Zakat, or almsgiving, is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with prayer, fasting, pilgrimage (Hajj) and belief in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). For every sane, adult Muslim who owns wealth over a certain amount – known as the nisab – he or she must pay 2.5% of that wealth as Zakat.
“…and those in whose wealth there is a recognised right, for the needy and deprived” (Qur’an 70:24-5)
The nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must possess before they become eligible to pay Zakat. This amount is often referred to as the nisab threshold.
Gold and silver are the two values used to calculate the nisab threshold. The nisab is the value of 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.
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Zakat is not just a fundamental pillar of Islam. It is also a revolutionary concept with the potential to ease the suffering of millions around the world.
As Allah (SWT) tells us in the Holy Qur’an:
“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah”(Qur’an 2:110)
It is also a right that the poor have over us as for
“Those in whose wealth there is a recognised right for the needy and the poor” (Qur’an 70:24-25)
Picture this: if just the ten richest people in the world paid Zakat – that would be a staggering R157 billion! The power of that money in tackling poverty would be huge.
At Islamic Relief, we use your Zakat in the most effective way possible to relieve the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Your Zakat has funded some of our crucial work with people and communities living in disaster and war zones: drought and famine-struck countries across East Africa and communities affected by conflict in Syria. Your generosity has enabled communities to build sustainable livelihoods in the face of climate change, and enabled better lives for vulnerable orphans and families across the globe.
Alhamdulillah, you have the power to transform people’s lives.
Islamic Relief spends your donations in the most effective way possible to relieve the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people.
We spend the funds on the first category of Zakat – the poor and needy. As administrators of Zakat, we also take a proportion to cover admin costs of distributing aid (e.g the cost of petrol to transport the aid to a remote community). When you make a Zakat donation, a maximum of 12.5% is allocated to administrative costs.
Zakat ul Fitr is a charitable donation of food that is given before Eid prayer, therefore it must be given before the end of Ramadan. Fitrana must be given by every self-supporting Muslim who has food in excess of their needs, on behalf of themselves and their dependants.
Your Zakat donation should amount to 2.5% of your total zakatable wealth. Therefore, if your total assets (after any debts owed) amounted to R10,000, you would pay R250. Use our free and easy Zakat Calculator to calculate how much you owe.
Please note that for any specific queries, it is advisable to contact your local imam. You can also call our office on 020 7593 3232.
During Ramadan, Islamic Relief has a scholar available to issue specific guidance.
Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions that you can use for further guidance:
I owe several years of Zakat, how do I pay?
For every year that you owe Zakat, take 2.5% from the total wealth you had at the end of that year and pay that in Zakat. If you are not sure how much wealth you had, you must estimate it to the best of your ability. E.g. It is now Ramadan 2020. You have not paid Zakat for the last 5 years. You need to work out how much wealth you owned every Ramadan for the last 5 years and pay 2.5% of that.
Does the non-Muslim have to pay Zakat?
No, zakat is only prescribed for Muslims.
I normally give a lot of money in charity throughout the year, do I still have to pay Zakat?
You must pay zakat with the intention of paying it. It is important that you make an intention to give a donation as a zakat payment.
I paid Zakat on R4,000 last Ramadan. This year I have a total of R10,000 of wealth liable to Zakat. What value do I take the 2.5% from as I paid for the R4,000 last year?
Zakat is to be paid on the total savings regardless of what was paid on it in the past. Therefore, you would pay 2.5% of R10,000, R250.
If a child’s wealth has satisfied all the conditions of Zakat (i.e. it is above the Nisab and has been in their possession for one year), should Zakat be paid on it?
The majority of the scholars from the past favoured the opinion that it should be paid. This is the same for both the child and the insane person. Therefore, their guardian should take the Zakat from the person’s wealth and pay it on their behalf. However, some opinion suggest that it is not due on children and insane people, so please discuss with a scholar.
I have mixed jewellery consisting of gold, silver and precious stones. How do I calculate the value on which Zakat must be paid?
The best way for you to do this would be to take the jewellery to a jeweller and ask them to value just the gold and silver parts of the jewellery. The valuations they give will be the total on which you have to pay Zakat. Precious stones are not liable for Zakat.
I lent some money to a friend who informed me that s/he is able to return the money; do I have to include this in my wealth when calculating Zakat?
Yes, as it is as if s/he is just storing your money.
10 years ago I lent some money to a friend who is poor and I did not expect to get the money back. S/he has now paid me back, is this money liable for Zakat?
If the money is paid back, then it is liable for Zakat (provided the lender meet other criteria for paying Zakat). However, if the money is not paid back, then the intention for lending would need to be reviewed. If the lender was fairly sure that s/he was not going to receive it back and s/he is unable to refer it to a judiciary, then in such cases Zakat is usually not payable. However, there are many variables and hence this question should be referred to a scholar.
My Zakat is due in Dhul-Qa’dah but I would like to pay in advance (in Ramadan). I have a debt which must be paid in Shawwal (after Ramadan). Can this be deducted from my wealth when calculating Zakat?
The general answer would be yes, however we would strongly urge you to consult a scholar about this.
I bought a house for the purpose of renting 5 years ago. Last year I decided that I would sell the house. How do I pay Zakat on this?
For the time that you were renting the house out and did not have the intention of selling, you do not pay Zakat on the house. But you would still have to pay Zakat on the rent you earned just like any other wealth you have. You must pay Zakat after one lunar year from the day you made the intention to sell the house. You must also pay zakat on the selling price of the house. However, if you are paying in advance, you would need to estimate this. You would need to do the same for every year after that in which the house is still for sale. But to be absolutely clear, please discuss this with a scholar.
I have a shop where I sell clothes. How do I pay Zakat?
Every year at the time of paying Zakat, you would need to calculate the total selling price for all the goods for sale in your shop. E.g. All the clothes for sale in your shop add up to a total selling value of a particular sum of money. You would add this to your other wealth when calculating your total payment.