What Is Zakat In Islam? – Best Way To Pay Zakat in 2024

Zakat in Islam

Overall, Zakat in Islam plays a vital role. It is a means of fulfilling a religious obligation, promoting social justice, helping those in need, and contributing to the greater good of society.

It is always best to consult with an eligible religious authority or expert in Zakat distribution to ensure accuracy and compliance with Islamic teachings.

What Is Zakat?

Zakat is a mandatory act of charity in Islam. It is the 3rd of the five pillars of Islam and requires Muslims to donate part of their wealth to those in need. What Zakat in Islam represents is not just a means of giving to those in need; it is also a means of purifying one’s wealth and seeking Allah’s blessings.

What Does Zakat Mean In Islam?

The word “zakat” comes from the Arabic word meaning “purification” or “growth.” It is a crucial component of Islamic charity and serves to help those in need while providing spiritual benefits for the giver.

In Islam, Zakat is considered an essential act of worship and serves as a way to show gratitude towards Allah for His blessings. The amount of Zakat that a Muslim must pay depends on the value of their assets and income, besides other factors such as family size and debts.

Who Is Eligible For Zakat?

Zakat is given to those who are in need and meet fixed eligibility criteria. In Islamic doctrine, 

Zakat is given to those who are in need and meet fixed eligibility criteria. In Islamic doctrine, eight specific groups of people are eligible to receive Zakat:

1. The poor (Al-Fuqara)

Al-Fuqara are the persons who have no resources or insufficient income to meet their primary needs.

2. The needy (Al-Masakeen)

Al-Masakeen are the ones who have some wealth but not enough to meet their primary needs.

3. Zakat collectors (Al-Amileen)

Those are the persons who collect and distribute Zakat on behalf of those in need.

4. New Muslims or those whose hearts are to be conciliated (Al-Mu’allafatu Qulubuhum)

That includes those who have recently entered Islam or who may be near to entering, as this can help strengthen their faith.

5. Slaves or captives (Fi Sabilillah)

Those who are held against their will, such as prisoners of war, may require funds for their release.

6. Debtors (Al-Gharimin)

Debtors, or Al-Gharimin in Arabic, refer to individuals who owe money to others as a result of borrowing funds or purchasing goods and services on credit and cannot repay it on their own.

7. Travelers (Ibnus-Sabeel)

“Travelers” or “Ibn As-Sabeel” are people who are stranded. These individuals travel and do not possess enough resources (money, food, shelter) to complete their journey or return home.

8. Those committed in the cause of Allah (Fisabilillah)

Those who work for the betterment of society, such as scholars, students, and activists, may need financial aid to continue their work.

How To Pay Zakat?

Zakat can be paid in various ways, depending on personal preference and convenience. Here are some methods of paying Zakat:

1. Directly to the needy

You can find individuals or organizations who meet the eligibility criteria for Zakat and pay your Zakat directly to them.

Instead of donating money, you can donate items or goods, such as food, clothing, or household items.

2. Through a Zakat committee

Many mosques or Islamic centers have Zakat committees that collect and distribute Zakat to those in need. You can donate your Zakat to such committees as well.

3. Online donation platforms

Many online platforms allow you to donate your Zakat easily and securely. You can search for reputable platforms that work with verified charities and organizations.

4. Automatic deductions

Some banks and financial institutions offer automatic Zakat deduction services, where a percentage of your wealth is automatically donated yearly.

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What Is Zakat Al fitr?

Zakat al-Fitr is a characteristic form of Zakat. It is paid at Ramadan end, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is compulsory for every Muslim who possesses food to exceed his and his family’s needs. 

Zakat al-Fitr’s primary purpose is to contribute alms toward those in need, helping them celebrate Eid al-Fitr by providing them with essentials such as food, clothing, or money before Salah of Eid al-Fitr.

It is meant to purify the person offering it from any shortcomings or mistakes made during Ramadan. Besides, it helps to ensure that all Muslims enjoy the Eid.

The amount of Zakat al-Fitr is equivalent to the cost of one meal for each household member, including dependents like children, elderly parents or grandparents, and servants. The exact amount is determined based on the cost of staple foods in the local area, and one can give it in the form of food or money.

It is recommended to pay Zakat al-Fitr before Eid Salah so that those in need have enough time to prepare for that festive occasion. It’s important to note that Zakat al-Fitr is separate from the annual Zakat, and all eligible Muslims must pay it regardless of their annual Zakat.

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