Islam has five pillars, Kalaima e Shahadat, Prayer (Salaah), Fast (Soam), Zakat and Hajj. It means that a Muslim has to fulfil the requirements of all these pillars of Islam to be a true and practicing Muslim. Zakat is one of it. Zakat is actually a practical approach to create social harmony among the rich and the poor. A society which does not have any connection and bonding among the privileged class and downtrodden is a miserable society. A social circle where haves and have-nots are bonded together in a relationship of sympathy, empathy and thankfulness, is surely a far better and prosperous society. Islam facilitates the circulation of wealth within different segments of society. It abhors the concentration of wealth in certain hands only. Zakat is the practical solution for this problem.
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What Zakat Actually Is?
Zakat is actually a phenomenon where every person who possess gold, silver, cattle or property (other than the residential house and car in use) in a certain amount or number, which is called Nisaab, he has to pay two and a half percent to the poor segment of the society. This, in terms of Islamic law and jurisprudence, is called Zakat. This 2 1/2% is a very little portion for a wealthy person, but it can work wonders in the life of a deprived person. It can help him fulfil the basic needs and meet his both ends meet easily.
Importance and purpose of Zakat?
Circulation of Wealth:
Islam emphasizes too much on the payment of Zakat. Its basic purpose is the circulation of wealth in every segment of society. In a society where wealth is stagnant and is concentrated in only a few hands, a large segment of society is always deprived of even basic needs. Islam prohibits the concentration of wealth and gives a practical way of circulation of wealth in the society. Its importance can be easily understood.
An Obligatory Charity:
Islam gives too much importance to giving alms and helping the needy. It emphasizes too much on solving the problems of a needy person. But the only determined and fixed way of helping the deprived ones is Zakat. There is no told or determined ratio of alms and sadaqaat and it is not obligatory too. But Zakat has a fixed ratio, and it is the religious obligation of every Muslim to pay Zakat every year.
Purification of Wealth:
One of the basic purposes of Zakat is to purify the wealth. A Muslim who always emphasize on lawful ways of earning, always wants to purify his wealth from any doubtful thing. The best way to purify wealth is the payment of Zakat every year from one`s belongings.
Prevention of crime:
Poverty and helplessness can cause many crimes in the society. A hadith describes that poverty even can lead to Kufr (dis believing). When a person is constantly being deprived of basic needs of life and a small segment of society, which is merciless towards his difficulties and problems is getting richer and richer day by day, he can commit any type of crime in helplessness and anger. In order to fill this difference, Zakat can work wonders.
Nisaab of Zakat:
Nisaab is the minimum amount of gold, silver or currency rupees or number of cattle etc, which is necessary for a person to possess to be qualified for paying Zakat.
If we talk about gold, a person who possesses almost 7 ½ tolas of gold should pay 2 1/2% of its price to a needy person, as zakat.
In case of silver, 52.5 tolas of silver is mandatory for a person to possess for a complete lunar year to contain the Nisaab e Zakat for silver.
The nisaab of Zakat for property, cattle and trading material is quite a complicated thing to describe in a short blog.
It is necessary for all above mentioned things to remain in the possession of the person for a complete lunar year, in order to qualify for payment of Zakat.
An Islamic state should spend 10% of the revenue from every resource of underground minerals on the disadvantaged and needy people of the state. It is a religious obligation of every Muslim state. for more information you can visit online zakat calculator
Zakat is not only a religious obligation, but it is a revolutionary step taken by Islam to eradicate poverty and sufferings of downtrodden.
Zakat can be spent only on specific expenses. These specific expenses are described in Quran as follows;
“The prescribed alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those employed to administer the funds, those whose hearts are reconciled to the faith, for freeing slaves and helping those in debts, for God`s cause, and for travelers in need. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is knowing and wise.”
According to this verse of Quran, following people are eligible for receiving zakat;
- The poor
- The needy
- People employed to administer Zakat
- People embracing Islam and their hearts needs to be reconciled.
- Freeing slaves from slavery
- Helping those in debt
- For God`s cause
- For travelers in need
In an Islamic state, the state and government is responsible for collection of Zakat. But now a days there is nothing like an “Islamic state” on the face of the earth. Most of the states has democracy as a system of government. Some has powerful monarchs. But an Islamic state in a true sense of the world does not exist. So there is a lesser concentration towards collection and distribution of Zakat on state level. But at the same time Zakat is not an option or a devotional part of Islamic beliefs. It is a farz, an obligatory practice for every Muslim. It is our duty to take great care of our Zakat. We should take great care of deprived people in our surroundings and pay our Zakat in time and every year regularly. QuranHost is the best online institute where you can learn and understand the concept of Zakat in Islam properly and completely.