In Islam, Zakat is an obligatory charity that Muslims must pay every year. The word Zakat means to purify. So, in Islam, Zakat helps Muslims purify their wealth. Since Zakat is a religious ritual, Muslims are required as a matter of faith to learn it and perform it correctly. This means, a Muslim must assess Zakat accurately upon his or her own different types of wealth and ensure its proper distribution at its due times to specified beneficiaries, with or without a supervising authority.
But, are there different types of Zakat? The answer is YES.
There are two types of Zakat that Muslims are obligated to pay: Zakat Al-Mal, or Zakat on Wealth, and Zakat Al-Fitr, the Zakat of Fast-Breaking, for the completion of the fasting month of Ramadan.
What is Zakat Al-Mal?
Zakat Al-Mal is commonly referred to as “Zakat” by most Muslims. It is Zakat that Muslims are required to pay annually on wealth that includes: currency, gold, silver, and property. It considers your comprehensive net assets (total wealth). The amount of Zakat Al-Mal that each Muslim owes will vary because it is 2.5% of net wealth that a person holds for a year. Zakat al Mal is only required once a Muslim reaches a certain financial threshold known as nisab. If a Muslim doesn’t reach this threshold, Zakat Al-Mal isn’t required on him or her.
What Is Zakat-Al-Fitr?
Zakat al-Fitr, or the Zakat of Breaking the Fast of Ramadan, is the special required charity that is paid by all Muslims at the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is also called Sadaqat al-Fitr, “the Charity of Breaking the Fast” of Ramadan, and Zakat al-Fitrah, the charity of human nature because it is a mandatory charity due on every Muslim at the end of Ramadan, regardless of age or gender.
This obligatory payment is termed fitrah, derived from the Arabic term fitr, a word which signifies the “nature” upon which God created the human being, related also to the Arabic word for “fast-breaking” (iftar), eating after a period of abstention from this “natural” and defining human activity.
The amount of Zakat-Al-Fitr a Muslim pays is the cost of meal. Note that Zakat Al-Fitr must be transported to reach the poor, even in other countries, to reach its most desirable recipients on the day of Eid.