat on his wife’s behalf; however, she must be made aware of the circumstances and authorise the donation.
A son wouldn’t’ be eligible to receive Zakat from his mother as it’s not permissible for someone to make a charitable donation towards their dependents. Dependents such as children don’t have the financial means of supporting themselves, meaning parents are obliged to do so. Other relatives who aren’t obliged to provide for said children may donate their Zakat to them.
If a husband falls under one of the eligibility categories regarding Zakat, his wife may donate her Zakat to him. Despite this, a husband isn’t permitted to donate his Zakat to his wife as he’s already required to financially support her.
Uncles or aunts who fall under one of the eight categories may receive Zakat donations. This is because nephews and nieces aren’t automatically obliged to support their uncles and aunts. For this reason, aunts and uncles may also donate their Zakat to eligible nephews and nieces.
Like parents aren’t allowed to donate their Zakat to their children, the same applies to children and their parents. As children enter adulthood, they’re obligated to support their parents in a repayment of the care that they received in youth.
There is no set rule that siblings must care for one another, meaning Zakat can be donated to any qualifying sisters or brothers.
The Qur’an dictates that descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) can’t receive Zakat or any other charitable donations. This still applies, even if they’re considered poor. Anyone named Syed should receive aid from their Muslim Brothers and Sisters should they find themselves in difficulty. As long as this isn’t regarded as an act of charity, the aid is permitted.
Family homes and business premises do not contribute to Zakat costs. However, land that produces revenue (e.g., a let-out property) is an asset, meaning Zakat applies to the generated income.
Similarly, land that has been bought with the intention of selling is considered as commercial goods. As a result, Zakat applies. This will be calculated via the land’s value.
Zakat refers to two types: Zakat ul-Mal and Zakat ul-Fitr. Zakat ul-Mal is the obligatory annual payment that can be made at any time. However, Zakat ul-Fitr (Fitrana) must be made during Ramadan, ahead of the Eid prayer.