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Zakaah  (Alms giving)

Zakaah is the third pillar of Islam. Due to its great importance, it has been coupled with Salaah (prayer) in many places in the Quran. In most places where Muslims are enjoined to perform Salaah, they are also commanded to pay Zakaah. Allaah said (what means):

"And perform As-Salaah (prayer), and give Zakaah, and whatever of good (deeds that Allaah loves) you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allaah. Certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what you do."

 [Quran 2:110]

Allaah ordered the Muslims to pay Zakaah to the poor. If the rich sincerely paid their Zakaah, they will be obedient to Allaah and would deserve to be rewarded. Yet, if they did not, they would be sinners and deserve punishment in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

Allaah enjoined Zakaah on the rich in order to purify their souls from miserliness and to train them to spend their money in the way of Allaah. As well as this, Zakaah purifies the hearts of the poor from harboring feelings such as envy and malice towards the rich. In this way Zakaah strengthens the ties of brotherhood between the Muslims, creates a feeling of mutual love between the poor and the rich, and colors the society with solidarity.

Allaah blesses the money of the Zakaah payer in this world and guides him to the best ways to increase and invest it. In addition, Allaah stores for him the best and greatest of rewards in the Hereafter.

  • Property on which Zakaah is due:

Gold, silver, trade goods, plants, fruit, and cattle including camels, cows, and sheep.

  • Prerequisites of paying Zakaah:

Zakaah is obligatory on a Muslim on different types of property once the following prerequisites are fulfilled:

  1. The property should be completely owned by its owner who has free will to use it however he wishes.

  2. The property should have reached a certain amount defined by Islamic Sharee`ah as "Nisaab" (It refers to the minimum amount of property liable to payment of Zakaah). There is no Zakaah on small property which did not reach the Nisaab.

  3. A Hijri year should have elapsed while possessing the Nisaab except for plants and fruit as Zakaah that is due on them should be given out on the very day they are harvested.

  • Zakaah on money

In order to make it easy for people, banknotes and metal coins replaced gold and silver currencies and they have become the basic means for business transactions.

Jurists determined that Zakaah on money is like Zakaah on gold items and they put certain conditions for paying it. If money reached the equivalent of the price of 85 grams of gold and a Hijri year passed while it is in one's possession, the amount of Zakaah is a quarter of a tenth (2.5%).

  • Zakaah on trade goods

These are articles owned to use for trade that could be obtained by buying or selling with the expectation of achieving profits. Not everything that is bought is considered trade goods. A person may buy clothes to wear, furniture for his home, or a car for his own use. All these are not considered trade goods because they are designated for personal use or possession.

If goods are bought with the aim of reselling them and making a profit, Zakaah is due on them if they reach the Nisaab which is the equivalent of the price of 85 grams of gold and if a Hijri year passed with such goods in one's possession.

  • Zakaah on cattle

Islam enjoined Zakaah on certain animals which achieve benefits for man such as camels, cows, buffalos, sheep, and goats, provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. They should reach the Nisaab. The Nisaab of camels is five heads, that of cows and buffalos is thirty heads, while the Nisaab of sheep is forty heads. If there are less than these, no Zakaah is due on them.

  2. A Hijri year must have passed while they are in one's possession.

  3. The animals should be raised either for their milk or for reproduction.

  4. The animals should be grazing on free grass throughout the whole year or most of the year. Their owner should not feed them out of his own money.

  • Channels of paying Zakaah

Channels of paying Zakaah are the avenues in which Zakaah money that is collected from the rich is distributed. Islam defined eight channels as mentioned in the following verse (which means):

"As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the poor, and the needy and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allaah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in Allah cause), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise." [Quran 9:60]

The eight channels are:

1.The poor They do not have money and at the same time they do not have the ability to earn their living, or they may have insufficient money that does not fulfill their basic needs.

 

2.The needy They have better conditions than the poor but they do not have enough money to support their basic needs.

3.Those employed to collect Zakaah They are the employees charged to collect Zakaah, guard and distribute it.

4.To attract the hearts of those who have been inclined towards Islam They are a group of people given – according to the sole discretion of the ruler as he considers beneficial to the Muslim society – a share of Zakaah in order to attract them to embrace Islam or help them adhere to Islam.

5.To free slaves Zakaah is paid in order to free slaves by buying them and releasing them from bondage. This points out that Islam preceded all other systems in eliminating slavery. Nowadays, this share could be used in ransoming prisoners of war.

6.Debtors They are indebted people who do not have enough money to pay their debts.

7.For Allaah's Cause It refers to expenditures on Jihaad, invasions, Mujaahideen, and weaponry.

8.The wayfarer He is a foreign traveler who does not have money.

 

 

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