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All The Information About Zakat

Inside of the Islamic faith, there are five pillars that all of the religion’s myriad sects and denominations agree wholeheartedly on. These pillars are shahadah, salat, sawm, hajj and zakat. Each pillar has its difficulties associated with it, ranging from potential ostracism resulting from a public declaration of shahadah to the hair-raising challenges involved with international travel to take part in the hajj. Sometimes regular acts of faith can become more complicated than intended, be it from a wild day of work making salat impossible to the too perfect temptation of a free pastry to break sawm fasting during Ramadan.

The pillar of zakat, however, is just as complicated as the other four. Roughly translating to “that which purifies” it is a type of alms giving inside of the Islamic faith that is mentioned in several of the Qur’an’s suras but the Prophet did not go into great detail over the course of his lifetime. Later authors who composed the most trusted hadiths did go into more significant dealt of detail, including several competing methods for Muslim zakat calculator. While most readings of these most reliable hadiths place zakat calculation as 2.5 percent of a Muslim’s total wealth above a bare minimum of financial means known as the niqab, other Islamic scholars and jurists have written conflicting opinions over the past few centuries.

Charity In Islam

Charity in Islam has taken the form of both zakat and a secondary form of voluntary contributions known as salaah. However, different Islamic sects have their views about charitable contributions in service to their faith. The Sunni sect believes that Zakat is mandatory for all Muslims while the Shi’a sect has long seen it as a personal matter that is both voluntary and private. In the modern age, only a handful of Islamic majority states still collects zakat as an issue of mandated state collection. Most Islamic majority countries make zakat a purely voluntary matter left in the hands of private citizens rather than state-backed zakat collectors.

logo-nisabAnother element of charitable giving inside of Islam is the practice of zakat fitnah, also known as zakat fitra or Zakat al-Fitr (the exact Romanized spelling is, much like most matters involving zakat, a matter of some debate among Islamic scholars). This is a smaller one-time charitable donation given at the end of Ramadan to zakat collectors who then pass the funds on to poor Muslims, so less wealthy Muslims can afford to celebrate Eid properly with a good meal and perhaps a few luxuries they would otherwise not be able to afford. It is given solely at the end of Ramadan and is a small fixed amount paid per person. Some estimations hold that the exact number should be based on the price of rice or wheat at local costs, which can be quite diverse. One evaluation holds that 7 USD is a proper amount of this particular donation.

Collecting Zakat

How to calculate zakat is a matter of debate among Islamic scholars and jurists. Different most trusted hadiths lay down different rules for what is and isn’t considered a part of a Muslim’s wealth, as well as the rules for how much these assets should cost the believer in zakat. Traditionally this is 2.5 percent of a believer’s capital money, but different percentages are ranging from 2.5 to 20 percent for various goods that can also denote wealth. Numerous hadiths describe different numbers for agricultural products, livestock, precious metals and minerals. These assets are usually considered to be costing zakat if they have been continuously owned over the course of one lunar year and are above the nib value for such assets. Of course, the exact values of both nisab and Zakat on these assets have been argued for some centuries.

This is because the Qur’an does not go into any numerical details about the value of Zakat in Islam. While the Prophet Muhammad calls upon believers to be charitable through the act of zakat, none of the Qur’an’s surahs lay down a specific amount that must be paid. Since the Prophet’s death, some the most trusted hadiths written by later scholars and imams have since been used to establish exact values for Zakat based on the best guess extracted from the Qur’an itself. However, because these zakat values are not drawn directly from the Qur’an, there has and likely always will be lots of disagreement and different ideas about what does and does not constitute a proper payment of zakat. Even so, the Qur’an is quite clear that zakat is a matter of faith in God.

Who Receives Zakat Funds?

Exactly who are the recipients of zakat funds is more explicitly addressed in the Qur’an, but also likewise subject to some different interpretations over the centuries since the Qur’an was dictated to the Prophet? Sura 9 ayat 60 describes eight categories of people who are qualified to benefit from zakat money. These types include the desperately poor, recent converts to Islam, those hopeless in debt and travelers who are relying on the kindness of locals. Family members are not qualified to receive zakat donations, though some believers may make exceptions for family members who would otherwise qualify for zakat funds.

Whether or not non-Muslims qualify for receiving zakat donations is a matter of some dispute and has been for centuries. However, in the modern global society we all live in, there is a certain relaxation of old rules and standards, and now most Islamic scholars agree that it is perfectly acceptable to give zakat donations to non-Muslims. This must be in the form of grants to a food bank or a non-Islamic charity doing work that the giver believes is doing the kind of work the Prophet would approve of. While some believers might prefer to give solely to Islamic causes, the fact is that the world is a complicated place that needs all the help it can get, and Muslims are as qualified to help out as anybody.

Zakat In Modern Times

Zakat in Islamic charity is a mostly new matter. Where once most Muslim majority countries made it an issue of state-backed collection of zakat, now most zakat is collected by non-profit charitable organizations that raise funds and use them for humanitarian purposes as readily as any other charity. Some Islamic charities do use the collected funds towards proselytizing, but in the complicated and stressful modern world, many Muslims find greater peace of mind supporting humanitarian causes ranging from local libraries to vaccination drives on the other side of the planet.

The Future Of Zakat Donations

E-zakat is a new concept that is still gaining ground in the Islamic world. Made possible by modern telecommunications technology, this type of zakat is ordinary zakat, but transferred from the giver’s funds to the receiver’s funds over digital means. This enables Muslims to pay their zakat funds via credit or debit cards, direct bank transfers or even payment services such as Paypal. While all believers are encouraged to be careful with the information they share, zakat is zakat, whether it must need the form of a cash donation or a digital payment.

Zakat is the religious duty of all faithful Muslims, but as we have seen, it is not the easiest or simplest task to perform. While the Qur’an makes exceptions to the rules for those who would be unable to pay reasonable, these situations are confined only to the poorest believers and the Prophet calls upon all believers to be charitable in one form or another. However you believe zakat to be properly handled, it is the duty of all Muslims.

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