Zakat is the third pillar of Islam which
is compulsory on every financially stable Muslim who is wealthy enough to
afford to it. Zakat is an Arabic word which means purification. Allah
Almighty mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Take from their wealth so that you might purify and
sanctify them” (Quran 9:103). Zakat is basically
the compulsory giving of a pre-set proportion of one’s wealth to the needy
people of society as charity. All eligible individuals are required to pay an
annual percentage of 2.5% of the wealth and property they own as Zakat.
Zakat is not a voluntary charity not a
tax but an obligation. The significance of Zakat could be realized from the
fact that Allah (SWT) made it a pillar and by making it a pillar, Allah makes
almost everyone experience it either as a giver or as a receiver. By giving
Zakat, a Muslim is acknowledging that everything we have in this world is given
by Allah and we do not really own it. Therefore, we should use it to remember
Allah Almighty and help those who are in need. Zakat is an act which help us to
free from excessive desire and greed, learn self-discipline and honesty.
In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) combined
it with salah on many occasions. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And be steadfast in prayer and
regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you,
ye shall find it with Allah”. (Quran, 2:110)
The main objective of paying Zakat is to
create balance in the society and never let a poor and needy people to suffer
or die. Zakat is compulsory on Muslims when they have a specific amount of
Gold, Silver or other properties that can be weighed and calculated. Zakat is
payable every year after one year’s retention. Zakat helps to shape the human
character of the rich people as it saves them from greediness and selfishness
and establishes the concept of brotherhood and unity in the society.
Zakat can help to remove the hatred of the poor and raised a feeling of a fellowship from the recipients. Zakat cannot be given to anyone in need, there are eight kinds of people to whom zakat can be given. These 8 kinds of people are mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Indeed, [prescribed] charitable offerings are only [to be given] to the poor and the indigent, and to those who work on [administering] it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to [free] those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. [This is] an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise.” (Quran, 9:60)
In the Holy Quran Allah (SWT)
emphasizes on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping those who are in
need. The more one helps, the more Allah Almighty helps the person, and the
more one gives, the more Allah (SWT) gives the person in return. May Almighty
Allah give us the strength to help the poor and needy people. Ameen!