The literal meaning of Zakat in Arabic is purification, growth and blessing. It is a charitable practice that requires all able Muslims (those who meet the layer down rules) are required to pay in order to help those in need.
The messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “Islam is built on five (pillars): bearing witness that there is no god except Allah, establishing regular Salat, paying Zakat, fasting in month of Ramadan and going on Pilgrimage to Makkah.
According to the Holy Qur’an Chapter 9 (Surah At-Taubah: 60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be recipients of zakat:
- The poor
- The needy
- The officials (appointed) over them,
- Those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth)
- The (ransoming of) Captives
- Those in debts
- In the cause of Allah (SWT)
Because of the importance attached to Zakat, it is mentioned in ten (10) different times in the holy Qur’an in surahs: 7:156, 9:60, 19:31, 19:55, 21:73, 23:4, 27:3, 30:39, 31:4 and 41:7.
And the Hadith went further to stress that, “refusal to pay or mockery of those who pay Zakat is a sign of hypocrisy, and God will not accept the prayers of such people”.
Types of Zakat
There are two types of Zakat, namely Zakat Al-Fitr and Zakat Al-Mal
- Zakat al-Fitr (Ramadan Zakat)
The Arabic word Fitr means the same as iftar, breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast.
This is charity paid by Muslims at the end of Ramadan on the day of Eid. It is an obligation upon all Muslims regardless of their age or financial status (unless they honestly do not have the means) to pay zakat Al-fitr. There is no fix amount to pay but a person should do zakat Al-fitr for himself and his family members who are under his responsibility. It is also recommended for a man to donate on behalf of foetus in the womb of his wife.
Rationale for donating Zakat Al-Fitr
- As a levy on the fasting person. This is based on the hadith: The Prophet of Allah said, “The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr.”
- It purifies a person who has just fasted in the month of Ramadan from any false and idle speech that may have emanated from him.
- It helps the poor, so that their needs are met on the day of Eid and they do not have to ask others.
Period for its donation:
It is recommended and permitted to start giving out zakat Al-fitr from 28th, 29th, 30th and 1st Shawwal before Eid Prayer.
The quantity to be donated
It is permissible to donate one saa’ (four double handfuls which is approximately 3 kg). But in situation you can’t get a weigh, it is advisable to buy constructed tin for the purpose of zakat from the market which is equivalent to a saa’ depending on the size. For small tin, four full amount of grains is equivalent to a saa’ or 3 kg while for the bigger size, one full quantity of grains is equivalent to a saa’ or 3 kg. It is preferably that the most consumed food in the community and likely those used for Eid feast should be donated as Zakat Al-Al-Fitr.
- Zakat Al-Mal (Zakat on Wealth)
For every sane, adult Muslim who owns wealth over a certain amount–known as the nisab and period of stay known as the hawl – he or she must pay 2.5% of that wealth as Zakat Al-Mal. There is no fixed minimum amount that is due but rather determine by committee from nation or region from time to time. In Nigeria, the National Moonsighting Committee under the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affair is responsible for fixing yearly minimum amount due for payment. The current amount was fixed on the 24th Jumadal Ula 1442 (08/01/2021) by the National Moon Sighting Committee Nigeria through it official tweet account @moonsightingng as N1,971,720.
Conditions for Zakat Al-Mal
- That it reaches the nisab (minimum threshold)
- That it has passed the hawl since it reaches nisab (period of time)
If the money is less than the nisab, then no zakat is due on it.
If it reaches the nisab, and one year has passed, i.e (a lunar year), it is due for zakat.
The nisab is the equivalent of 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver.
The rate that must be paid for zakat is one quarter of one-tenth (2.5%)
Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have – after calculating necessary expenses – to be eligible to contribute zakat.
Hawl is defined as the completion period for a zakat asset, which is one lunar year. In other words, the wealth on which zakat should be paid must have been held for at least one full year. There are some forms of zakat that do not require hawl, such as for crops, when zakat should be paid at the time of the harvest.
What Constitutes Zakat Al-Mal?
Zakat Al-Mal is compulsory on four types of wealth that are the most popular sources of income among people, such as money, trading goods, agricultural products and animals.
Money includes financial assets including cash, bonds stocks, savings, loans given, and fund received.
Remember the lovely Hadith of the noble Prophet (SAW) while giving out Zakat.
Abu Harairah narrated that, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “When you give Zakat, do not forget its reward, and say ‘Allahummaj-alha maghnaman wa la taj-alha maghrama (O Allah! Make it a gain and do not make it a loss).” (Maudu).
May Almighty Allah accept our ibadat and bring peace to our nation.
As salamu Alaykum!!!
Written by Usman Ocheni