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)
Some benefits of zakah
Zakah has a number of benefits including the following:
- It strengthens the ties of brotherhood between the rich and the poor
- It blesses one’s wealth and purifies the heart from selfishness and thirst for wealth.
- It purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and hate towards those who give it and encourages him to show kindness and love for them.
- It brings about public advancement that leads to the happiness of all members of society.
Conditions for the Payment of Zakah
The Arabic word zakah has various meanings including ‘purity’, ‘honour’, ‘growth’ and ‘blessings’. In Islamic terminology, it is the amount required from Muslims to pay to those who deserve it, when their wealth reaches a certain amount called the nisaab, and which satisfies the required conditions.
The zakah is meant to purify a person’s wealth and his income from that taint of selfishness, hence the expression ‘purifying dues’.