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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Zakât (or Zakaat or Zakah) (English:tax, alms, tithe) (Arabic: زكاة, Old (Qur'an) Arabic: زكوة) is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam in Sunni Islam and one of the Branches of Religion in Shi'a Islam. Its literal meaning is 'to grow (in goodness)' or 'increase', 'purifying', or 'making pure'. It is prescribed in the Qur'an:

"And what you give in usury, so that it may increase through (other) people's wealth it does not increase with Allah, but what you give in Zakaat, seeking Allah's Pleasure, then it is those who shall gain reward manifold..." (30:39)

A Muslim may also donate an additional amount as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), in order to achieve additional divine reward.

There are two main types of zakât:

  • zakât on self (zakât fitr or fitrah);
  • zakât on wealth (zakât mal),

Zakât on self is a per head payment equivalent to about US $8.50 per head (originally in terms of wheat or dates or rice, of about 2.25 kilograms) paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents to the zakât collector (amil).

Zakât on wealth comprises all the other types of zakât, such as on business, on savings, on income, on crops, on livestock, on gold, on minerals, on hidden treasures unearthed, etc.

The payment of zakât is obligatory on all Muslims. In current usage it is interpreted as a 2.5% levy on most valuables and savings held for a full year if their total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab (the value of 3 ounces of gold). At present, nisab is roughly US $1,300 or an equivalent amount of any other currency.

Zakât is distributed among 8 asnaf (categories) of people:

  • Fakir - One who has neither material possessions nor means of livelihood.
  • Miskin - One with insufficient means of livelihood to meet basic needs.
  • Amil - One who is appointed to collect zakât.
  • Muallaf - One who converts to Islam.
  • Riqab - One who wants to free himself from bondage or the shackles of slavery.
  • Gharmin - One who is in debt (money borrowed to meet basic, halal expenditure).
  • Fisabillillah - One who fights for the cause of Allah.
  • Ibnus Sabil - One who is stranded in journey.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Zakat" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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