“And be steadfast in prayer and give zakat, and whatever good you send ahead for your souls before you, you will find it with G-d, for G-d sees well all that you do.” —The Holy Qur’an, 2:110
WHAT IS ZAKAT?
Zakat or Charity tax can be defined as the portion of persons wealth which is designated for the poor. The word Zakat is derived from the Arabic verbal root meaning “to increase”, “to purify”, and “to bless”. Poverty is a social sin and Zakat is a means to elevate the human conscious to inspire the common Servant of G-d (Muslim) to help those who are less fortunate. All Servants of G-d (Muslims) pay the Charity tax on their wealth (zakat al-mal) & a charity tax our two divinely ordained celebrations (Eid) as it is a Pillar in Serene Compliance to the Will of G-d (Al-Islam). The charity celebration tax (Zakat ul-fitr) purpose is to help the poor and the needy to rejoice in the Servants of G-d Celebrations (Eid).
The spirit in which a Servant of G-d (Muslim) gives can be understood in the following verse of the Quran.
For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to G-d a handsome loan, it will be increased abundantly, and they will have a noble reward.
The Qur’an 57:18.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR ZAKAT?
Masjid Freehaven collects and distributes zakat to those who are most in need, in accordance with Islamic guidelines. Giving your zakat through means you can help provide food and clothing for the homeless, battered women, and so much more.
According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be beneficiaries of zakat:
- The poor
- The needy
- The collectors of zakat (Masjid Freehaven)
- Those who hearts are to be won over
- A mediator or someone who pays from personal monies to fix or mediate problems among the people
- In the cause of G-d (Highly Glorified is he)
Masjid Freehaven resident Imam Yusef Ismail and most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive zakat. Given that, it is acceptable for Masjid Freehaven to give your entire zakat portion to individuals who are in those groups, however, Masjid Freehaven focus is to assist the American Public and local communities poor and needy women, children and children.
Masjid Freehaven ultimately determines what persons will receive the zakat funds.
ZAKAT ON WEALTH
Zakat is payable at 2.5% of the wealth one possesses above the Nisab (the minimum amount that a Servant of G-d (Muslim) must have before being obliged to zakat). Nisab, which is equal to 3 ounces of gold, is the minimum amount of wealth one must have before they are liable to pay zakat. *As of March 9, 2017, nisab is estimated to be $3,604.17. Zakat is liable on gold, silver, cash, savings, investments, rent income, business merchandise and profits, shares, securities and bonds. Zakat is not paid on wealth used for debt repayment of living expenses such as clothing, food, housing, transportation, education, etc.