Those Entitled to Receive the Zakat?
According to the Quran, eight categories of people are entitled to receive the Zakat.
“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”
(Quran, 9: 60).
- Fuqaraa: the poor
The fuqaraa’ are those who do have some money but not sufficient to meet their basic needs. They cannot make both ends meet; yet they do not ask for help due to modesty and self-respect. They live in great hardship and difficulties.
The passage of one lunar (according to Hijraln calendar) is required before Zakat can be imposed on certain wealth. Assets that remain with their owners for one full lunar year are zakatable. Rich Muslims, therefore, must establish their Zakat year. Many Muslims calculate Zakat during Ramadan for the added reward of worshipping during this blessed month. So, an example of the Zakat year may be from the 11th Ramadan 1427 to the 10th Ramadan 1428 (one full Hijraln lunar calendar year). Once the Zakat year is set, the same date range should be used for future Zakat years.
Conditions of Zakat : Wealth Subject to Zakat
Zakat is the Third Pillar of Islam
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Some people wrongly think that the place of Zakat comes after siyaam (fasting), or even Hajj (the pilgrimage). Zakat is actually the third pillar of Islam that comes immediately after salah. Among the pillars of Islam, Zakat ranks very close to salah. They are often mentioned together in the Quran, as in the following verses:
“Establish regular prayer and give Zakat”
(Quran, 73: 20)
Dhikr, or remembrance of Allah, is equivalent to awareness of His Presence. We are commanded in the above-mentioned famous Inadeetln of the Prophet (pbuh) to pray as if we are actually seeing Allah before us: ‘for, though you see Him not, yet He sees you.’ Awareness of Allah’s Presence and of being seen at every moment of our lives is, in fact, a contemplative virtue. Islam requires us to be active as well as contemplative!
The First Pillar of Islam
The importance of the prayer cannot be over-stressed in Islam. In fact, it is the first pillar of Islam that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned after mentioning the testimony of faith, by which one becomes a Muslim. It was made obligatory on all the prophets and on all the peoples.