Zakat (Obligatory Charity)
Zakat is a certain fixed portion of the wealth and property that a Muslim is obliged to pay yearly for the benefit of the poor in the Muslim community. The payment of Zakat is obligatory, as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Zakat is the major economic means for establishing social justice and leading the Muslim society towards prosperity and security.
Every Muslim who owns a fixed, minimum amount of wealth (called Nisab), and who satisfies certain other conditions, must pay Zakat. The Qur'an mentions Zakat in many places. For example, Allah (S.W.T)says: "Take Sadaqah (obligatory charity) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily, your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower."(9:103)
Zakat has also been mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) in many Ahadith (recorded statements and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said:
"Islam was built on five (pillars): testifying that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), is the Messenger of Allah;establishing the prayer (perfectly and on time); paying Zakat; performing pilgrimage to the House (the Ka 'bah); and fasting Ramadhan" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Zakat has been made obligatory on Muslims for an honorable wisdom and to bring about many noble benefits.Zakat purifies one's property and earnings, increases them and saves them from destructive impurities.Zakat fills one's wealth with the blessings of obedience to Allah ~ and honoring His Commandments.It cleanses the human soul from the ills of greed, miserly conduct, covetousness and selfishness.It extends help to the poor, the needy and the deprived. It unites the hearts upon Iman (Faith) and Islam(submission to Allah). It rids the hearts of the darkness of weak faith and evil doubts, and brings them to the clarity of strong faith and certainty. The Qur'anic Verses and the Prophetic Ahadith strongly encourage giving Zakat while affirming its great reward and tremendous bounties. It is a means to enter Paradise, and a deed that allows one to taste the sweetness of Iman (Faith). Giving this obligatory charity does not decrease a person's wealth, as some stingy people may think.Whoever refuses to pay Zakat, while rejecting its necessity in Islam, is a disbeliever. On the other hand, whoever refuses to pay the required Zakat on his wealth due to stinginess or laziness, while he still believes that it is a necessary act in Islam, is a sinner, The Qur'anic Verses and the Ahadith have used the strongest terms to warn against refusing to pay Zakat, promising ultimate failure and the severest punishment and torment for such an offense, Allah (S.W.T) said: "And those who hoard up gold and silver (i.e, the money, the Zakat of which has not been paid) and spend them not in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that (wealth) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them:) 'This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard,'" (9:34-35)
Those Required to Pay Zakat
Those who satisfy the following conditions are required to pay the Zakat:
* Muslims who own a minimum amount of extra wealth (referred to as Nisab) beyond the necessities of life, such as...