What is Zakat al-Mal?
Offering Zakat al-Mal or Zakat or Zakah is a religious obligation for Muslims, and is the third of the five pillars of Islam right after prayer. In Arabic, Zakat means purification, growth and blessing. Paying Zakat is meant to remind Muslims to be appreciative of the blessings that Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) has bestowed upon them, and to help empower those who have less.
Who is Eligible for Zakat?
According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be beneficiaries of Zakat:
- Al-Fuqarā’ (The Poor)
- Al-Masākīn (The Needy)
- Al-Āmilīyn ‘Alihā (The Zakat Collectors)
- Al-Mu’allafatu Qulūbuhum (Those whose hearts are inclined to Islam)
- Fir-Riqāb (Manumission)
- Al-Ghārimīn (in-debt)
- Fī Sabīlillāh (In the cause of Allah (swt))
- Ibnu Al-Sabīl (Wayfarers)
Most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive Zakat. Given that, it is acceptable to give your entire Zakat allotment to individuals who are in those groups.
At MACCLM, we focus on categories 1 (The Poor) and 2 (The Needy), and sometimes on category 4 (Those whose hearts are inclined to Islam). We use Zakat money on Category 8 to buy a masjid only upon explicit request by the donor. It is advised that you consult with your local Imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries.
Zakat on Gold
Zakat is payable at 2.5% of the wealth one possesses above the Nisab, which is equal to 3
ounces of gold. Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth one must have before they are liable
to pay Zakat.
*As of April 1, 2023, Nisab is estimated to be $5,529.
If your Zakat-Eligible Total is less than $5,529, you are not required to pay Zakat.
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.