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 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.
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 the zakat charity 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 poor and needy in this context. Zakat is only for those who need this money. If the mother-in-law does not fulfil 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!