Allah (SWT) says: “Take sadaqah (alms) from their property to purify them and sanctify them with it and invoke Allah for them. Verily your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah knows what you do.” (Quran 9: 103)
Giving Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It must be shown on savings that have reached or exceeded the nisab level after deducting expenses. In addition, every lunar year before Zuhur prayer in Raman must be paid on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul Adha.
Zakat should be paid on savings, but if one gives his personal property, which is not durable, such as food, clothing, etc., to the poor/needy, it does not provide him with zakat privilege. However, this way of donating can be considered a charitable act.
The recipient of Zakat has to be Muslims who are free from Najasat (uncleanliness), Muslims’ relatives, orphans, poor international students in Malaysia, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, etc. There are other categories where Zakat may be given but only after consultation with an Alim or Mufti. It is better to make local contacts for giving charity because sometimes there are many problems related to the acceptance of Zakat.
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Zakat is meant to strengthen the economic condition of poor Muslims and provide support for other activities for stabilizing the community. Therefore, it must be given before distributing national resources to the poor. If it is postponed, there may be complaints about inequality in allocating resources.
The Quran has laid out that rich people should help the poor ones with charity, which will purify their wealth and decrease envy. A Muslim should maximize their wealth while spending on family needs, clothing, food etc. They should not waste money on entertainment, construction, or business just because he believes that God will increase their wealth more than this. They should spend according to their income without getting engaged in debts. On the other hand, if they have surplus money, they should help the needy.
According to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s), Zakat is an act of worship that benefits both the rich and the poor. It provides for those in need while purifying their wealth, and it supports them physically while increasing their spiritual awareness. He also said that if people did not give Zakat, the earth would scream with pain because of the burden of its men who are so stingy towards themselves and yet so eager to love worldly possessions.
The following verses from Quran show how necessary giving Zakat is: “O you who believe! Spend out of the good things which you have earned, and of that Allah has brought out for you from the earth, and do not aim at getting something which is terrible so that out of it you may give away something when you yourselves would not take it except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of all wants (Quran 2: 267)
Another verse says, “They will question thee as to what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever wealth ye spend should be for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do of good deeds, surely Allah knows it well.” (Quran 2: 215)
Giving Zakat prevents misusing money, making life full of misery on earth and hereafter. There are some verses in the Quran which make it very clear: “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. Lo! Allah is Seer of what ye do.” (Quran 2: 110)
“While the hypocrites seek to beguile Allah, He will attract them. When they stand up to pray, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance; Swaying between this (and that), (belonging) neither to these nor to those. Thou wouldst almost see them if they were to follow them suddenly, the man who had in him some good would exclaim: How Badly If treated! How badly I was treated! (Quran 4: 142-143)
“And if ye are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, then a pledge with possession (may serve the purpose). And if one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust and fear his Lord. Conceal, not evidence; for whoever conceals it- His heart is tainted with sin. And God know the all that you do.”(Quran 2: 283)