What is Zakat?

The Five Pillars of Islam

There are five basic acts in Islam, considered mandatory by believers and are the foundations of Muslim life. They make up Muslim life, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification and the pilgrimage:

  1. Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger
  2. Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
  3. Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy
  4. Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
  5. Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is able


Zakat – the practice of charitable giving based on accumulated wealth

Zakat, literally means “that which purifies”, is considered a way to purify one’s income and wealth from sometimes worldly, impure way of acquisition. One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to Allah, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. Therefore, our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need. It is based on income and the value of all of one’s possessions.

It is customarily 2.5% of a Muslim’s total income, savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab.  Zakat is not a charitable contribution, and is considered as a tax.  The collected amount is paid first to zakat collectors, and then to poor Muslims, to new converts to Islam, to Islamic clergy, to those fighting for Islamic causes, and any other charitable cause.

The Five Principles of Zakat

  1. The giver must declare to God his intention to give the zakat.
  2. The zakat must be paid on the day that it is due.
  3. After the offering, the payer must not exaggerate on spending his money more than usual means.
  4. Payment must be in kind. This means if one is wealthy then he or she needs to pay a portion of their income. If a person does not have much money, then they should compensate for it in different ways, such as good deeds and good behavior toward others.
  5. The zakat must be distributed in the community from which it was taken

Zakat and Ramadan

Zakat is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan.  Ramadan is chosen by many as the month in which they pay their zakat.  In Islam, all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded during Ramadan than in any other month of the year.  Consequently, many will choose this time to give a larger portion, if not all, of the zakat that they are obligated to give.

In addition, many will also use this time to give a larger portion of sadaqah (the voluntary charity in giving above and beyond what is required from the obligation of zakat) in order to maximize the reward that will await them at the Last Judgment.

From everyone at EZTakaful, Give a Blessing Today!

Watch out for our next Ramadan post in the next few days. Happy reading!

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