Whether you already know the basics about Zakat but are keen to understand more or you’ve never heard of this type of charitable giving before, the following guide should tell you everything you need to know.
A compulsory act of worship
Zakat involves giving a set percentage of your wealth to charity and it’s a considered to be a compulsory act of worship in Islam. In fact, along with Shahadah, Salat, Sawm and Hajj, it’s one of the Five Pillars of Islam. This means it’s viewed as one of the most important Muslim practices. People are expected to pay Zakat at the end of each lunar year if they have reached the age of puberty, are of sound mind and have a certain minimum level of wealth. As well as ensuring that excess resources are spread among those in need, the practice is said to cleanse impurities.
Muslims can pay Zakat to a range of charities, and many of these organisations provide special Zakat calculators to make it easier for people to work out how much money they should give.
The minimum level of wealth above which people are expected to pay Zakat is called the Nisab. Traditionally, this cut-off point is the equivalent of just over 612 grams of pure silver or 87 grams of pure gold. Either value can be used, but many experts now recommend using silver. This is because the Nisab for silver is now much lower than it is for gold. The values rise and fall in line with the market price of the metals, but last summer the Nisab for silver stood at £235.
How to calculate Zakat
Zakat is due on a variety of assets, including stocks and shares, money in bank accounts, precious metals, pensions, business stock, investment homes and money that has been issued as loans to others. To work out how much money to pay, simply add up the values of each of these assets. Once you have a total, calculate 2.5 per cent of this figure.
It’s important to realise that Zakat isn’t due on other assets, such as your personal home or car, jewellery that doesn’t contain precious stones or metals, furniture or debts that you don’t expect to be repaid.
Making a difference
The money collected through this practice can help to fund a wide range of worthwhile charity projects, from helping the poor in your local community to providing resources for aid and development initiatives around the world.
Whether you want to pay Zakat or you feel inspired to contribute to charity in other ways, giving money to good causes can help to transform people’s lives.