Zakaat - The 3rd Pillar of Islam

The third pillar, Zakah (or Zakat), is only a duty for wealthier Muslims whose wealth has reached a minimum “threshold amount” that has been in their possession for a year. Each year, they must pay 2.5% of their accumulated gold, silver and savings to those less fortunate in the community. In this way, they purify their wealth. Zakah means to “purify” or “cleanse” one’s halal (permissible) earnings. Illegal earnings are not accepted by Allah because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah is pure and good and loves only that which is pure and good.”

How much?

Zakat is payable when a person’s (male or female) wealth has reached or exceeded a specified amount (called a nisab) that is mentioned in the Sharee’ah. The specific wealth upon which the Zakat is payable on four categories:
  1. That which comes out of the ground from crops and fruit.
  2. Grazing livestock animals.
  3. Gold, silver and cash.
  4. Products sold as merchandise.
The most common to people living in Europe is the zakah payable on the third and fourth categories. As for the threshold amount (nisab) after which zakah must be paid, then:
  • for gold, it is 85 grams; (some scholars say 92 grams)
  • for silver, it is 595 grams; (some scholars say 640 grams)
  • for money it is the value of 595 grams of silver which in Ramadān 2018 was £232.05 (approx.)
The Qur’an does not specifically mention the amounts payable; however, these amounts are reported in the Sunnah by authentic hadīth, in great detail – which proves the great importance of this pillar. So if anyone’s wealth exceeds the nisab amounts, and they have had it for a year, then 2.5% in Zakah (the obligatory poor due) must be paid. Zakah is not paid by anyone who has less than this amount of wealth. Zakah is not paid on diamonds, platinum or other types of jewellery. It is not paid on cars, houses or property (but it is paid on money earned through rent and profit from investments). So to work out the amount of zakah to be paid, add up your all your cash savings and gold you have had for a year above the value of nisab, then work out 2.5% of it and give it in charity to be spent on any of the eight categories mentioned in the Qur’an (At-Tawbah 9:60):
  1. The very poor (fuqara)
  2. The needy (masakeen)
  3. Those employed to collect it (to meet their needs)
  4. To attract the hearts of those non-Muslims who are inclined towards Islam
  5. Freeing captives
  6. Helping those in genuine debt
  7. To the governmental army of a Muslim country
  8. The traveller to help him reach his destination
“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara’ (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun, the armies of the Muslim countries), and for the a traveller who is prevented from reaching his destination; a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (9:60)

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