Are you paying ZAKAT correctly?
Definition: The term Zakat is derived from the Arabic root meaning, “to increase and to purify.”
3rd Pillar: Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. Allah (s.w.t.) commanded it along with Salat in 82 Ayaat in the Quran. The Prophet (s) commanded it in many of his Hadiths, and the consensus of the scholars of Islam of all times emphasized its obligatory nature.
Calculating Zakat correctly and paying correctly and on time is way to fulfill this obligation, and earn Allah’s great rewards. Many common mistakes can be avoided if we follow the following easy rules:
- Zakat is to be paid annually every lunar year, preferably in Ramadan.
- Zakat is a fixed percentage (2.5% for cash, gold, and business net worth), (5% for farm products watered artificially), (10% for farm products watered by rain), and (20% for minerals and earth treasures.)
- Zakat must be paid to the Zakat agency in the locality where you live and work.
- The Zakat cannot be transferred to another location outside the city where someone lives.
- Zakat must be spent locally to the 8 categories as specified in the Quran (9:60)
Some people may consider the donations and taxes they pay during the year as part of or substitute for paying zakat. The lack of awareness about the rules governing this obligation, may cause us to fall short of fulfilling its intended purpose. Therefore, the following is not considered payment of zakat, and will require paying again to be considered zakat:
- Paying donations during the year to the Masjid or other charitable causes.
- Paying taxes to the government.
- Sending money to parents and relatives in other cities or overseas.
- Sending money to relief organizations.
Allah (s.w.t.) says in Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 177:
“ It is not righteousness to face East or West, but righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, the angels, the Book and the Prophets, and to give money for His love to your relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, the beggars and to ransom a slave. To establish Salah and pay Zakat, and those who fulfill their promises, and endure with fortitude, hardship and peril, those are true in their faith, and those are the pious.”
Scholars explain that in the above Ayah, Allah (s.w.t.) made a clear distinction between general sadaqa which is given to one’s relatives, orphans, etc., and the obligation of paying the zakat along with establishing the Salat. Scholars further explain that zakat is the portion of our wealth that belongs to the poor and the needy of our community. We have no right to dispose of it, as we like, rather we must pay it to the Zakat collectors for distribution to its rightful recipients. The evidence is in the following Ayah. Allah (s.w.t.) says while describing the believers in Surah Az~Zariat (51), Ayah 19: “And in their wealth there is a legal claim for the needy who asked and the deprived.” Therefore, it is not justifiable to send our zakat outside when there are families in need and deprived right here in our community.
Who Collects and distributes Zakat?
On page 76 of his famous book, FIQH us~SUNNAH, volume III, As~Sayyid Sabiq reports that: “The Messenger of Allah used to send his authorized agents to collect zakat. He would then distribute it among the deserving people. Abu Bakr and Umar did the same.” Some people may argue that the leaders today are not as good as Abu Bakr and Umar, and question whether zakat should be collected by them. The Prophet (s) answered this question in the Hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim. Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet (s) said: “After me, there will be selfishness and you will deny obligations.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you command us to do?” He answered: “Pay the due which is upon you and ask Allah what is right for you.”
Transfer of Zakat:
The jurists stressed that zakat should be paid in the city where one lives and works. Only in extreme condition can the leaders transfer the zakat to another city after making sure there is surplus over the local need. Based on the following Hadith:
‘Amr ibn Shu’aib reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, appointed Mu’az ibn Jabal to a position in Yemen where he remained until after the death of the Prophet(s). Mu’az came back during the time of ‘Umar who reappointed him back to Yemen. Mu’az sent to ‘Umar one-third of the zakat collected in Yemen. ‘Umar turned it back and said: “I did not appoint you to go there as a tax collector or jizyah collector. I appointed you to collect zakat from the rich and then pay it to the poor.” Mu’az replied: “I would not have sent you anything if I had found someone deserving over here.”
Here are the positions of the four Mazahib.
- The Shaf’i mazhab holds that transferring Zakat is not allowed (Not Ja’eiz).
- Imam Malik holds that transferring of Zakat is not allowed (Not Ja’eiz).
- The Hanbali mazhab holds transferring of Zakat as not allowed (Not Ja’eiz).
- The Hanafi mazhab holds that transferring Zakat is disliked (Makruh).
- Zakat is an obligation like Salah that must be fulfilled by every Muslim who has Nisab of zakat.
- For Zakat to be accepted, the Muslim should make the intention (Neyyah),
- Calculate what is due properly each year,
- Must pay it to the local Muslim leadership to distribute it properly.
- The ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA is responsible for collecting and distributing Zakat in the Central Florida area to the categories of people that are specified in Surah at~Tawbah, Ayah 60.
May Allah (s.w.t.) accept your Zakat.t