Zakat is the religious form of almsgiving in Islam treated as an obligatory act and by Quranic ranking, it comes next after the prayer (Salat) in importance. To become a righteous Muslim one is obliged to pay Zakat and fulfill one’s duties to the unprivileged people of society.
Islam has always encouraged giving and acknowledges those who are willing to spend responsibly and act dutifully. The following Hadith narrated by Ibn’ Umar highlights the fact:
“I heard Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) while he was on the pulpit speaking about charity, to abstain from asking others for some financial help and about begging others, saying: The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is that of the giver and the lower (hand) is that of the beggar.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book: 24, Number 509)
There are many generous Muslims in Pakistan who are willing to give Zakat and fulfill their religious obligations but are confused regarding the rules and regulations of paying Zakat due to the lack of proper knowledge on Islamic matters. So, here are three simple and basic questions which you may ask yourself before paying your Zakat donations in Pakistan.
3 Questions to Ask Before Zakat Donation in Pakistan
1 – How Your Zakat Can Help The Needy?
2 – Whom to Pay Zakat?
3 – How Much to Pay?
How Your Zakat Can Help The Needy?
Pakistan is a developing country facing innumerable issues like hunger, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, energy crisis, unemployment, political instability, environmental pollution, lack of effective resources etc.
Now political issues are daunting and fearsome for many civilians so whether to raise their voices and take a moral stand against political wrongdoings solely depends on individual choices. When it comes to social issues like hunger, poverty, illiteracy, homelessness etc many wealthy and rich Pakistanis can come forward and share their bounties with the unprivileged people so that they stand on their feet.
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Instead of focusing on a lot of problems at once it is better to contribute to one sector at a time to make sure that your contribution is bringing the most fruitful results. If you decide to donate your Zakat to relieve the hungry from starvation first think about the ways you can donate effectively.
You can buy and distribute food among your neighboring starving families so that they can be relieved from the pain of hunger immediately and ask your relatives or friends to do the same. You can personally donate your Zakat to a poor family who can use it as capital funding to start a small business in the locality.You may also provide guidance, and advice and monitor closely to ensure that they are using the money well. In this case, the family will get a stable income source and never have to starve in the future.
Before giving Zakat, think about the causes you want to support. In the next step plan the ways you want to spend your Zakat which will practically benefit the needy.
Whom to Pay Zakat?
When your personal wealth is above the Nisaab level you will become eligible for Zakat and have to pay 2.5% of your wealth to the poor. Giving Zakat is a noble deed to uplift the lives of our impoverished brothers and sisters and their children. Therefore we should find the most deserving family or people to donate our Zakat money to get the maximum results. In this context following Islamic guidance will be wise.
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Islam has made it obligatory for all rich and wealthy Muslims to pay Zakat and has also classified the people eligible to get it. You may consider the following criteria to ensure that your money reaches and benefits the neediest people in our society:
- The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent.
- The needy (al-masâkîn), means someone who is in difficulty.
- Zakat administrators.
- Those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community.
- Those in bondage (slaves and captives.)
- The debt-ridden.
- The wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or traveling with few resources.
You can also donate your Zakat to organizations that are addressing social problems directly. Charitable organizations and nonprofits have trained workers, resources, knowledge about the various community and local areas, and expertise in the field they are working so donating your Zakat to such institutions are likely to bring effective results. You may donate to food banks or organizations working to relieve poverty, provide accessible education for poor children, etc.
How Much to Pay?
Muslims are not allowed to pay Zakat at their sweet will in any amount. Islam has specified a particular amount that every Muslim is bound to pay. If you have the financial capability and strength you may give more above the required amount but anything less or below this amount is unacceptable.
Generally, every Muslim is required to give 2.5% of their total savings and wealth as Zakat. Again it is mandatory that every Muslim pay Zakat once every year but if you are capable enough you may give Sadaqah to the poor and needy multiple times of the year.