Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is an obligatory annual payment that can only be used for charitable and religious purposes. When translated from Arabic, Zakat means ‘that which purifies’, and the ethos behind Zakat is that through giving, you are purifying your wealth and honouring the shared responsibility for humanity across the Islamic world.
According to the Qu’ran, “Those in whose wealth there is a recognised right for the needy and the poor.” (Qur’an 70:24-25).
Islam recognises the great disparity across the globe between the haves and the have-nots, and significant emphasis is placed on helping to alleviate the struggle of those who are struggling even to have the most basic necessities of life.
When to Pay Zakat
Zakat is paid annually on the day that your wealth exceeds the Nisab amount, according to the Hijiri calendar. You are obliged to pay 2.5 per cent of your excess wealth over the Nisab threshold. There might be some confusion with the charitable donation that is paid as part of Ramadan. This donation is known as Zakat al-Fitr.
When to Pay Zakat al-Fitr
As Ramadan draws to a close as Eid approaches, it is at this point when Muslims have to pay Zakat al-Fitr to ensure that their Muslim brothers and sisters in the poorest and most under-developed countries have food and drink to celebrate Eid as well.
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) ordained Zakat ul Fitr (Fitrana) to purify the fasting person from indecent words or actions, and to provide food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakat for the person who gives it before the Eid prayer; but it is a mere Sadaqah for the one who gives it after prayer.” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah).
Therefore, it is important to stress that when to pay Zakat is a completely different question from when to pay Zakat al-Fitr, as they are two distinctly different obligations that must be met by Muslims the world over.
What is the Nisab threshold?
It is important to understand and acknowledge what the Nisab threshold is to be clear when you have to pay your individual Zakat. Once your personal wealth exceeds this threshold, that is when you pay zakat.
You can calculate your Nisab threshold based on the current prices of gold and silver.
- 612.36 g of silver at the current market value
- 87.4g of gold at its current market value
Once you have worked out what your threshold is from one of both of these markers, you can access our UKIM Zakat calculator to work out the value of the Zakat that you will be obliged to pay.
Who is eligible to receive Zakat?
When you have worked out when to pay Zakat, you can be assured that your wealth is being distributed to those who need it most. Not everyone is eligible to receive Zakat, and there are strict rules as to who should receive help through Zakat payments. These include:
- Those who meet the criteria of Fuqara (someone whose wealth is below that of the Nisab threshold).
- Those who meet the criteria of al-Masakin (someone who has nothing in terms of wealth or assets).
- Those who have the responsibility to collect and distribute Zakat.
- Those who are converting to Islam or reverting back to the faith.
- Those held in captivity or slavery.
- Those who are in financial debt.
- Those fighting for the cause of Allah (SWT).
What happens when you decide not to pay Zakat?
The benefits of paying Zakat are plentiful in helping Muslims to draw closer to Allah (SWT) and receive his blessings. For those who actively decide not to, there are no better words to express it than the words of the Prophet (PBUH):
“And let not those who covetously withhold of that which God has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them. The things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection. And to God belongs the heritage of the heavens and earth, and God is well acquainted with all that you do.@ (Qur’an 3:180).
The importance of Zakat is underpinned when you consider that the word ‘Zakat’ is mentioned 32 times in the Qur’an.
“My Mercy extends to all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who have God-consciousness and give their Zakat and those who believe in Our Signs.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:156).
Pay Your Zakat to UKIM
UKIM receives your Zakat and distributes it among those who need it most globally. Pay your Zakat today.