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Silver or gold coinage are one way of granting zakat. Dinar Dirham Web.jpg
Silver or gold coinage are one way of granting zakat.

Zakat (Arabic : زكاةzakāh [zaˈkaːh] , "that which purifies", [1] also Zakat al-mal [zaˈkaːt alˈmaːl] زكاة المال, "zakat on wealth", [2] or Zakah) [3] is a form of alms-giving treated in Islam as a religious obligation or tax, [4] [5] which, by Quranic ranking, is next after prayer ( salat ) in importance. [6]

Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world's population, commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, believed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

Quran The central religious text of Islam

The Quran, also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God (Allah). It is widely regarded as the finest work in classical Arabic literature. Slightly shorter than the New Testament, it is organized in 114 chapters — not according to when they were revealed, but according to length of surahs under the guidance of divine revelation. Surah are subdivided into verses.


As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. [7] It is a mandatory charitable contribution, often considered to be a tax. [8] [9] The payment and disputes on zakat have played a major role in the history of Islam, notably during the Ridda wars. [10] [11] [ page needed ]

The Five Pillars of Islam are some basic acts in Islam, considered mandatory by believers, and are the foundation of Muslim life. They are summarized in the famous hadith of Gabriel. The Sunni and Shia agree on the essential details for the performance and practice of these acts, but the Shia do not refer to them by the same name. They make up Muslim life, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage, if one is able.

Ridda wars series of military campaigns (632–633 CE) launched by Caliph Abu Bakr against rebel Arabian tribes soon after Muhammads death; ended with Caliphate victory

The Ridda Wars, also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr against rebel Arabian tribes during 632 and 633, just after Muhammad died. The rebels' position was that they had submitted to Muhammad as the prophet of Allah, but owed nothing to Abu Bakr.

Zakat is based on income and the value of all of one's possessions. [12] [13] It is customarily 2.5% (or 1/40) [14] of a Muslim's total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab , [15] but Islamic scholars differ on how much nisab is and other aspects of zakat. [15] According to Islamic doctrine, the collected amount should be paid to the poor, the needy, Zakat collectors, those sympathetic to Islam, to free from slavery, for debt relief, in the cause of Allah and to benefit the stranded traveller.

In Sharia niṣāb (نِصاب) is the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to zakat. Several hadith have formulas for calculating niṣāb, the most prominent of which declares that No Zakāt is due on wealth until one year passes. Zakat is determined based on the amount of wealth acquired; the greater one's assets, the greater the tax. Unlike income tax in secular states niṣāb is not subject to special exemptions.

The phrase fi sabilillah is an Arabic expression meaning "in the cause of Allah", or more befittingly, "for the sake of Allah". Alternative spellings for fi sabilillah include fisabilillah and fisabillillah and is defined as, “doing anything for the sake of God and in the way of God to gain nearness to Him and gain His pleasure.”

Today, in most Muslim-majority countries, zakat contributions are voluntary, while in Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen, zakat is mandated and collected by the state. [16] [17]

Libya Country in north Africa

Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

Malaysia Federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Shias, unlike Sunnis, traditionally regarded zakat as a private and voluntary decision, and they give zakat to imam-sponsored rather than state-sponsored collectors. [18] [19] [20]

Imam Islamic leadership position

Imam is an Islamic leadership position.


Zakat literally means "that which purifies". [1] Zakat is considered a way to purify one's income and wealth from sometimes worldly, impure ways of acquisition. [1] [21] [22] [23] According to Sachiko Murata and William Chittick, "Just as ablutions purify the body and salat purifies the soul (in Islam), so zakat purifies possessions and makes them pleasing to God." [24] [25]

William Chittick American philosopher, writer and translator

William C. Chittick is a philosoper, writer, translator and interpreter of classical Islamic philosophical and mystical texts. He is best known for his work on Rumi and Ibn 'Arabi, and has written extensively on the school of Ibn 'Arabi, Islamic philosophy, and Islamic cosmology.

Salah prayer in Islam

Salah or Salaah, alternately spelled Salat, also known as Namaz, is one of the Five Pillars in the Islamic faith, and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. In this ritual, while facing towards the Qiblah in Mecca, one stands, bows, and prostrates oneself, and concludes sitting on the ground. During each posture, one recites or reads certain verses, phrases, and prayers.



The Quran discusses charity in many verses, some of which relate to zakat. The word zakat, with the meaning used in Islam now, is found, for example, in suras: 7:156, 19:31, 19:55, 21:73, 23:4, 27:3, 30:39, 31:4 and 41:7. [26] [27] Zakat is found in the early Medinan suras and described as obligatory for Muslims. [25] It is given for the sake of salvation. Muslims believe those who give zakat can expect reward from God in the afterlife, while neglecting to give zakat can result in damnation. Zakat is considered part of the covenant between God and a Muslim. [25]

Verse 2.177 (Picktall translation) sums up the Quranic view of charity and alms giving (Another name for Zakat is the "Poor Due"):

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and giveth his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God fearing. - 2:177

According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, verse 9.5 of the Quran [28] makes zakat one of three prerequisites for pagans to become Muslims: "but if they repent, establish prayers, and practice zakat they are your brethren in faith". [7]

The Quran also lists who should receive the benefits of zakat, discussed in more detail below. [29]


Each of the most trusted hadith collections in Islam have a book dedicated to zakat. Sahih Bukhari's Book 24, [30] Sahih Muslim's Book 5, [31] and Sunan Abu-Dawud's Book 9 [32] discuss various aspects of zakat, including who must pay, how much, when and what. The 2.5% rate is also mentioned in the hadiths. [33]

The hadiths admonish those who do not give the zakat. According to the hadith, refusal to pay or mockery of those who pay zakat is a sign of hypocrisy, and God will not accept the prayers of such people. [34] The sunna also describes God's punishment for those who refuse or fail to pay zakat. [35] On the day of Judgment, those who did not give the zakat will be held accountable and punished. [29]

The hadith contain advice on the state-authorized collection of the zakat. The collectors are required not to take more than what is due, and those who are paying the zakat are asked not to evade payment. The hadith also warn of punishment for those who take zakat when they are not eligible to receive it (see Distribution below). [29]


The amount of zakat to be paid by an individual depends on the amount of money and the type of assets the individual possesses. The Quran does not provide specific guidelines on which types of wealth are taxable under the zakat, nor does it specify percentages to be given. But the customary practice is that the amount of zakat paid on capital assets (e.g. money) is 2.5% (1/40). [36] Zakat is additionally payable on agricultural goods, precious metals, minerals, and livestock at a rate varying between 2.5% and 20% (1/5), depending on the type of goods. [37] [38]

Zakat is usually payable on assets continuously owned over one lunar year that are in excess of the nisab, a minimum monetary value. [39] However, Islamic scholars have disagreed on this issue. For example, Abu Hanifa did not regard the nisab limit to be a pre-requisite for zakat, in the case of land crops, fruits and minerals. [40] Other differences between Islamic scholars on zakat and nisab are acknowledged as follows by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, [15]

Unlike prayers, we observe that even the ratio, the exemption, the kinds of wealth that are zakatable are subject to differences among scholars. Such differences have serious implications for Muslims at large when it comes to their application of the Islamic obligation of zakat. For example, some scholars consider the wealth of children and insane individuals zakatable, others don't. Some scholars consider all agricultural products zakatable, others restrict zakat to specific kinds only. Some consider debts zakatable, others don't. Similar differences exist for business assets and women's jewelry. Some require certain minimum (nisab) for zakatability, some don't. etc. The same kind of differences also exist about the disbursement of zakat.
 – Shiekh Mahmud Shaltut [15]

Failure to pay

A slot for giving zakat at the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II in Fez, Morocco Slot at the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II 1.jpg
A slot for giving zakat at the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II in Fez, Morocco

The consequence of failure to pay zakat has been a subject of extensive legal debate in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, particularly when a Muslim is willing to pay zakat but refuses to pay it to a certain group or the state. [42] [43] According to classical jurists, if the collector is unjust in the collection of zakat but just in its distribution, the concealment of property from him is allowed. [42] If, on the other hand, the collector is just in the collection but unjust in the distribution, the concealment of property from him is an obligation (wajib). [42] Furthermore, if the zakat is concealed from a just collector because the property owner wanted to pay his zakat to the poor himself, they held that he should not be punished for it. [42] If collection of zakat by force was not possible, use of military force to extract it was seen as justified, as was done by Abu Bakr during the Ridda Wars, on the argument that refusing to submit to just orders is a form of treason. [42] However, Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi school, disapproved of fighting when the property owners undertake to distribute the zakat to the poor themselves. [42]

Some classical jurists held the view that any Muslim who consciously refuses to pay zakat is an apostate, since the failure to believe that it is a religious duty (fard) is a form of unbelief (kufr), and should be killed. [44] [45] [46] However, prevailing opinion among classical jurists prescribed sanctions such as fines, imprisonment or corporal punishment. [42] Some classical and contemporary scholars such as Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh and Yusuf al-Qaradawi have stated that the person who fails to pay Zakat should have the payment taken from them, along with half of his wealth. [47] [48] Additionally, those who failed to pay the zakat would face God's punishment in the afterlife on the day of Judgment. [29]

In modern states where zakat payment is compulsory, failure to pay is regulated by state law similarly to tax evasion.[ citation needed ]


Recipients waiting to receive zakat in India. Waiting For Zakat (2393257046).jpg
Recipients waiting to receive zakat in India.

According to the Quran's Surah Al-Tawba, there are eight categories of people (asnaf) who qualify to benefit from zakat funds. [49]

Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.

Qur'an, Sura 9 (Al-Tawba), ayat 60 [50]

Islamic scholars have traditionally interpreted this verse as identifying the following eight categories of Muslim causes to be the proper recipients of zakat: [51] [52]

  1. Those living without means of livelihood (Al-Fuqarā'), [51] the poor [52]
  2. Those who cannot meet their basic needs (Al-Masākīn), [51] the needy [52]
  3. To zakat collectors (Al-Āmilīyn 'Alihā) [51] [52]
  4. To persuade those sympathetic to or expected to convert to Islam (Al-Mu'allafatu Qulūbuhum), [51] recent converts to Islam, [49] [52] [53] and potential allies in the cause of Islam [52] [54]
  5. To free from slavery or servitude (Fir-Riqāb), [51] slaves of Muslims who have or intend to free from their master [ clarification needed ] by means of a kitabah contract [52] [54]
  6. Those who have incurred overwhelming debts while attempting to satisfy their basic needs (Al-Ghārimīn), [51] debtors who in pursuit of a worthy goal incurred a debt [52]
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of God ( Fī Sabīlillāh ), [51] or for Jihad in the way of Allah by means of pen, word, or sword, [55] or for Islamic warriors who fight against the unbelievers but are not salaried soldiers. [52] [54] [56] :h8.17
  8. Wayfarers, stranded travellers (Ibnu Al-Sabīl), [51] travellers who are traveling with a worthy goal but cannot reach their destination without financial assistance [52] [54]

Zakat should not be given to one's own parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouses or the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. [57]

Neither the Quran nor the Hadiths specify the relative division of zakat into the above eight categories. [58] According to the Reliance of the Traveller, the Shafi'i school requires zakat is to be distributed equally among the eight categories of recipients, while the Hanafi school permits zakat to be distributed to all the categories, some of them, or just one of them. [56] :h8.7 Classical schools of Islamic law, including Shafi'i, are unanimous that collectors of zakat are to be paid first, with the balance to be distributed equally amongst the remaining seven categories of recipients, even in cases where one group's need is more demanding. [59]

Muslim scholars disagree whether zakat recipients can include non-Muslims. Islamic scholarship, historically, has taught that only Muslims can be recipients of zakat. [60] In recent times, some state that zakat may be paid to non-Muslims after the needs of Muslims have been met, finding nothing in the Quran or sunna to indicate that zakat should be paid to Muslims only. [57]

Additionally, the zakat funds may be spent on the administration of a centralized zakat collection system. [36] Representatives of the Salafi movement include propagation of Islam and any struggle in righteous cause among permissible ways of spending, while others argue that zakat funds should be spent on social welfare and economic development projects, or science and technology education. [57] Some hold spending them for defense to be permissible if a Muslim country is under attack. [57] Also, it is forbidden to disburse zakat funds into investments instead of being given to one of the above eight categories of recipients.[ citation needed ]

Role in society

The zakat is considered by Muslims to be an act of piety through which one expresses concern for the well-being of fellow Muslims, [53] as well as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor. [61] Zakat promotes a more equitable redistribution of wealth and fosters a sense of solidarity amongst members of the Ummah . [62]

Historical practice

Zakat, an Islamic practice initiated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was first collected on the first day of Muharram. [63] It has played an important role throughout its history. [64] Schact suggests that the idea of zakat may have entered Islam from Judaism, with roots in the Hebrew and Aramaic word zakut. [25] [65] However, some Islamic scholars [65] disagree that the Qur'anic verses on zakat (or zakah) have roots in Judaism. [66]

The caliph Abu Bakr, believed by Sunni Muslims to be Muhammad's successor, was the first to institute a statutory zakat system. [67] Abu Bakr established the principle that the zakat must be paid to the legitimate representative of the Prophet's authority (i.e. himself). [64] Other Muslims disagreed and refused to pay zakat to Abu Bakr, leading to accusations of apostasy and, ultimately, the Ridda wars. [10] [64] [68]

The second and third caliphs, Umar bin Al-Khattab and Usman ibn Affan, continued Abu Bakr's codification of the zakat. [64] Uthman also modified the zakat collection protocol by decreeing that only "apparent" wealth was taxable, which had the effect of limiting zakat to mostly being paid on agricultural land and produce. [69] During the reign of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the issue of zakat was tied to legitimacy of his government. After Ali, his supporters refused to pay zakat to Muawiyah I, as they did not recognize his legitimacy. [64]

The practice of Islamic state-administered zakat was short-lived in Medina. During the reign of Umar bin Abdul Aziz (717–720 A.D.), it is reported that no one in Medina needed the zakat. After him, zakat came more to be considered as an individual responsibility. [64] This view changed over Islamic history. Sunni Muslims and rulers, for example, considered collection and disbursement of zakat as one of the functions of an Islamic state; this view has continued in modern Islamic countries. [70]

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and in various Islamic polities of the past was expected to be paid by all practising Muslims who have the financial means ( nisab ). [71] In addition to their zakat obligations, Muslims were encouraged to make voluntary contributions ( sadaqat ). [72] The zakat was not collected from non-Muslims, although they were required to pay the jizyah tax. [73] [74] Depending on the region, the dominant portion of zakat went typically to Amil (the zakat collectors) or Sabīlillāh (those fighting for religious cause, the caretaker of local mosque, or those working in the cause of God such as proselytizing non-Muslims to convert to Islam). [58] [75]

Contemporary practice

According to the researcher Russell Powell in 2010, zakat was mandatory by state law in Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen. There were government-run voluntary zakat contribution programs in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives and the United Arab Emirates. [76]

Zakat status in Muslim countries [76]

Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan No government system
Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria No government system
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan No government system
Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain Voluntary
Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh Voluntary
Flag of Burkina Faso.svg  Burkina Faso No government system
Flag of Chad.svg  Chad No government system
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt Voluntary
Flag of Guinea.svg  Guinea No government system
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia Voluntary
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran Voluntary
Flag of Iraq.svg  Iraq No government system
Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan Voluntary
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan No government system
Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait Voluntary
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon Voluntary
Flag of Libya.svg  Libya Mandatory
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia Mandatory
Flag of Maldives.svg  Maldives Voluntary
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali No government system
Flag of Mauritania.svg  Mauritania No government system
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco No government system
Flag of Niger.svg  Niger No government system
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria No government system
Flag of Oman.svg  Oman No government system
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan Mandatory
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar No government system
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia Mandatory
Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal No government system
Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone No government system
Flag of Somalia.svg  Somalia No government system
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan Mandatory
Flag of Syria.svg  Syria No government system
Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan No government system
Flag of The Gambia.svg  Gambia No government system
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia No government system
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey No government system
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan No government system
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates Voluntary
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan No government system
Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen Mandatory


Zakat donation box at Taipei Grand Mosque in Taipei, Taiwan. Zakat Donation Box in Taipei Mosque 20190519.jpg
Zakat donation box at Taipei Grand Mosque in Taipei, Taiwan.

Today, in most Muslim countries, zakat is at the discretion of Muslims over how and whether to pay, typically enforced by peer pressure, fear of God, and an individual's personal feelings. [16] Among the Sunni Muslims, The Zakat committees are established, linked to a religious cause or local mosque, which collect zakat. [77] Among the Shia Muslims, deputies on behalf of Imams collect the zakat. [78]

In six of the 47 Muslim-majority countries—Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen—zakat is obligatory and collected by the state. [16] [17] [79] [80] In Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Bangladesh, the zakat is regulated by the state, but contributions are voluntary. [81]

The states where zakat is compulsory differ in their definition of the base for zakat computation. [79] Zakat is generally levied on livestock (except in Pakistan) and agricultural produce, although the types of taxable livestock and produce differ from country to country. [79] Zakat is imposed on cash and precious metals in four countries with different methods of assessment. [79] Income is subject to zakat in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, while only Sudan imposes zakat on "wealth that yields income". [79] In Pakistan, property is exempt from the zakat calculation basis, and the compulsory zakat is primarily collected from the agriculture sector. [75]

Under compulsory systems of zakat tax collection, such as Malaysia and Pakistan, evasion is very common and the alms tax is regressive. [16] A considerable number of Muslims accept their duty to pay zakat, but deny that the state has a right to levy it, and they may pay zakat voluntarily while evading official collection. [79] In discretion-based systems of collection, studies suggest zakat is collected from and paid only by a fraction of Muslim population who can pay. [16]

In the United Kingdom, which has a Muslim minority, more than three out of ten Muslims gave to charity (Zakat being described as "the Muslim practice of charitable donations"), according to a 2013 poll of 4000 people. [82] According to the self-reported poll, British Muslims, on average, gave US$567 to charity in 2013, compared to $412 for Jews, $308 for Protestants, $272 for Catholics and $177 for atheists. [82]


The primary sources of sharia also do not specify to whom the zakat should be paid  to zakat collectors claiming to represent one class of zakat beneficiary (for example, poor), collectors who were representing religious bodies, or collectors representing the Islamic state. [58] [83] This has caused significant conflicts and allegations of zakat abuse within the Islamic community, both historically [58] and in modern times. [84]

Fi Sabillillah is the most prominent asnaf in Southeast Asian Muslim societies, where it broadly construed to include funding missionary work, Quranic schools and anything else that serves the Islamic community (ummah) in general. [85]

Role in society

In 2012, Islamic financial analysts estimated annual zakat spending exceeded US$200 billion per year, which they estimated at 15 times global humanitarian aid contributions. [86] [87] Islamic scholars and development workers state that much of this zakat practice is mismanaged, wasted or ineffective. [86] About a quarter of the Muslim world [88] continues to live on $1.25 a day or less, according to the 2012 report. [86]

A 1999 study of Sudan and Pakistan, where zakat is mandated by the state, estimated that zakat proceeds ranged between 0.3 and 0.5 percent of GDP, while a more recent report put zakat proceeds in Malaysia at 0.1% of GDP. [79] These numbers are far below what was expected when the governments of these countries tried to Islamize their economies, and the collected amount is too small to have a sizeable macroeconomic effect. [79]

In a 2014 study, [89] Nasim Shirazi states widespread poverty persists in Islamic world despite zakat collections every year. Over 70% of the Muslim population in most Muslim countries is impoverished and lives on less than US$2 per day. In over 10 Muslim-majority countries, over 50% of the population lived on less than $1.25 per day income, states Shiraz. [89] Zakat has so far failed to relieve large scale absolute poverty among Muslims in most Muslim countries. [89]

Zakat is required of Muslims only. For non-Muslims living in an Islamic state, sharia was historically seen as mandating jizya (poll tax). [90] Other forms of taxation on Muslims or non-Muslims, that have been used in Islamic history, include kharaj (land tax), [91] khums (tax on booty and loot seized from non-Muslims, sudden wealth), [92] ushur (tax at state border, sea port, and each city border on goods movement, customs), [93] kari (house tax) [94] and chari (sometimes called maara, pasture tax). [95] [96]

There are differences in the interpretation and scope of zakat and other related taxes in various sects of Islam. For example, khums is interpreted differently by Sunnis and Shi'ites, with Shia expected to pay one fifth of their excess income after expenses as khums, and Sunni don't. [97] At least a tenth part of zakat and khums every year, among Shi'ites, after its collection by Imam and his religious deputies under its doctrine of niyaba, goes as income for its hierarchical system of Shia clergy. [78] [98] Among Ismaili sub-sect of Shias, the mandatory taxes which includes zakat, is called dasond, and 20% of the collected amount is set aside as income for the Imams. [99] Some branches of Shia Islam treat the right to lead as Imam and right to receive 20% of collected zakat and other alms as a hereditary right of its clergy.

Sadaqah is another related term for charity, usually construed as a discretionary counterpart to zakat. [100]

Zakat al-Fitr

Zakat al-Fitr or Sadaqat al-Fitr [101] is another, smaller charitable obligation, mandatory for all Muslims — male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so — that is traditionally paid at the end of the fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. [102] [103] The collected amount is used to pay the zakat collectors and to the poor Muslims so that they may be provided with a means to celebrate 'Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking the fast) following Ramadan, along with the rest of the Muslims. [104]

Zakat al-Fitr is a fixed amount assessed per person, while Zakat al mal is based on personal income and property. [103] According to one source, the Hidaya Foundation, the suggested Zakat al Fitr donation is based on the price of 1 Saa (approx. 3 kg) of rice or wheat at local costs, (as of 2015, approximately $7.00 in the U.S.). [101]

See also

Charity practices in other religions:

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Hanafi one of the four Madhhabs in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam

The Hanafi school is one of the four religious Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence (fiqh). It is named after the scholar Abū Ḥanīfa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit, a tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani. The other major schools of Sharia in Sunni Islam are Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali.

Jizya or Jizyah is a per capita yearly taxation historically levied in the form of financial charge on permanent non-Muslim subjects (dhimmi) of a state governed by Islamic law in order to fund public expenditures of the state, in place of the Zakat and Khums that Muslims are obliged to pay. Muslim jurists required adult, free, sane males among the dhimma community to pay the jizya, while exempting women, children, elders, handicapped, the ill, the insane, monks, hermits, slaves, and musta'mins—non-Muslim foreigners who only temporarily reside in Muslim lands. Dhimmis who chose to join military service were also exempted from payment, as were those who could not afford to pay.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi Egyptian imam

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic theologian based in Doha, Qatar, and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. His influences include Hassan al Banna, Abul A'la Maududi and Naeem Siddiqui. He is best known for his programme الشريعة والحياة, al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh, broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 40-60 million worldwide. He is also known for IslamOnline, a website he helped to found in 1997 and for which he serves as chief religious scholar.

Islam and other religions

Over the centuries of Islamic history, Muslim rulers, Islamic scholars, and ordinary Muslims have held many different attitudes towards other religions. Attitudes have varied according to time, place and circumstance.

Takfir or takfeer is a controversial concept in Islamist discourse, denoting excommunication, as one Muslim declaring another Muslim as a non-believer (kafir). The act which precipitates takfir is termed mukaffir. Contemporary formulation and usage of the term have their roots in the 20th-century Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb's advocacy of takfirism against the state or society deemed jahiliyah. According to Qutb, violence is required to be sanctioned against corrupt state leaders, on the premise that quietism is not the Islamic prescription against those deemed apostates. This position is widely held and applied by jihadist organizations to varying degrees. At the same time, the concept is opposed by religious establishment as an ostensible reason for violence. They hold that excommunication against those who profess their Islamic faith is not sanctioned by Islam, or an ill-founded takfir accusation is a major forbidden act (haram).


In Islam, khums refers to the required religious obligation of any Muslims to pay one-fifth of their acquired wealth from certain sources toward specified causes. It is treated differently in Shia and Sunni Islam. This tax is paid to the imam, caliph or sultan, representing the state of Islam, for distribution between the orphans, the needy, and the [stranded] traveler.

Sadaqah voluntary charity in Islam

Sadaqah or Sadqah in the modern context has come to signify "voluntary charity". According to the Quran, the word means voluntary offering, whose amount is at the will of the "benefactor".

Islam is an Abrahamic religion founded in the Arabian peninsula, while Sikhism is a Dharmic religion founded in the Indian subcontinent. Islam means "submission". The word Sikh is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning 'disciple', or one who learns.

Qard al-Hasan

Qardh al-hasan is a form of interest-free loan that is extended by a lender to a borrower on the basis of benevolence (ihsan). Al-qardh, from a shari’a point of view, is a non commutative contract, as it involves a facility granted only for the sake of tabarru’ (donation). Therefore, al-qardh al-hasan is a gratuitous loan extended to people in need, for a specified period of time. At the end of that period, the face value of the loan is to be paid off. In other words, shari’a prohibits the stipulation of an excess for the lender, as it amounts to riba, whether the excess is expressed in terms of quality or quantity, or whether it is a tangible item or a benefit. However, it is permitted that the repayment of qardh is made with an excess, provided that such an excess is neither expressly stipulated nor implicitly pre-arranged in the contract of loan.

Zakat al-Fitr is a charity taken for the poor a few days before the end of fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Arabic word Fitr means the same as iftar, breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as Futoo which means breakfast. Zakat al Fitr is a smaller amount than Zakat al-Mal.

Zakat Councils are responsible for collecting and distributing the Islamic taxes known as Zakat and Ushr in Pakistan. The Councils are overseen by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In Pakistan, the system of compulsory collection and distribution of Zakat and Ushr began in 1980 with an ordinance decreed by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq calling for a 2.5% annual deduction from personal bank accounts on the first day of Ramadan, with the revenue to be used for poverty relief.

Zakāt is a form of alms-giving treated as a religious tax and/or religious obligation in Islam for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth, and one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Beneficiaries of zakat include zakat collectors, poor Muslims, new converts to Islam, Islamic clergy. Zakat is prescribed to cleanse the individual's wealth, heart, and baser characteristics in general, and to replace them with virtues.

Islamic socialism is a term coined by various Muslim leaders to describe a more spiritual form of socialism. Muslim socialists believe that the teachings of the Quran and Muhammad—especially the zakat—are compatible with principles of economic and social equality. They draw inspiration from the early Medinan welfare state established by Muhammad. Muslim socialists found their roots in anti-imperialism. Muslim socialist leaders believe in the derivation of legitimacy from the public.

Verse of Wilayah verse of the Quran

The Verse of Wilayah or Leadership is the 55th verse of the Al-Ma'ida Chapter in the Quran. Both Sunni and Shia scholars accept that the verse alludes to the giving of zakāṫ to the poor by Ali while he was in rukū‘ during Ṣalāṫ, but only the Shia see it as bestowing the succession of Muhammad upon him.

Ali in the Quran Shia interpretations of the Quran as referring to Ali

The majority of Islamic commentators do not believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib is explicitly mentioned in the Quran. However, many verses of the Quran have been interpreted, by both Shia and Sunni scholars, as referring to Ali.

Islamic teachings on humanity and human welfare have been codified in its central religious book known as the Quran, which the Muslims believe was revealed by God for the mankind. These teachings have often been exemplified by Islamic prophet Muhammad as displayed in his sayings and practices. To the Muslims, Islam is what the Quran has instructed to do and how Muhammad has put them into practice. Thus, the understanding of any Islamic topic generally rely on these two.



  1. 1 2 3 Benda-Beckmann, Franz von (2007). Social security between past and future: Ambonese networks of care and support. LIT Verlag, Münster. p. 167. ISBN   978-3-8258-0718-4. Zakat literally means 'that which purifies'. It is a form of sacrifice which purifies worldly goods from their worldly and sometimes impure means of acquisition, and which, according to God's wish, must be channeled towards the community.
  2. "Zakat Al-Maal (Tithing)". Life USA. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
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  5. Lessy, Z (2009). "Zakat (alms-giving) management in Indonesia: Whose job should it be?". La Riba Journal Ekonomi Islam. 3 (1). zakat is alms-giving and religiously obligatory tax.
  6. Hallaq, Wael (2013). The impossible state: Islam, politics, and modernity's moral predicament. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 123. ISBN   9780231162562.
  7. 1 2 Yusuf al-Qaradawi (1999), Monzer Kahf (transl.), Fiqh az-Zakat, Dar al Taqwa, London, Volume 1, ISBN   978-967-5062-766, p. XIX
  8. Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan Ṭūsī (2010), Concise Description of Islamic Law and Legal Opinions, ISBN   978-1904063292, pp. 131–135
  9. Hefner R.W. (2006). "Islamic economics and global capitalism". Society. 44 (1): 16–22. doi:10.1007/bf02690463. Zakat is a tax levied on income and wealth for the purpose of their purification.
  10. 1 2 Bonner, Michael (2003), Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts, State University of New York Press, ISBN   978-0791457382, p. 15: "In the old Arabic narratives about the early Muslim community and its conquests and quarrels, zakat and sadaqa loom large at several moments of crisis. These include the beginning of Muhammad's prophetic career in Mecca, when what appear to be the earliest pieces of scripture insist on almsgiving more than any other human activity. These moments of crisis also include the wars of the ridda or apostasy in C.E. 632–634, just after Muhammad's death. At that time most of the Arabs throughout the peninsula refused to continue paying zakat (now a kind of tax) to the central authority in Medina; Abu Bakr, upon assuming the leadership, swore he would force them all to pay this zakat, "even if they refuse me only a [camel's] hobble of it," and sent armies that subdued these rebels or "apostates" in large-scale battles that were soon followed by the great Islamic conquests beyond the Arabian peninsula itself."
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  13. Medani Ahmed and Sebastian Gianci, Zakat, Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, p. 479, quote: "As one of the Islam's five pillars, zakat becomes an obligation due when, over a lunar year, one controls a combination of income and wealth equal to or above Nisaab."
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  27. The English translation of these verses can be read here "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), University of Southern California
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