Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and denotes the amount of wealth a Muslim must pay to certain groups of underprivileged people.
Zakat itself is neither a tax nor a charity but is a compulsory act of worship stipulated by Allah (swt). Zakat is intended to purify our wealth, not only physically, but also spiritually. It purifies our heart against selfishness as well as ensuring that society’s poorest are protected against hunger and destitution.
Muslims past the age of puberty and are of sound mind are eligible to pay Zakat as long as they meet the required Nisab threshold.
In order to be eligible to pay Zakat, your level of excess wealth must remain higher than the Nisab value for a full year. This is when your Zakat payment will be due.
The Nisab - the minimum value of wealth one must possess for Zakat to become payable - is defined as:
87.48g of gold
You can base your Nisab on either the gold or silver amount. This is usually the equivalent value in your local currency. Most scholars favour the lower value (silver at present) as it means that more people can pay Zakat and therefore more people can benefit.
Zakat is due a year after your level of personal wealth has reached the Nisab threshold. In order to remain eligible to pay Zakat, your level of excess wealth should remain higher than the Nisab for a full lunar year.
For example, if your level of expendable wealth exceeds the total Nisab value in the month of Ramadan, your payment will not be due until the following Ramadan, so long as your personal wealth remains above the threshold.
If at any time your wealth drops below the level of Nisab, you would cease being eligible to give Zakat. Once your wealth increases to the Nisab level, you would begin counting 12 lunar months from that point onwards.
The value of Zakat is 2.5% of your personal excess wealth. This means that if your excess wealth comes to a value of £1,000, your Zakat payment would be £25.
Q. What type of wealth is Zakat due on?
Zakat is due on:
- Gold and silver, including ornaments or jewellery containing gold and/or silver
- Cash held at home or in bank accounts
- Stocks and shares owned either directly or through investment funds
- Money lent to others
- Business stock in trade and merchandise
- Agricultural produce
- Livestock animals such as cows, goats and sheep
- Property owned for investment purposes
Q. How can I calculate how much Zakat to pay?
The easiest way to work out your Zakat is to use our Zakat calculator to ensure that you pay the correct amount.
Our calculator allows you to input the total value of your cash savings, gold and silver and any business assets that you may own, as well as taking into account any unpaid debts you may have.
Q. Who can receive Zakat?
The categories of people/causes entitled to receive Zakat are described in the Qur’an, 9:60, as:
- The Poor: Those receiving little or no income.
- The Needy: Someone who is struggling to meet their basic needs.
- Administrators of Zakat: Those who are responsible for collecting, storing, guarding, registering and distributing Zakat.
- Those Whose Hearts are to Be Reconciled: Those who are new to Islam.
- Those in Bondage: Freeing those who are enslaved/ held captive.
- Those in Debt: As long as the debts were not incurred through acts against Islamic law.
- In the Way of Allah: Promoting Islamic values.
- The Wayfarer: Anyone who is stranded whilst travelling or away from home and needs financial assistance – as long as they travelled for lawful purposes.
Q. Can I pay Zakat monthly?
Zakat can be paid in monthly instalments. To do this, divide the total amount of Zakat owed by 12 and set up a regular payment with Muslim Hands specifying Zakat as the type of donation.
Sponsoring an orphan is also another good way to give your Zakat on a monthly basis.
Q. Should I pay my missed Zakat?
If you have not paid Zakat from previous years in which you were eligible to do so, you must pay what you owe as soon as possible.
Missed Zakat would be calculated in the same way you calculate your current Zakat - however, you would use the Nisab value from the missed Zakat year, as opposed to the current Nisab value.
Q. How can I pay my Zakat?
To pay your Zakat with Muslim Hands, click here. We will use your Zakat to help some of the most impoverished