Zakat

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There are two categories of charities in Islam - obligatory and voluntary

Obligatory

  • Zakat on wealth, including savings (traditionally gold and silver), investments, and trading/turnover stock (and cash in hand)
  • Zakat on livestock which covers camels, cattle and sheep and goats as one category
  • Zakat on agricultural produce, including grains, pulses, cereals and in some case other produce if they are to be dried or pressed for oil
  • Zakat on the produce of mines and also buried treasure

and in some cases

Zakat-al-fitr

Zakat al-fitr is very different to the Islamic pillar of Zakat. It is connected to the pillar of Sawm (fasting in Ramadan) and acts as a purification of the fast itself.

  • Almsgiving on self, Zakat al-fitr (fast-breaking zakah)

Voluntary

  • Donation to build mosques and schools
  • Helping non-Muslims (those in need of non-Muslim citizens).

Minimums and amounts

It is not written anywhere in the Qur'an that the faithful must give a specific amount, in fact it goes so far to say that there is no specific amount or rate. However, most Muslims pay 2.5% of their income as is specified in the books of Muhammad al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj.

It is an obligation on Muslims to pay 1/40 (2.5%) of the wealth which they have had for a full lunar year, 1/40 (2.5%) of goods used for trade, and 5% or 10% of certain type of harvests depending on irrigation.[8][9] Exempt from Zakat are a person's house and personal transportation.

Zakat is not mandatory on harvest if the total did not reach the minimum limit (nisāb) of about 653 kg (1,440 lb) of crops,[8][9] nor on gold amounts if the owner has less than 85 g (3.0 oz) of gold or less than 595 g (21.0 oz) of silver.[8][9]

The Qur'an specifies that Zakat should be paid upon receipt of income in the passage :

Most Muslims calculate and pay their Zakat at the end of the lunar year as said above. In some communities this is frowned upon.

Schedule of Zakah

Who is entitled to receive Zakat

Eight categories of individuals may receive the zakat:[12][13]

  • 1. The needy (Muslims) - Fuqara'
  • 2. Extremely poor (Muslims) - Al-Masakin
  • 3. Those employed to collect - Aamileen
  • 4. Those whose hearts are to be won - Muallafatul Quloob
  • 5. To free the captives - Ar-Riqaab
  • 6. Those in debt (Muslims only) - Al Ghaarimeen
  • 7. In the way of Allah - Fi sabil Allah - aka jihad or holy war
  • 8. Wayfarer (Muslims)- Ibnus-Sabeel

As a general rule, the recipient must be a living Muslim who does not possess wealth equal to or in excess of a prescribed threshold amount nisab. Those who do not give money are either poor or will go to prison.

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