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While reverts often have an individual or community in their life that is responsible for guiding them to the religion of Islam, there are many new Muslims who choose to turn to Islam but are unfortunately distanced from local communities and have no-one to turn to when seeking spiritual or religious advice. For these new Muslims, or reverts, we have put together a comprehensive guide on Zakat and what is expected of capable Muslims when they make their Zakat donation.

What is Zakat?

There are five core practices in Islam, which are known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The third Pillar of Islam is Zakat, where individuals must pay a set percentage of their total annual wealth to support those in need. Zakat is a charitable donation that is given to help those without the means to support themselves and distribute wealth in accordance with the wishes of Allah (SWT). After all, our goods and wealth are material possessions which do not belong to us.

Zakat is given to purify one’s income and wealth and is a good example of the altruistic attitudes of Muslim communities. The contribution made for Zakat is a set percentage of an individual’s total profitable wealth, on the condition that their total annual combined wealth surpasses the threshold known as the nisab value. 

Zakat is calculated at 2.5% of an individual's total profitable wealth, including possessions, savings and precious resources. Belongings that contribute to your comfortable day to day living, such as your clothing, your home and your car, are not included. However, any additional property and car investments must be included when calculating your Zakat. 

What is the Nisab Value?

The nisab value or nisab threshold is defined as the total amount of wealth necessary for an individual to hold or surpass to make them eligible to pay Zakat. Two values are used to calculate the Nisab threshold:

  • 87.48 grams of gold at the current market rate
  • 612.36 grams of silver at the current market rate

The monetary value is calculated on that day’s market rate when you come to work out the amount of Zakat contribution necessary. When your wealth surpasses the nisab value, it must be held for a full Islamic calendar year of 354 days (Hawl) before making a Zakat payment, as circumstances can easily change. 

Use our Zakat calculator to easily work out how much Zakat you need to pay this year.

Who is Eligible to Pay Zakat?

In addition to meeting or exceeding the nisab threshold, individuals must qualify in the following categories to be eligible to pay Zakat:

  • They must be a practising Muslim
  • They must be free
  • They must be mentally sane
  • They must have passed the age of puberty
  • They must have a positive flow of wealth (goods or cash)

To summarise, a healthy, adult Muslim who is earning, can freely move and holds a wealth value above the current nisab threshold is expected to pay Zakat annually.

Who is Eligible to Receive Zakat?

As defined in the Holy Qur’an, several groups of individuals are eligible to receive Zakat, including:

  • Fuqara, the poor
  • Al-Masakin, the needy
  • Amil, those employed to collect Zakat funds
  • Muallaf, newcomers to Islam
  • Riqab, those in slavery
  • Gharmin, those in debt
  • Mujahidun, those who fight for Allah’s cause
  • Ibnus Sabil, to assist the wayfarer or traveller who is cut off

This is defined in Surah Tawbah in the Holy Qur’an: 

‘As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara' (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.’

When Should I Pay Zakat?

When your wealth surpasses the nisab value, this begins the period known as your Zakat year and it is on this date, a full calendar year ahead, that your Zakat payment is due and will always be due. Additional charity given during this Zakat year is not considered part of the yearly contribution as defined by Zakat rules and whilst it is acceptable to pay Zakat in instalments, it is preferable to pay your Zakat as a single contribution. 

Whilst you can pay your Zakat at any time of year, many Muslims choose to donate their Zakat during the Holy month of Ramadan when the spiritual rewards are much greater. Ramadan is the blessed month, in which all rewards from Allah (SWT) are greatly multiplied, as narrated by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

UK Islamic Mission, Distributing Your Zakat to Those in Need

When you make your Zakat contribution to the UK Islamic Mission, we distribute it to our brothers and sisters in need across the world. Past Zakat donations have gone towards building new homes, repairing Mosques, improving schools and helping to feed those who would otherwise go without. Start planning how you will pay your Zakat today.

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