Zakat is one of the essential elements of the Islamic system of charity. It is a revolutionary micro-financial concept that has changed the lives of billions to this date, and its importance hasn’t dimmed in all these centuries. The Islamic system of wealth opposes the locking up of wealth in the vaults of the rich. Instead, it emphasizes the circulation of wealth; money must change hands if society is to flourish. While the general idea of Zakat is comprehensible to many subtle nuances and a few complicated questions, it merits a revision every year. In this brief, we will talk about zakat eligibility, meaning to whom we can give Zakat money and who is not eligible for it.
Who is eligible for Zakat?
The primary condition which must be satisfied to give Zakat is that the recipient of the Zakat must be poor or needy enough. This means we are talking about a person who is eligible for Zakat and whose property does not reach the nisab threshold. That’s after subtracting the basic requirements from the total assets. When translated into today’s monetary system, it is equivalent to the value of 3 ounces of gold (or 85 grams of 24k gold). Therefore, it is imperative to mention that while the intentions of giving Zakat are always pure, it is essential to ensure that all the due eligibility criteria are met before you give Zakat.
When Zakat Became Farz?
Zakat became an obligation in the second Hijri. It became compulsory after the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to the city of Medina. Eighteen months post-migration, Zakat was given the status of an obligation. The Medina verses in the Holy Quran indicate clear directives regarding Zakat’s subject matter. The payment of Zakat and the concerning orders are clearly described in these verses. During this time, Zakat was collected and distributed under the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) command.
Here are the answers to the questions when it comes to your mind who is eligible for Zakat.
Can we give Zakat to widows?
Whether a widow or an orphan, the concept of Zakat and its principles do not change; as mentioned before, Zakat can only be given to someone eligible for it in terms of Nisab. If someone has enough money that exceeds the threshold value of Nisab, then that person is not eligible for Zakat. In the case of a widow or an orphan, they’re only eligible for Zakat as long as they do not have enough money which amounts to the threshold value of Nisab. However, if you want to help someone, this money can be given as a gift.
Can I give Zakat to my widowed sister?
There is a consensus among Islamic scholars that Zakat can be given to one’s widowed sister. However, it is pertinent to mention that the zakat payment criterion must be met first. This means that the person must not have assets and cash more than the nisab value. If the widowed sister needs help, the charity money given in the name of Zakat is an act of kinship. One must find ways to help another person in their life rather than waiting for things before it is too late. Certainly, giving Zakat is one of the finest ways of helping someone in need of financial assistance.
Can we give Zakat to Syed?
According to the Holy Quran’s injunctions, Prophet Muhammad’s descendants (PBUH) are eligible to receive any charitable donation, including Zakat. However, this does not mean they cannot be given the financial assistance they might be looking for. It is just that they are not eligible for Zakat money. Therefore, Muslim brothers and sisters must take care of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but not in the form of Zakat.
Can one give Zakat to the mother-in-law?
Zakat cannot be given to those individuals with whom there is a familial relationship either because of birth or marriage. If the mother-in-law does not fall into either of these relationship categories, then she can be given the zakat money. However, it is also important to emphasize the point of the poor and needy in this context. Zakat is only for those who need this money. If the mother-in-law does not fulfill the eligibility criteria concerning the Nisab threshold, then she is not eligible for the zakat money.
Can we give zakat to masjid?
Any person, in particular, does not own mosques. The same applies to schools, properties, public works, and other institutions of benefit to the public in general. These institutions are well outside Zakat’s divinely delimited bounds. Hence, it is not permissible to give Zakat to these institutions, including mosques, since they do not qualify for this charity money. The majority of Muslim jurists are of this opinion. However, it is permissible to give Zakat to those in these institutes who need financial assistance; it can be a student or teacher.
What can Zakat be used for?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the world go through great turmoil and chaos. Billions of lives were lost worldwide. However, the pandemic’s financial impact was not perceived then. Now, the contagion has been controlled to some extent. However, the financial impact is just starting to reveal itself.
There are millions worldwide who are suffering from the economic plight induced by the pandemic. Times like these remind us of the significance of the charity concepts like Zakat. On paper, it is only 2.5% of annual savings. But in reality, the impact is immense when all Muslims chip in with their 2.5%. You might have come across someone who needed financial assistance, just enough to get things going. For such individuals, Zakat is nothing but a blessing. Organizations like Transparent Hands collect zakat donations to maximize their output, something that more organizations need to follow to alleviate the suffering of the poor.
That’s all for now. On the optimistic note that this brief answered your zakat queries, we bid you farewell from this space!
Frequently Asked Questions about Zakat
What is Nisab?
Nisab is the minimum amount, the threshold that one’s wealth must cross, for the concerned person to be eligible for zakat. Two metrics can define Nisab amount, namely gold and silver. By gold standard, Nisab is three ounces of gold or cash equivalent to it, while for silver, the stipulated amount is twenty-one ounces.
2- Gold or Silver-Which Should be Used As Nisab?
It depends on the nature of assets a person has. If a person has more gold in his or her possession, then it is better to pay zakat with gold as a reference. The same follows for silver, but paying zakat in gold will mean more amount for the recipients. This is an important charity factor that must be kept in mind.
3- Should Zakat be Paid on Hajj Money?
Zakat must be paid on hajj money once a lunar year is up, and the Nisab threshold is crossed.
4- How Can we Calculate Zakat on Shares?
The calculation of zakat on shares differs concerning the type of shares. If shares are bought to make a profit, then zakat is calculated as considering these shares stock. On the other hand, investment shares are bought for receiving dividends, and zakat on these is paid by calculating the company’s zakat-able assets.
5- How can One Calculate the Value of Stock in a Shop to Pay Zakat?
Zakat on a stock is calculated by considering the market value of the entire stock. Some businessmen calculate zakat concerning the price at which the stock was bought, which is a wrong approach.
6- Can Zakat be Paid in Advance?
If a person’s wealth meets the minimum requirement of the Nisab threshold, then yes, zakat can be paid in advance.
7- Who is Eligible to Receive Zakat?
According to Holy Quran, the following are the only ones eligible to receive zakat:
“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise”. (9:60)
8- Which Assets Must be Considered When Calculating Zakat?
Cash, jewelry (gold/silver), stocks, livestock, precious possession, and productive business assets are some of the assets that must be considered when calculating zakat.
9- Are There Any Assets That We Can Skip During Zakat Calculations?
Properties that are not used for business, cash used for managing the expenditures of the house, clothing are some of the assets that are non-zakat-able assets.
10- Can Zakat be Paid in Ramadan Only?
Although Muslims all around the world pay zakat mostly in Ramadan, it is not mandatory to do so. Zakat can be paid at any time of the year, provided that the Nisab threshold is met. Earn Maximum Blessings By donating during the Ramadan
11- Who Are Not Eligible to Receive Zakat?
Zakat cannot be given to blood relatives like parents, grandparents, or children. The same follows for husband and wife, and non-Muslims as well.
12- At Which Date Does the Zakat Year Begin?
Zakat year begins from the date on which a person had wealth equivalent to or above the Nisab threshold. One must pay zakat, once the seed date comes around.
Pay Zakat here:
13- If the total wealth falls below Nisab for a few months, does one still have to pay zakat by the end of the year?
Fluctuations that occurred during the year do not matter, it is the total wealth at the beginning and the end of the year that matters.
14- Does One have to Pay Zakat on Pension Funds?
If the bank does not make any deductions on the pension fund, then zakat must be paid by the receiver of the pension. However, in case the pension fund released is one that comes with zakat deducted on it by the government, then one is exempt from paying further zakat on it.
15- Does the Person in Debt has to Pay Zakat?
If a person’s wealth doesn’t meet the minimum zakat threshold because of debts, then he or she is exempt from zakat. Debts are deducted from wealth by principle.
16- What is Meant by Zakat-al-Fitr?
Also known as fitra, this is a type of Islamic charity that must be paid before the Eid-ul-fitr prayer. A family’s head can pay zakat-ul-fitr on the behalf of every family member.
17- Is Giving Charity the Same As Giving Zakat?
While giving charity is a commendable act, and one that comes with its rewards, zakat cannot be equated with charity. Zakat is an Islamic obligation, charity is a non-mandatory act of generosity.
18- Does One have to Pay Zakat on Rent Money?
Yes, one has to pay zakat on the Rent money. However, one can wait till the loan is received back and then pay zakat on it in one go.
19- Can Zakat be Paid Online?
Yes, zakat can be paid online as well. However, one must be extremely cautious while paying zakat via this route. Verifying the zakat eligibility of online campaigns is extremely important. Otherwise, there is a good chance that your donation will be wasted.
20- Most Frequently asked questions about Zakat is What are zakat liabilities?
Money owed on zakat-able assets is termed as a liability. Liabilities are deducted from the zakat calculation.