Zakat is an Arabic word means “purification”. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and compulsory on every financially stable Muslim that is wealthy enough to afford to it. In religion, Islam charity holds so much importance that it is an obligation on Muslims in the form of Zakat. All eligible individuals are required to pay an annual percentage of 2.5% of the wealth and property they own as Zakat. Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran: “Take from their wealth so that you might purify and sanctify them” (Quran 9:103).
The basic purpose of Zakat is to do Charity and help the poor grow and establish balance in the society. It helps poor to get basic needs which they could not fulfill due to financial problems. According to religion Islam, Zakat purifies your wealth and Allah gives you the rewards in the hereafter. When it comes to paying Zakat, there are different misconceptions that are prevalent among Muslims. Zakat cannot be given to just anybody, Islam has defined the terms and conditions of giving Zakat.
There are specific people to whom Zakat can be given. Allah Almighty mentioned them in the Holy Quran: “The alms are only for the Fuqara (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (Quran, 9:60)
From the above verse of Holy Quran, we have mentioned below the people who can accept Zakat and to whom Muslims are required to pay Zakat:
- Al-Fuqara (The Poor): These are the people who don’t have means to live their life properly and live below the line of poverty. They deserve your Zakat in order to meet the daily necessities of their lives.
- Al-Masakin (The Needy): These people are also poor; however, because of their pride and bashfulness they don’t expose their poverty. Your Zakat can help them in improving their living condition.
- The Zakat Collectors: These people are given the authority by the ruler to collect the Zakat money, preserve it, and distribute it among the needy and poor. It includes trustworthy institutions and NGOs who are working to help underprivileged Muslim communities.
- The Newly Converted Muslims: Those who are newly converted to Islam are eligible to accept Zakat as with their conversion to Islam they need assistance and help for a new start in life.
- Freeing Captives or Slaves: The money of Zakat can also be spent on freeing the slaves or captives and improve their living standard.
- The Debtors: Zakat can be given to pay off debts of someone who cannot repay on his own. But one must make sure that the money they borrowed utilized for the Halal purpose.
- In the Path of Allah: Zakat can be given to those who are striving in the path of Allah. These are the people who are fighting for Allah’s cause far away from their homes. Your Zakat can help them have a better living.
- The Travelers: Zakat can be given to the people who are left alone in some foreign country and have no money in pocket to eat or survive. You can also give Zakat to the refugees as they leave their countries because of violence and oppression in search of a safe and better place.
The main objective of paying Zakat is to help the society by giving something from your wealth. In return, the Muslims get tremendous rewards not only in this world but also in the hereafter. Islam guides us to make this world a better place by helping others in need and that’s why it puts emphasis on charity. May Almighty Allah guide us to help the needy and poor people for the sake His pleasure. Ameen!