Zakah – Pillar of Islam
Zakah, a Pillar of Islam:
Zakah is the 3rd pillar of Islam, and it is associated with prayer (salah) in 82 verses in the Qur’aan. It is financial worship.
The Meaning of Zakah:
The linguistic meaning: The word Zakah (in Arabic) is a noun derived from the verb “Zaka” which means = grew – increased, so Zakah means growth and increasing.
The word also means purify and clean as Allah said:
The Benefits of Zakah for the Individual and the Society:
- Prove the faith and belief of the Muslims since it is an important pillar of Islam.
- Show the truthfulness of faith of the one who gives away Zakah because man love’s money, so when he gives it for the cause of Allah, he proves that he sacrifices his love for the sake of Allah, this is why it is also called “Sadaqah” which means the truth because it shows the truthfulness of a person regarding his seeking of God’s pleasure.
- To purify the character of the person, by protecting him against the vice of miserliness and egotism and train him to be generous and kind.
- To fulfill the needs of the poor in the society, and put this concept of brotherhood in the Muslim society in practice
- Protect the society from crimes and social class clashes, when the poor realize that they have portion of the financial income of the rich. This leads to stability.
- It drives a Muslim to learn about his duties towards Allah, so he increases his religious knowledge because he cannot give away Zakah before he has asked and learned all the rules and regulations of this important pillar of Islam.
- It blesses the properties by the will of Allah and increases and protects them.
- Circulate the wealth in the society so nobody can hold and monopolize it against the social interest of the people.
Who Should Pay Zakah?
Zakah is obligatory upon every Muslim who owns the minimum requirement of property under certain condition. The evidence from the Qur’aan is:
Properties that are Subject to Zakah:
- Gold and Silver,
- Monetary funds, including commercial stocks,
- Land produce of fruit and grain.
And each kind of these properties is subject to Zakah based on certain regulations and conditions.
Zakah is not obligatory in any kind of property but on the growing property in accordance with the real context and meaning of the word growing. The real growing mainly includes livestock, grain and farm produce and commercial stocks.
The properties that may take the essence of growing are gold and silver, because even if they were saved and not used for commercial purposes, still they hold the meaning of growing because they could be invested at any time.
Zakah of Gold and Silver (Zakatu An-Nakdain):
The word “nakdain” – plural of “nakd” – refers to Gold and Silver, but many scholars include money.
The condition of the Zakah of gold is to have the nisab of 85 grams and the nisab for silver is 595 grams. It must be held in possession for 12 lunar months. So if the Muslim holds this amount or more, he should pay 2.5% as Zakah.
Rikaz (minerals or metals buried in the earth for an uncertain time) – Rikaz refers to mineral or wealth like gold or silver, when left buried for a certain period of time, has a special role in Islam. If a Muslim found any, he should give away 1/5 (20%) of what he found, as soon as he found it, so no need for negation or time conditions.
If women have gold to be used as trappings or jewelry, some scholars say that Zakah is not a must if it is used in a lawful way and not intended for investment, other scholars say it is a must.
Zakah on Merchandise and Stocks:
It includes any commodity that is intended for trading for profit. So calculate its value every year and give away 2.5%, same as gold and silver, but if he buys anything for personal use, no Zakah is required.
Zakah on livestock, properties and land is covered in Level II.
Basically it means that you should pay Zakah on all money, gold or silver, merchandise that one had ‘in excess’ over a one year period. Zakah means to purify and also to increase. So if we pay it, it purifies our money and also increases it. For the human mind, we can ask: “How can giving something away, increase it.” Allah knows how, and only if we believed it…!
For the average person Zakat-ul-Maal (Alms on money) and Zakat-ul-Fitr are the most common. Zakat-ul-Fitr is an alms paid at the end of the fasting month of Ramadaan. This is covered in detail in Level II under Zakah as well as Siyam (Fasting).
For money it is easy, if we choose to do so. The nisab value is the same as that of gold or silver. So many people ask: “How can I calculate what I had over one year, as I had different amounts at different times?”
Choose a time of the year to pay your Zakah, such as Ramadaan as it is easy to remember. Simply take the highest amount you had for the longest time and round it up (this way you are sure that you are not paying less then what you are supposed to). Example: You had $1000.00 for about 7 months and then it was $500 and then $300 and then $1200.00 since last year Ramadaan. Take the $1000.00 and calculate the 2.5%, which is $25.
About jewelry: There are various views on this. The strictest and ‘most authentic’ view is that Zakah is due on all jewelry used or not used over a one year period in your possession, and that is more than the nisab value. As an example, if you have gold bangles or rings (including the ones you wear everyday) that weigh say 100grams. The nisab value is 85grams, which means you should pay 2.5% of the value of gold per gram on 100grams. If gold per gram = $100.00, then you should pay 2.5% on 100grams x $100.00, which would be $25.00. Not much is it?
Some stories are related where people actually distribute the jewelry to different family members for a short while, so the amount can remain under 85 grams per year. They then take it back and so it goes on year after year. Who are they cheating? Only themselves……………
Zakah on merchandise for sale: the value is calculated, and if it reaches the Nisab of gold or silver, Zakah is due on it at the rate of 2.5% of its value. For example if you have a shop, you calculate the cost of all your stock, plus all your money and pay 2.5% on that.
Note: Once you reach the nisab value, you don’t calculate only on the value above the nisab, but on everything. (i.e.: if you have 100grams of gold, then you pay on the 100 and not on 15 only).
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