Upon becoming Muslim, one must pay Zakah to those who deserve it.
Zakah is a right from the rights of Allah (y) 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 (y) says: And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. [98:5]
There is a great wisdom and many reasons why Zakah has been prescribed. From them, may be the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- It causes a Muslim to grow fond of good manners, such as giving charity, and preferring others over himself.
- 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.
- It brings the spirit of mutual dependence and Islamic brotherhood to life, by fulfilling the needs of Islam and the Muslims.
- 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 Zakah
- Possession of the nisaab, which is the amount of wealth upon which Islam has legislated Zakah. This amount is equal to 85 grams of gold.
- The elapse of one year. If one possesses the nisaab for a period of a complete year, Zakah becomes due upon him.
Those Eligible for Zakah
Allah has specified those who are eligible to receive Zakah. Allah says: Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] 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]
- 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.).
- 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.