What is Zakat and why is it important?

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Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a significant part of the faith. 

In accordance with Islamic law, Muslims donate a fixed portion of their income to community members in need. This can be donating a portion of their wealth to charities or community causes. 

Zakat can be paid out at any time of the Lunar year and those who qualify for it must be able to meet a certain pay threshold. 

What is Zakat?

Zakat is described as the third pillar of Islam and means giving, or charity. 

By following this pillar, it means a Muslim must deduct a certain amount of their wealth in order to support the Islamic community. 

Money can be put towards taking care of important holy places in an individual’s community, such as mosques. 

Funds can also be used to give assistance or care to those in need who are impoverished. 

It’s believed Zakat can allow an individual to experience balance and growth. 

As well as looking to improve holy places in one’s community, or help those individually in need, a Muslim may also donate money to a charity. 

The five principles of Zakat

There are five chief principles that should be followed when giving Zakat. 

These are:  

  1. The giver must declare to God his intention to give the Zakat
  2. The Zakat must be paid on the day that it is due.
  3. After the offering, the payer must spend more than what is spent on their usual means. 
  4. Payment must be in kind. This means if one is wealthy then he or she needs to pay a portion of their income. If a person does not have much money, then they should compensate for it in different ways, such as good deeds and good behaviour toward others.
  5. The Zakat must be distributed in the community from which it was taken

You can find a handy visualisation of the Five Pillars of Islam on Coggle

The Importance of Zakat

Zakat is important as it’s a way for Muslims to ‘purify’ their wealth, address economic inequality and give back to their community. 

Put simply, Zakat means purification. 

This indicates that a payment made makes the rest of one’s wealth legally and religiously pure. 

The principle of knowing that all things belong to God is essential to purification and growth, according to followers of Islam. 

How much Zakat should you pay?

Everyone will pay a different Zakat. 

In simple terms, your Zakat is calculated as 2.5% of your savings and financial assets. This can come from money that isn’t used towards living expenses. 

Any income used to pay for things like bills, house payments or essential needs isn’t included in the calculation. 

Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth that acts as a threshold to determine whether Zakat is obligatory. If what you own is more than Nisab, then it means you are not eligible to pay Zakat that year.

Gold and silver are the two values used to calculate the nisab threshold. The nisab is the value of 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.

However, with that being said, if someone is not wealthy they can compensate in different ways. This could mean good deeds and behaviour towards others. 

How is Zakat distributed?

There are eight groups eligible to receive Zakat. 

 They are: 

  • The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent.
  • The needy (al-masâkîn), meaning someone who is in difficulty.
  • Zakat administrators.
  • Those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community.
  • Those in bondage (slaves and captives).
  • The debt-ridden.
  • In the cause of God.
  • The wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or travelling with few resources.

Ramadan Zakat Fund

GoFundMe is the perfect place to start if you want to distribute funds this Ramadan. 

As funds are donated all over the world, GoFundMe’s Ramadan Zakat Fund  equally distributes your Zakat to five Muslim charities with just one donation:

  • Ummah Welfare Trust – Works to provide emergency relief such as food and medical aid in times of conflict or natural disaster. It also reconstructs and maintains homes, orphanages and schools. They also help to establish medical and rehabilitation clinics and sources of clean water.
  • National Zakat Foundation – The NZF works to give Zakat to those who should be receiving it in the UK. These people include some of the most vulnerable members of the community such as: the homeless, refugees, asylum seekers and the elderly.
  • Orphans In Need – Orphans in Need is a Muslim charity that supports widows and orphans with a focus on sustainability, offering help to the neediest around the world. Orphans in Need believe that every child, everywhere, has the right to a happy and healthy life.
  • Muslim Global Relief – MGR provides immediate help in times of disaster, whether caused by natural causes or conflict, to help alleviate the suffering of the needy and destitute members of society anywhere in the world.
  • Penny Appeal – The Penny Appeal provides aid to those in poverty across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. They help with water solutions, providing food, giving care to orphans and helping in emergencies where it is needed. 

From helping those in need with food packs to helping people with housing, this is a safe way to make sure your funds are going a long way to help. 

Every online donation is protected with our GoFundMe Giving Guarantee, which means you will get a full refund in the rare case something isn’t right. Click through to learn more about how our guarantee protects you.

Written by olivia