Assalam -u- ‘Alaikum
Few days back my friend had an agonising experience when a lady narrated her ordeal. The lady barely makes her ends meet, but has to spend Rs 2500 for the medication of her daughter every month. She lost her husband to 2010 upheaval. Since then she, and her children, are faced with indescribable problems. My friend adopted the family, and hopefully the tough time for them is over.
Now the question to me and you; why, as a Muslim society, we don’t have an organised Zakah system! There is enough to be deliberated upon, but my purpose here is to invoke you on being considerate towards the larger welfare of our society. I wish all of you blessings of the month of Ramadhan. This is the suitable time to think over such matters, and start acting.
There are certain reliable social work organisations that can go into making a prototype of systematic collection-and-utilisation of Zakah. We will be sharing a few names in the next letter. We can also pool in our Zakat for specific projects, say constructing a small house for someone who does not have one, or providing water to those who do not have such facilities. There can be many other things that can be taken up.
Those of you who are interested in this idea can send a message, with name, on my number (+91_8491940184), so that I add it to a whatsapp group where I want we should share ideas and come up with the best possible plans.
Together we can make a big difference.
“Be what you want your child to be”
Every year we do something to impart good values to our children. Last year we had taken some students, and a group of parents to one of the orphanages in Srinagar. We not only had iftaar with the children there, but could collect around 75000 rupees for the orphanage, besides lot of clothes. Such activities instil the value of giving and sharing in children. This year we intend to plan it different ways.
Mubashir Aslam Wafai
Oasis child development centres
“True piety is this: to believe in God, and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the Prophets, to give of one’s substance, however cherished, to kinsmen, and orphans, the needy, the traveler, beggars, and to ransom the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the zakat.” (Qur’an 2:177)
The Meaning and Purpose of Zakat
The literal meaning of Zakat is ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purification’. In the Islamic faith, Zakat means purifying your wealth for the will of Allah SWT; to acknowledge that everything we own belongs to Allah SWT and to work towards the betterment of the Muslim Ummah. According to Islamic regulations, Zakat is 2.5% of one year’s total cumulative wealth. This amount is then distributed to the poor. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has said “Whoever pays the zakat on his wealth will have its evil removed from him” (Ibn Khuzaimah and at-Tabaraani).
Zakat as a Means of Spiritual Purification
Zakat is not only a means to purify one’s wealth but it is also a spiritual purification which serves as a means to draw an individual closer to the Creator, Allah SWT. Ibn Taimiah said that, “the soul of one who gives zakat is blessed and so is his wealth”. It is quite clear from the above narration that in addition to being a moral obligation, Zakat is also a spiritual one which is why millions of Muslims every year give Zakat to the poor.
‘In their wealth there is a known share for the beggars and the destitute’ (70:24-25)
We mentioned how Zakat is a means of connection between the person and Allah SWT. It also
provides a connection between the giver and the recipient. The entire concept of donating a fraction of one’s wealth to the poor is a highly honourable act; one that comes with valuable lessons as well as blessings. First and foremost, it teaches Muslims self-discipline, allowing the giver to free themselves from the love of possessions a
Who Should Pay Zakat?
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. As such, it is compulsory on Muslims, provided they meet certain conditions and criteria. Any Muslim who possesses the required nisaab (the minimum amount of wealth that one must have before zakat is payable) for one whole year is bound to pay Zakat on that wealth. It is imperative that Muslims know exactly how much Zakat they owe and How to Calculate Zakat so that the right amount can be given to the intended recipient.
A lot of people choose Ramadan as the month in which they pay their zakat and for good reasons. Ramadan is the month of blessings and the rewards for all good deeds is far greater in this blessed Ramadan that in any other month.
The Beneficiaries of Zakat?
To put it in simple terms, people who are poor and suffering are eligible to receive Zakat money. They can be any of the following:
Zakat Cannot Be Used For
Making the Intention of Zakat
Making an intention is integral in Islam. It can be found in virtually every discipline in the Islamic faith. Muslims make an intention to pray before they pray. The same goes for fasting and Hajj. It is therefore, mandatory to make intention of giving zakat, either at the time of organising the payment or at the time of payment.
Items That Fall Under the Scope of Zakat
Jewellery and Precious Metal – Case in point, Gold and Silver. Both come under Zakat even if they are used merely for decorative purposes. The reason behind it is simple; they contribute towards your cumulative wealth and as such their worth must be tabulated when calculating Zakat.
‘TAKE ALMS FROM THEIR PROPERTY THAT YOU MAY PURIFY AND SANCTIFY THEM AND PRAY FOR THEM. VERILY YOUR PRAYERS ARE A COMFORT FOR THEM’ (9:103)
General Conditions of Zakat
Making Niyat is only half the task. Muslims must also consider the following conditions in order to ensure their Zakat contribution is paid correctly.
Recipient’s Eligibility: It is absolutely imperative that every shred of aid given reaches only those who need it most. As such, recipients of Zakat must be sufficiently poor to receive it. In a nutshell, if they don’t have personal assets that either meet or exceed the nisab, they are eligible to receive Zakat.
Zakat and Tax:
Some people might think Zakat is a form of tax. It is not. Zakat and tax are two entirely different things. One is a spiritual act and an obligation as a caring human being and the other is a requirement of secular law. The concept of Zakat is to assist the poor and those who are suffering in order to help them end their suffering and get back on their feet.