What is Zakat?
Zakat, the giving of alms to the poor and needy, is one of the five pillars of Islam (the others are the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting in Ramadan and Hajj). It is obligatory upon every adult Muslim of sound mind and means.
The individual must own a specific amount of wealth or savings (after living costs, expenses etc). This is referred to as Nisaab and is the threshold at which Zakat becomes payable. The amount of Zakat to be paid is 2.5% of Nisaab.
Why do we give Zakat?
Zakat is not a charity, It is not voluntary charity, not a tax but an obligation. By giving Zakat, a Muslim is acknowledging that everything we have is Allah’s and we do not really own it, and we should use it to remember Allah and help those who are in need. It is also an act to help free us from excessive desire and greed, learn self-discipline and honesty
Eight kinds of people eligible to receive Zakat
- Fuqaraa: Those who own property in excess of basic necessities but below the value of Nisab.
- Masakeen: People of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
- Aamileen: (Zakat collector) Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakat. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
- Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they may have recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
- Ar-Riqaab: slaves whose masters have agreed to set them free on a payment of a fixed amount. Zakat may be used to purchase their freedom.
- Ibnus-Sabeel: A traveler who, whilst wealthy at his residence, is stranded and in need of financial assistance.
- Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceed his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.
- Fi Sabeelillah: Those who are away from home in the path of Allah.
How to Calculate Zakat
Visit the link to calculate Zakat online at http://www.islamicity.org/zakat-calculator/
Or download the Zakat calculator excel sheet, enter the data and calculate your zakat amount.