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Charity & Donation
Zakat (Al-Mal & Al-Fitr)
The Meaning and Purpose of Zakat
The literal meaning of Zakat is ‘to purify’. This refers to purifying one’s wealth for the will of Allah (SWT); to acknowledge that everything we own belongs to Allah (SWT) and to work towards providing and supporting the Muslim Ummah. Zakat is not only a means to purify one’s wealth but it is also a spiritual purification which serves as a means to draw an individual closer to the Creator, Allah SWT.
According to Islamic regulations, Zakat is 2.5% of one year’s total cumulative wealth. This amount is then distributed to the poor.
Allah has stated in the Quran, “Indeed whosoever purifies himself (tazakkaa) shall achieve success” (87:14).
Who Should Pay Zakat?
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. As such, it is compulsory on Muslims, provided they meet certain conditions and criteria. Any Muslim who possesses the required nisaab (the minimum amount of wealth that one must have before zakat is payable) for one whole year is bound to pay Zakat on that wealth.
Many Muslims choose the month of Ramadan in which to pay their zakat and for good reasons. Ramadan is the month of blessings and the rewards for all good deeds is far greater in this blessed month than in any other.
The Beneficiaries of Zakat?
The beneficiaries of Zakat are specific can be any of the following:
- The Poor & The Needy – these people may have some wealth and funds but it is not enough to make up for the nisaab.
- The Destitute – People who have no wealth or funds. They are living their life on the very basics necessities of life.
- Zakat Collectors – People who collect Zakat as well as distribute it.
- Muslim Converts – This category was specifically designed to get new Muslim converts who were genuinely poor on their feet. It still exists to this day.
- People in Debt – People who are in debt but cannot pay it back are eligible for Zakat.
- Travellers – Muslims who are in the middle of their journey and out of money are eligible for zakat donations.
Zakat Cannot Be Used For
- building mosques
- to bury the deceased
- to clear the debt of the deceased
How ISV Uses Zakat
With millions of Muslims donating their Zakat to relief aid organisations around the world, it is a pivotal way to fight poverty. ISV uses these funds to help poor communities in isolated and remote corners of the world.
Items That Fall Under the Scope of Zakat
Jewellery and Precious Metal – Gold and Silver. Both come under Zakat even if they are used merely for decorative purposes. The reason behind it is simple; they contribute towards your cumulative wealth.
Bank Accounts – Any cash, bonds, stock one might have in their savings account. The amount should be in the bank for one year. Loans given or funds received are also part of the Zakat process.
Cattle and Crops – Cattle and crops that are in excess of one’s needs.
General Conditions of Zakat
Recipient’s Eligibility: It is absolutely imperative that every shred of aid given reaches only those who need it most. As such, recipients of Zakat must be sufficiently poor to receive it.
Paying Zakat In Advance: People who wish to pay for Zakat for future years can certainly do so. Keep in mind that the prepaid amount can be offset against the actual zakat liability incurred in future years.
Payment in Kind: Zakat can be paid in many ways. The ideal way for today’s fast paced world is cash or if some people prefer, they can pay in kind as long as the value of goods are equal to the cash amount and furthermore, the recipient has agreed to accept the goods in kind.