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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 turn to Islam but are unfortunately distanced from local communities. As a result, they may be strapped for 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 Are the Zakat Rules?

Zakat has multiple guidelines and rules, each covering a variety of different details and questions including who is eligible for Zakat, when should you pay Zakat, who you can give Zakat to, how can you donate Zakat, how much Zakat should you pay, and much more. 

Below, we have detailed some of the most common questions and answers so that reverts are fully aware of the Zakat rules they must follow. Use this as a resource to help inform your own Zakat payment process or contact your local Imam for further advice.

Zakat Explanation

There are five core practices in Islam which are known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The third Pillar is Zakat, whereby Muslims are required to contribute a fixed 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 excess wealth is distributed in accordance with the wishes of Allah (SWT). After all, our goods and wealth are merely material possessions that do not truly belong to us. 

Zakat’s meaning varies depending on the context, and the word is utilised in multiple ways throughout the Holy Qur’an. Generally, the Zakat meaning is to increase, grow, and purify. In the context of the Five Pillars of Islam, the Zakat payment is given to purify one’s income and wealth, displaying the altruistic attitudes of Muslim communities. This is a key reason why Zakat is important to Muslims around the globe, as it represents their dedication to faith and charity. 

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 equates to 2.5% of an individual's total profitable wealth above the Nisab threshold, including savings, possessions, 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 surplus property and car investments must be included when calculating your Zakat.

What is the Nisab Value and How Much Zakat Should I Pay?

The Nisab value or threshold is defined as the total amount of wealth an individual must hold or surpass to make them eligible to pay Zakat. Two values are involved in calculating 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 of Zakat is calculated based on the day’s market value of gold or silver.  Any wealth you hold that exceeds the Nisab value must be held for an entire Islamic calendar year of 354 days (Hawl) before making a Zakat payment on it, as circumstances can quickly change.  

Use our Zakat calculator to easily work out how much Zakat to pay.

Base Nisab on value of
Gold & silver
Business Assets



Nisab values



Nisab in tola =7.5 tola

Who is Liable to Pay Zakat?

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

  • They must be practising Muslims 
  • They mustn’t be enslaved
  • 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, sane, adult Muslim who is earning, can freely move and holds a wealth value above the current Nisab threshold is expected to pay Zakat on an annual basis.

Who May Receive Zakat?

As defined in the Holy Qur’an, several groups of individuals are eligible for Zakat assistance or receipt, 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 
  • Fisabilillah, those who fight for Allah’s (SWT) cause 
  • Ibnus Sabil, to assist the wayfarer or traveller who is cut off 

This is defined in Surah Tawbah (9:60) of 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 (SWT) 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 (SWT). And Allah (SWT) is All-Knower, All-Wise.”

Can Zakat be given to Family?

The rules surrounding Zakat for families are complex. Some family members can receive Zakat whilst others cannot; however, should certain members qualify as one of the groups mentioned above, then they may receive your Zakat.

Your immediate family can’t receive your Zakat; therefore, the recipient of your Zakat cannot be your spouse, parents, children, or grandparents, as you are already expected to be responsible for their needs. Therefore, for those asking, “Can a mother give Zakat to her son?”, the answer is no. However, other relatives can receive your Zakat, as long as they are not living within your household or dependent on you financially.

The only divergence to this rule is for wives wondering “Can I give Zakat to my husband?” If they are in need, it’s always lawful under Zakat rules. Charity in Islam is to be given to those who are most deserving and not to be used as a means of supporting anyone you are responsible for.

Can I Give Zakat to my Aunt or Uncle? 

Yes. You are not responsible for looking after your aunt or your uncle as they are not part of your immediate family, but they must not be living in the same household as you or be financially dependent on you. This is if they qualify as per the eight categories listed above.

Can I Give Zakat to Siblings? 

It is permissible to give Zakat to your brother or sister if they are in need. They should not live in the same house as you or be financially dependent on you in order to qualify to receive your donation.

Can I Give Zakat to Syeds Descendents of the Prophet (PBUH)? 

There is some dispute as to whether a Muslim with the last name Syed can receive a Zakat donation, even if they would otherwise qualify as per the above categories. This is because Syeds are descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) and, thus, are considered in the Qur’an to benefit from his wealth. The Qur’an does state that members of the Syed family are ineligible to receive Zakat.

Can I Pay Zakat on Behalf of Someone? 

You can pay Zakat on behalf of someone else, such as a husband making a payment on behalf of his wife, but this must be authorised either implicitly or explicitly to qualify.

Do I Need to Pay Zakat on Land? 

You do not need to pay Zakat on a property that you live in, i.e., your first home, but a second property that you may make a profit on – such as letting out for rent – should be included in your calculation. If you own a business, then any stock that has been purchased for resale, including land, is subject to Zakat. However, any buildings that are deemed essential for the business should not be included in your Zakat.

When Should I Pay Zakat and Can I Give Zakat Before Ramadan?

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. While it is acceptable to pay Zakat in instalments, it is preferable to pay your Zakat as a single contribution. 

How Many Types of Zakat are There in Islam? 

There are two types of Zakat in Islam: Zakat al-Mal and Zakat al-Fitr. These are commonly confused, especially by those not in the Muslim community. Zakat al-Mal, also commonly known simply as “Zakat”, is an annual payment that is due a year after being above the Nisab threshold. Some new revert Muslims ask, “can we give Zakat before Ramadan?” after coming back to Islam as they are unsure when to pay Zakat for the first time. 

Zakat al-Fitr, also known as Fitrana, is the second type of Zakat. This payment must be made during the month of Ramadan, before the Eid prayers, although many Muslims prefer to give it during the last 10 days in the hope that it is donated during Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power). 

Can I Give Zakat for Education? 

Strictly speaking, it is not permissible to give your Zakat for education, such as to donate to a school, as this does not meet the eight qualifying criteria. However, some believe that this may qualify under Fisabilillah (Allah’s cause), but this is reserved specifically for soldiers who fight in the name of Allah (SWT).

Can I Give Zakat to Build a Mosque 

Just as you cannot give Zakat to build a school, neither can you give your Zakat to build a mosque. You can make a separate donation through UK Islamic Mission if you would like to make a contribution to our Build a Mosque appeal.

Speak to Your Local Imam for Guidance 

If you remain unsure about anything regarding your Zakat donation, please speak to your local Imam, who will be able to guide you in the right direction. They will be happy to offer simplified rules for Zakat that will help those new to the Muslim community to understand this obligation, what is and isn’t permissible, and answer any other queries that you may have.

UK Islamic Mission, Distributing Your Zakat to Those in Need

When you contribute your Zakat to 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, improving schools, and helping to feed those who would otherwise go without. 

Start planning how you will pay your Zakat today. UK Islamic Mission will be most appreciative of your donation and can keep you updated with how your contributions make a difference to those most in need.

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