Zakat is important pillar of Islam. The translation of Arabic word Zakat is ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. We purify our possessions by paying Zakat and we are blessed with growth due to Zakat.
Zakat is calculated amount of money which a muslim is required to pay to certain deserving group of people.
The group of people who are eligible for receiving Zakat are mentioned in surah at-Taubah (9) verse 60: ” The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” (The Holy Qur’an 9:60).
Allah says in Surah at-Taubah verses 34-35: “34:O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. announce unto them a most grievous penalty- 35:On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!” (The Holy Qur’an 9:34-35).
The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in one of the hadith said: “Any owner of gold and silver who does not deliver from them their right, on the Day of Quiyamah (Day of Judgment), (the gold and silver) will be shaped as foils of fire. Then it will be heated in the fire of Hell; (and) then with it he will be ironed on his side, his forehead, and his back” (narrated by Muslim).
A muslim is required to pay Zakat when he/she has money is equal or greater than nisab. The nisab or minimum amount of money is equivalent to price of 85 grams of pure gold.
Zakat is due after the passage of one Lunar year (approx. 355 days) of having the possession of money by the owner. Zakat is 2.5% or 1/40 of the money in possession of the owner. The owner should deduct the loans he or she has borrowed from others. Then check of the remainder is equal or greater than the nisab, if so then he or she should pay Zakat on it.
Every muslim should calculate and pay Zakat if it is due upon him or her.