Everything you need to know about Zakat
When it comes to zakat, there are many rules and guidelines that must be considered; knowing what zakat is and how it used is the first step, however, it is also important to know how much to donate, when to donate, how to donate, why the Nisab values are so important and who is eligible to receive zakat.
For your convenience, we have compiled all of the frequently asked questions and answered them below to assist you with making your zakat donation. You can always receive further advice from your local imam.
What is Zakat?
Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam and requires all eligible Muslims must pay a set percentage of their annual wealth above the Nisab value. Charity giving such as this is compulsory and is distributed amongst people in need. Paying zakat is in line with Allah (SWT)’s wishes and is a reminder that anything we own in this life is not truly our own. It is believed that zakat charity is a means of purifying your wealth and giving back to not just your local community but those in need around the world.
Zakat payments are calculated on each lunar year, and should you be eligible, your zakat is calculated as 2.5% of your accrued wealth over the Nisab threshold. Your overall wealth is calculated based on assets, possessions, savings and also considers your outgoings and liabilities. Possessions that do not count towards your wealth include your home, car, and clothing, but it does include additional property and investments.
What is the Nisab Threshold?
While paying zakat is an obligation on every eligible Muslim, the Nisab threshold is in place to ensure that nobody gives more than they can afford. There are two values which are then used to calculate your threshold, and these are based on the price of silver and the price of gold:
- 612.36g of silver at current market value
- 87.48g of gold at current market value
On the day that you come to pay zakat online, make the calculation based on either silver or gold as per the current market rate to determine your nisab threshold. You can then use our zakat calculator to work out what 2.5% of your wealth is above the nisab, and this is how much you should be paying. Please bear in mind, that you must have held this wealth above the nisab threshold for a full lunar year.
When is best to donate Zakat?
The moment your accrued wealth surpasses the nisab threshold is when your Zakat year starts. You must hold the wealth above this threshold for a full year for it to count towards your zakat payment.
You can pay zakat at any point during the year, although many choose to do so during Ramadan when the spiritual rewards for doing so are much greater. You may give zakat in instalments or in one single donation.
Who is eligible to pay Zakat?
While zakat donations are compulsory, they only apply to eligible individuals. To be eligible, you must:
- Be a practicing Muslim
- Be free
- Be mentally sane
- Have passed the age of puberty
- Meet the Nisab threshold
If all of these criteria are fulfilled, then you are obligated to give zakat annually.
Who is eligible to receive Zakat?
Zakat payments are taken from all eligible Muslims and are distributed according to the Qur’an, to the following groups:
- 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 cause
- Ibnus Sabil - to assist the wayfarer or traveller who is cut off
Can I Pay Zakat to parents, siblings or family members?
On occasion, you are able to donate zakat to someone within your family, however, there are instances where you cannot. Should a member of your family fall under any of the eligible groups listed above then they may be eligible.
You cannot give zakat to your immediate family, for example, your partner, parents, grandparents or children, as these people are already your responsibility to provide for. However, other members of your family who are not dependant on you are eligible to receive zakat.
The main exception to this rule is that a wife may donate zakat to her husband if he is in need.
If in doubt, consult your local Imam for extra guidance.
Give Zakat with UK Islamic Mission Today
When you pay Zakat in the UK, your donations can be used for those in need in your local communities or distributed across the world for the most vulnerable and in need. This level of charity helps improves lives, whether this is providing essential food, shelter or educational facilities to those who would otherwise go without. Donate your zakat with UK Islamic Mission to help transform lives around the world.