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Everything you need to know about Zakat

By Evelyn Richards

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Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is now well underway after kicking off on April 2.

Muslims observe this important month by fasting during the daylight hours, praying, and spending time with family.

Another key part of Ramadan is called Zakat, which is obligatory for all eligible Muslims.

But what exactly is Zakat – and how much do you have to pay?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is Zakat?

Zakat is a special donation given during the time of Ramadan.

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It is both a spiritual duty and an integral part of the Islamic social welfare system.

Charity expert Sania Sufi explained to that helping the needy ‘cleanses’ the souls and wealth of Muslims.

Sania, CEO of The Citizens Foundation (UK), said: ‘Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and a compulsory act of worship. It represents the amount of wealth that a Muslim pays to the poor, vulnerable and underprivileged people.

‘The literal meaning of the word Zakat is “to cleanse”. By giving charity through Zakat and thereby alleviating the suffering of the poor, Muslims purify and cleanse their wealth and soul.’

Who has to pay Zakat?

Zakat is obligatory for all eligible Muslims, as quoted in the Quran (2:43): ‘You shall observe the Salah and give the obligatory charity, and bow down with those who bow down.’

You are eligible if you are an adult that has possessed Nisab over the past year.

Sania from TCF-UK explained that ‘Nisab’ is ‘the minimum amount of wealth needed to satisfy their own needs and that of their family.’

Gold and silver are the two values used to calculate the Nisab threshold. The Nisab is the value of 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.

According to Islamic Relief, the Nisab value for 2022 is as follows:

  • Using value of silver (612.36 grams) – approximately £379.66

  • Using value of gold (87.48 grams) – approximately £4,174.55

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How much should you pay for Zakat?

All Muslims must pay 2.5% of their wealth above the Nisab as Zakat.

Sania said: ‘The Nisab changes year to year, which requires one to calculate Zakat every year.’

To work out how much you need to pay, TCF-UK has a handy Zakat calculator tool.

What is Zakat spent on?

Zakat is used to support disadvantaged communities. It can be used towards improving education, the environment, health, food security, and more.

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For example, Sania told that: ‘All donations sent to TCF are utilised through the year to educate and empower deserving children from the poorest and most marginalised areas of Pakistan.

‘TCF uses the Zakat donations it receives to ensure long-lasting and transformative impact for its students, their families, and communities.’

There are many charities with inspiring missions that accept Zakat donations, including TCF-UK, the Zakat Foundation, Charity Right, Islamic Relief, Muslim Hands, Water Aid, Muslim Aid, Human Appeal, Orphans in Need, and more.