Zakat & Beyond
What is Zakat
Zakat, or zakat al-mal, means obligatory "alms" or "alms upon wealth." It stands as the Third Pillar of Islam, coming immediately after salat, the daily ritual prayer. Every Muslim possessing the designated minimal amount of wealth, nisab, for the full cycle of a lunar year must, as a matter of worship, satisfy the duty of paying zakat.
Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) has collected and organized a series of questions and answers to provide clarification on the following subjects:
- Zakat Essentials: All possessions can be classified into either zakatable or non-zakatable wealth. The Quran specifies how zakat is to be collected and distributed, and who should receive zakat.
- Zakat Assessment: In order to accurately calculate your zakat, it is important to know what types of wealth zakat is due on and what types of wealth are non-zakatable.
- Zakat & Business: Many questions that American Muslims have about zakat are related to wealth that is acquired through business and investment, debt and liquid assets.
- Zakat Conditions & Calculation: Zakat falls due when certain conditions are met: Zakat is due only on zakatable wealth that reaches an established minimum threshold for that particular kind of wealth. A lunar year's full cycle must elapse on nisab for zakat to come due.
- Zakat & Social Justice: One of the Quran's major themes is social justice for those whom society disadvantages and compassion for the vulnerable. Islam builds its community out of our human obligation toward each other, making each Muslim accountable for the well-being of every other Muslim.
- Beyond Zakat: In addition to zakat, Muslims are strongly encouraged to give sadaqa, or optional charity, throughout the year.
Unfortunately, the calculation of zakat has become unclear to many Muslims because of the many different kinds of wealth they may have.
The mission of ZF is to help Muslims carry out their zakat duties easily and correctly. The resources assembled here cover a diverse array of financial topics and questions to assist with calculating and paying zakat in an accurate, timely and convenient way.
Who Answers the Zakat Questions?
ZF has presented here the positions of scholars recognized as mujtahidîn (or, qualified, independent legal practitioners) on current zakat topics.
Zakat Foundation has published The Zakat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Muslims in the West in consultation with renowned contemporary scholars in order to increase the awareness and practice of the Pillar of Zakat.