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Zakaah: Conditions & Eligibility

Upon becoming Muslim, one must pay Zakaah to those who deserve it.

Zakaah is a right from the rights of Allah which a Muslim must pay to his brothers from the poor and those in need to cover their requirements and save them from the humility of asking others. Allah says:

"And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and establish the Salah and give the Zakaah: and that is the upright religion." (98:5)

There is a great wisdom and many reasons why Zakaah has been prescribed. From them, may be the following:

  1. It purifies the souls of rich Muslims and cleanses them from greed, selfishness, base covetousness, and the love of this interim world and drowning in its desires.

  2. It purifies the soul of the poor from hate and jealousy which they might feel for the rich. They see them giving from their wealth, and continuously caring for them, by giving them money and treating them well.

  3. It causes a Muslim to grow fond of good manners, such as giving charity, and preferring others over himself.

  4. It uproots poverty in the Muslim society and alleviates the dangers which result from it, such as theft, murder, and transgression against people’s honor.

  5. It brings the spirit of mutual dependence and Islamic brotherhood to life, by fulfilling the needs of Islam and the Muslims.

  6. It plays a role in spreading Islam throughout the world. Through it, non-Muslims are shown the religion of Islam and its beauty, and it is hoped that they would accept it.

The Conditions of Zakaah

  1. Possession of the nisaab, which is the amount of wealth upon which Islam has legislated Zakaah. This amount is equal to 85 grams of gold.

  2. The elapse of one year. If one possesses the nisaab for a period of a complete year, Zakaah becomes due upon him.

Those Eligible for Zakaah

Allah has specified those who are eligible to receive Zakah. Allah says:

"As-Sadaqaat (i.e. Zakaat) are only for the Fuqaraa´ and Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to collect [the funds]; and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined [towards Islam]; and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon - those fighting in Jihad), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise..." (9:60)

Important Notes

  1. There is no Zakah due on those items which one possesses for personal use, such as houses, furniture, cars, and beasts of burden (horses, donkeys, etc.).

  2. There is no Zakah due on those assets one holds for rental purposes, like cars, shops, houses. Zakah must be paid on the rental payment if it is combined with his other wealth, reaches the nisaab and remains in his possession for a period of one year.