Zakat: The Islamic Obligation to Give Charity

Zakat - Charity in Islam

Zakat description in the language means: growth, increase, blessing, praise, praise, righteousness, goodness, purity, sensual or moral, and meaning: the zakat al mal.

Zakat is called on the money spent by the giver of charity, and it is used in monotheistic religions in the sense that is intended for worship, which is in the sense of: giving money in charity.

And zakat definition Islam: the money that must be spent in its eight banks according to specific conditions, and it is a known right of money, estimated at a known amount.

In Islamic law, it is a kind of worship, meaning: spending money on the obligatory side, as it is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, and charitable giving is applied to obligatory spending and others.

Moreover, zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and Allah Almighty imposed it in the month of Shawwal of the second year of migration, and it is obligatory for people, and it is not obligatory for the prophets. Because it is a purification for those who are desecrated by sin, and the prophets are infallible.

What is the Definition of Zakat?

The concept of zakat description is related to the meaning of giving, and below we will get to know its concept in detail.

Zakat is defined as: it is the specific amount that a Muslim must pay from his full money to the deserving parties and under certain conditions. The jurists have several definitions of zakat:

  • The Hanafis said: “It is the ownership of a specific part of the money of a specific person appointed by the legislator for the sake of Allah Almighty.”
  • And the Malikis defined it as: “The issuance of a specific part of specific money that reached the nisab for the beneficiary if the ownership was completed, and about non-mineral and plowed.”
  • As for the Shafi’is, they defined it as: “a name for what comes out of money or body in a specific way.”
  • We find the latest definitions of zakat among the Hanbalis, when they said: “It is an obligatory right in specific money for a specific group at a specific time.”

Significance of Zakat

Zakat in islam has a great benefit and great wisdom, as it works to build a strong and cohesive society that senses people’s need for each other and is quick to perform it. possesses a return to Allah.

Therefore, it is necessary to help others and do what one has in order to please Allah Almighty and fulfill His obligations.

Who must pay Zakat?

Zakat is obligatory for every Muslim who fulfills the conditions of obligation. Al-Hanafi held that zakat must be paid by every sane adult Muslim who possesses a certain amount of wealth of various kinds (net assets) and has reached or exceeded the nisab limit.

As for the Shafi’is, Malikis and Hanbalis, they argue that zakat is obligatory even for children and those with madness and mental disorders in the event that their wealth reaches the limit of the quorum.

Zakat Meaning

The jurists differed in defining zakat meaning correctly, and below we will get acquainted with its intended meaning.

 The Arabic meaning of Zakat

Zakat in islamic law has several definitions in language and terminology, as it gives language to different meanings. Including growth, increase, and purity.

Because it purifies its way out of sins, just as zakat is called charity; Because it indicates the sincerity of the Muslim in his servitude and obedience to Allah Almighty, and it is also used for blessing, praise, and righteousness.

Zakat is a form of obligatory charity

Allah – may be glorified and exalted – with His wisdom and justice decreed different destinies for His servants, and from this disparity was their difference in livelihoods and subsistence.

But Allah – may be glorified and exalted – made for the least provision a right in the wealth of the largest provision, which He offers to the poor as a right for him, not as charity and volunteering.

Thus, zakat acts as a system with social and economic dimensions that guarantees solidarity between members of society of different classes. 

The importance of zakat in Islam and its ability to solve these differences stems from its comprehensiveness for most members of society, and from its large amount. 

As it represents 2.5% of the total funds, a percentage that guarantees the achievement of solidarity and the eradication of poverty if it is successfully applied.

Also, in zakat there are benefits for the one who pays the zakat himself. As the benefits of zakat are not limited to the poor, but rather benefit the person who pays the zakat and his money. It purifies its owner from sins and sins in the Hereafter, and from stinginess, stinginess, and greed in this world.

And through it, Allah – Glory be to Him – disciplines the instinct of possession in man by forcing him to give out the money that was created for his love voluntarily and servitude to Allah – Glory be to Him.

And zakat donation develops the money of the one who pays the zakat, blesses it and protects it from pests, and also develops faith in the heart of its owner, and it is a door to enter Its performers are Paradise and salvation from Hell

Zakat is a way to purify wealth and give back to the community

Zakat donation represents a preventive system that works to prevent many problems in society. For example, zakat prevents many crimes related to theft, looting, and robbery. 

This is because it purifies the soul of the poor from hatred and malice against society, especially after the arrival of his right from the wealth of the rich.

Zakat also limits the massive inflation of wealth, which may lead to a monopoly of funds for a certain group of society. Which leads to extending its control and influence over the entire society in order to increase its wealth without considering the interests of the rest of the parties in society.

The Significance of Zakat

There is wisdom in zakat legislation, including spending on others and achieving equality between the parties of society.

Zakat as one of the five pillars of Islam

Islamic zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam established by the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus. Among the levies and other financial taxes, zakat is characterized by some of the most prominent and general features.

What is associated with this duty of the spirit of faith, reckoning and fulfillment of duty, and it is the spirit from which official taxes are stripped.

It is specific that it is taken from the rich who fulfill the conditions of its obligation and possess its quorum, and it is disposed of in its specific banks from the poor, needy, debtors, and other types of those who are entitled to zakat.

Zakat as a way to help the poor and needy and build a more just and equitable society

Zakat is an obligatory charitable contribution that is mandatory for all adult Muslims who meet certain criteria. It is a means of helping the poor and needy and building a more just and equitable society.

Zakat in Islam is not just about giving money to the poor; it is a way of purifying one’s wealth and promoting social justice. 

As the Quran states that Zakat is intended to be given to the poor and needy, those who are in debt, those who are in the path of Allah (i.e., those who are working for the cause of Islam), and those whose hearts are to be reconciled (i.e., non-Muslims who may be inclined towards Islam).

By paying Zakat donation, Muslims are fulfilling their obligation to help those in need and contribute to building a more just and equitable society. 

Zakat also serves as a means of promoting social solidarity and reducing inequality. It is a way of redistributing wealth in a manner that benefits the less fortunate members of society.

Furthermore, it helps to promote a sense of compassion and empathy among Muslims towards the less fortunate members of society. 

It encourages people to be more mindful of their blessings and to be grateful for what they have. It also serves as a reminder that wealth is not an end in itself but a means to serve a greater purpose.

How to Do Zakat?

There are many types of zakat donation, such as zakat al mal, zakat on sheep, and others, and each type has specific ratios and conditions that a Muslim must observe.

Calculation of Zakat based on the value of one’s wealth

Zakat is calculated based on the value of one’s wealth that has been in one’s possession for at least one lunar year (354 days). The calculation of Zakat is based on the Nisab, which is the minimum amount of wealth that a Muslim must possess before Zakat becomes due.

The Zakat rate is 2.5% of the total value of one’s Zakatable assets. Zakatable assets include cash, gold, silver, business inventory, stocks, and other assets that can be used to generate income.

To calculate Zakat, one needs to add up the total value of their Zakatable assets and then multiply it by 2.5%. For example, if someone has 10,000 worth of Zakatable assets, their Zakat would be 250 (10,000 x 0.025).

It’s important to note that Zakat is an individual obligation and should be paid by each eligible Muslim separately. Zakat should be paid annually, preferably during the month of Ramadan, but it can be paid at any other time during the year.

Zakat can be paid in cash, kind, or services

Yes, that is correct. Zakat donation can be paid in cash, kind, or services as long as the value of the payment meets the minimum requirement for Zakat, which is determined by the type and value of the wealth being assessed. 

In terms of cash, it is usually paid as a percentage of a person’s wealth above a certain threshold, while in-kind payments can include goods or assets that are owned and have a certain value. 

Zakat can also be paid in the form of services, such as providing free labor or expertise to those in need. However, it is important to note that Zakat cannot be used for personal expenses or to pay off debts that were incurred for non-essential purposes.

Zakat can be paid to a variety of charitable organizations, including mosques, schools, and hospitals

There are 8 types or categories of zakat, which are as follows:

  • The first and second category: the poor and the needy: they are the people of need who do not find anything, or find some that suffices them. And detail it in the books of jurisprudence.
  • And the third category: is those working on zakat: they are the ones who collect zakat, and they are not required to describe poverty, but rather they give from it even if they are rich.
  • The fourth category: Those whose hearts are to be reconciled: They are those who have recently entered Islam and are given the zakat to reconcile their hearts. The view of the majority of jurists is that this share remains and has not been forfeited, according to a difference of opinion among the jurists in this regard.
  • Fifth category: in necks
  • The sixth category: debtors: they are debtors who are unable to pay their debts, as detailed in the books of jurisprudence.
  • The seventh category: For the sake of Allah: What is meant by that is giving volunteers to the invaders for jihad, as well as spending in the interest of war and everything needed by the matter of jihad.
  • The eighth category: Ibn al-Sabeel, who is the traversing traveler whose expenses have been emptied, and he is given money to take him to his country.

The Benefits of Zakat

There are many benefits of Zakat in Islam, and below we will discuss these benefits.

Zakat can help to reduce poverty and inequality

There is no doubt that zakat is a tool for social solidarity and fraternal solidarity among Muslims, and if the rich pay it their money, then the need of the poor will be met.

And intimacy, love and affection will prevail among them, otherwise envy, dissension and looting will appear and increase due to the failure of the rich to fulfill the rights of the poor to them, so zakat is a right for those whom Allah made it They have the money of the rich.

Zakat can help to promote economic development

Zakat donation plays a vital role in reviving the economy and achieving development, as a result of three basic and interrelated factors: fighting hoarding, encouraging investment, and encouraging spending.

One of the most important goals that Zakat seeks is to prevent the hoarding of money and its remaining as static resources that do not provide a real benefit to the society’s economy. 

This principle becomes clear when knowing that Islam does not encourage keeping a piece of land for more than three years without building it. This principle is more important for liquid funds, which should not remain hoarded and unused.

This concept is consistent with the principles of the current global economy, which confirms that hoarding money is one of the most important factors.

That impede the economic development of the state because these stagnant resources do not enter the wheel of the economy and thus reduce the volume of local resources. 

Hence, this leads to a level of development that is much lower than what could be achieved if all resources were employed and utilized in reviving the economy.

Besides, the concept of zakat implicitly encourages the investment of hoarded funds because zakat funds if not invested and developed will vanish with the passing of the years.

Therefore, it is essential to invest money in order to grow and pay zakat al mal from the profits of this investment and not from the capital. 

On the other hand, zakat funds should not only be used to meet the consumption needs of the poor, such as food and clothing.

Vut should be used to create tools for investment for these poor people so that they, in turn, can own production tools that guarantee them a stable income and thus meet their needs on an ongoing basis.

Zakat can help to improve the spiritual well-being of Muslims

One of the main purposes of Zakat meaning is to purify one’s wealth and to remind Muslims that their wealth is not solely their own, but a trust from Allah (SWT) to be shared with those in need. 

By giving Zakat donations, Muslims fulfill their duty to help their fellow human beings and contribute to the greater good of society.

Moreover, the act of giving Zakat can also have a profound impact on one’s spiritual well-being. It reminds Muslims of their responsibility to care for others and to live a life of compassion and generosity. 

This act of selflessness and charity can lead to a greater sense of empathy and connection with others, as well as a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in life.

In addition, giving Zakat can also help to cultivate gratitude and humility in the giver. By recognizing the blessings and abundance in their own lives, Muslims can develop a greater appreciation for what they have and a greater sense of humility in their dealings with others.


Zakat in Islamic law is a legal obligation imposed by Allah and made the purpose of it the good of the affairs of the country and the people, and it is the third of the five pillars of Islam, like Shahada, Salah, Sawm, and Hajj.

And zakat description was imposed after the prophetic mission, in Makkah before the migration, as evidenced by verses from the Qur’an that were revealed in Makkah.

And this imposition was for the sake of summary, and was the statement of its provisions, and their application after the migration to Medina.

The stage after the Prophet’s migration is considered the most important stage in the legislation of zakat donation, as it clarified the details of its provisions, and determined its amounts and expenditures.

And assigned workers to collect it, and then spend it in its banks. And zakat in Islam is not limited to the meaning of giving alms to part of the money only, but rather it is an integrated legal system.

And the provisions of zakat in Islamic law are distinguished from other laws in that they are an accurate and integrated system, and that they are obligatory.

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