A Comprehensive Guide About The Importance of Zakat in Islam

Written by Jamila Jones

On 29/03/2024

Zakat is one of the core pillars of Islam and involves donating 2.5% of one’s wealth annually to those who are less fortunate, provided that you have the financial capacity to do so. The term “Zakat” signifies purification and growth, highlighting its dual purpose.

  • To cleanse one’s wealth by redistributing a portion to those in need, and
  • To contribute to your spiritual growth.

The Significance of Zakat in Islam

Zakat in Islam, is not only a crucial religious duty but also one of the five pillars, underscoring its place as a fundamental act of worship.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles)

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).

2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.

3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .

4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)

5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

Sahih al-Bukhari

Responsibility and Generosity Through Zakat

Zakat plays an important role in creating a sense of responsibility among Muslims. It purifies wealth and benefits those in need.

This act of giving is not just about financial assistance; it also demonstrates a Muslim’s obedience and commitment to Allah SWT’s. As the Prophet Muhammad SAW stated:-

“The wealth of a person does not decrease by paying Zakat” (Sahih Bukhari).

This shows that Zakat is far from diminishing one’s wealth but, enriches it both materially and spiritually. It helps to give a sense of gratitude for your blessings and instils a feeling of generosity towards the less fortunate.

Zakat Calculation Period (lunar year)

Zakat becomes due on wealth that has surpassed the Nisab, (the minimum amount required) and has been in your possession for a complete lunar year. It’s important to note that a lunar year is a bit shorter than a solar year, typically by about 10 to 12 days. Therefore, once you make your first zakat payment, this sets the calendar for your zakat year, and the cycle begins anew from that date.

Calculating Zakat involves figuring out your net worth and ensuring you meet certain criteria.

  • The first step is to check the current value of Nisab – The minimum amount of wealth one must have to be eligible to pay Zakat. This threshold is usually based on the value of gold or silver, equating to 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.
  • To start, you’ll need to tally up all your assets. This includes savings, cash in hand, investments, and other types of property you own.
  • From this total, you’ll deduct any necessary expenses you have. If the amount left over exceeds the Nisab, then you’re eligible to pay Zakat.
  • To find out how much you need to give, simply multiply your net worth (after deductions) by 2.5%.

For accuracy and to avoid any errors, it’s advised to use a reliable Zakat calculator. This tool can help ensure that your calculation is correct and that you’re fulfilling your obligation properly.

Flexibility in Zakat Payment Timing 

Zakat doesn’t need to be paid on a fixed date. Once your wealth has been above the Nisab threshold for a full lunar year, you can choose when within that year to make your payment.

Many Muslims opt to give their Zakat during Ramadan the month of blessings, a time when good deeds are increased. Paying Zakat in Ramadan is seen not just as a way to fulfil an obligation but also as an opportunity to cleanse both wealth and soul during this blessed period.

Guidelines for Zakat Distribution 

Zakat is meant to be given to specific groups of people who are eligible to receive it. These groups include:-

  • the poor,
  • the needy,
  • individuals burdened by debt,
  • and travelers in need.

Allah AWT outlines this clearly in the Quran:-

“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”

(Surah At-Tawbah 9:60)

africa children smiling and rececing donation

For those looking to fulfil their Zakat, especially during the blessed month of Ramadan, you have the option to give directly to individuals in need or through reputable charitable organisations. Our charity Sisters4Islam is equipped to ensure that your contribution reaches those who are most deserving,

The Varied Benefits of Zakat in Islam

Zakat in Islam brings about a multitude of benefits that touch upon both social and spiritual aspects of life. Here are some key ways in which zakat contributes to creating a better world.

  1. Social Equality – By redistributing wealth from the financially stable to those in need, Zakat plays a significant role in reducing poverty and bridging the gap between different economic classes.
  2. Community Support – It ensures that the basic needs of the less fortunate members of the community are met, bringing a sense of support and unity among Muslims.
  3. Spiritual Growth – For the giver, Zakat is an opportunity to purify their wealth and soul, reminding them of the blessings they’ve received and the importance of sharing with others.
  4. Economic Circulation – Zakat can also stimulate the economy by redistributing wealth and enabling those less fortunate to participate more fully in economic activities.
  5. Promoting Generosity – The act of Zakat instils a sense of generosity and compassion in the hearts of Muslims, encouraging them to look beyond their own needs and consider the welfare of others.
  6. Reduce Suffering and Poverty – Offering crucial support to those living in poverty, Zakat enables access to essentials like shelter, food, and healthcare. This support not only alleviates immediate suffering but also empowers individuals and families to break free from the cycle of poverty,

Through these ways and more, your Zakat contributes significantly to building a world where compassion, generosity, and mutual support are key values.

Fulfil your Zakat through Sisters4Islam

As we’ve seen, the benefits of Zakat extend far beyond the individual, it touches the lives of many and contributes to a more compassionate world. It acts as a reminder of the power of collective action and the impact we can have when we come together to support one another.

By choosing to give your Zakat through our charity, you’re not just fulfilling your religious duty, you’re becoming part of a community dedicated to making a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Sisters4Islam ensures that your contributions reach those eligible for Zakat, providing essential support and working towards a world where no one has to endure hardship alone.

Donate your Zakat to Sisters4Islam today and be part of a meaningful change. Help us to uplift and empower communities, spreading hope and kindness where it’s needed most.

Donate Your Zakat to Sisters4Islam

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