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This article is a part ofRamadan 2018
For Muslims, Paying Zakat is simply following the commandment of Allah (swt). This act of giving identifies people of the Islamic faith, like the five daily prayers, as Zakat is also one of the five pillars of Islam. These five core principles comprise of the Islamic faith. As such, it holds particular importance. Such is the importance of Zakat, that it is mentioned 32 times in the Holy Quran. It is one of the most important tasks Allah (swt) has assigned to Muslims after Salaat.
Allah (swt) has made it mandatory on Muslims to allocate a certain amount of their saved yearly income for Zakat. The money collected for Zakat is then used to provide assistance to people, families and communities who need it. Islam encourages Muslims to donate generously and to give more than that is required if they are able to do so.
Non-Muslims are not obligated to pay Zakat, however the humanitarian principle of it is something that is universal. In a nutshell, it’s an opportunity for Muslims to help others in their community or in different parts of the world. These are people who cannot take care of themselves including the disabled, the elderly, those in debt and those living in poverty. It is also an act made compulsory by Allah (swt) and as such, paying Zakat shows obedience and adherence to His instructions.
The literal meaning of Zakat is purification. In this instance, giving Zakat means to purify oneself, one’s wealth and one’s soul by giving towards the welfare of the Muslim Ummah. The very first mention of Zakat in the Qur’an comes in Surah Al-Muzammil.
“And establish regular prayers and give regular charity (Zakat); and loan to God a beautiful loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls, ye shall find it in God's presence, Yea, better and greater reward and seek ye the grace of God, for God is most-forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur’an 73:20)
The Qur’an is as clear about giving Zakat as it is about who is entitled to receive it. Surah At-Tauba outlines the beneficiaries of Zakat.
“Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those who are employed to administer and collect it, and the new converts, and for those who are in bondage, and in debt and service of the cause of God, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained by God, and God is the All-Knowing, the Wise.” (Qur’an 9:60)
Muslim Aid has been providing relief aid and financial assistance for thousands of families around the world for close to three decades, thanks in large to Zakat donations from our valued donors. These funds have enabled us to provide clean water, clothing, medicine and medical equipment, food and shelter to the hundreds of thousands of people living in dire situations. Be sure to pay Zakat this Ramadan and do your part in helping the Muslim Ummah.