After benefits of laylatul qadr Islam and the benefits of ayatul kursi in Islam, let’s talk about zakat! Zakat (that which purifies) is a form of help giving in Islam which is viewed as a religious obligation or tax. In fact, it is also part of the Five Pillars of Islam.
As such, zakat is seen as a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the criteria of wealth. Majority of all zakat is composed of 2.5% of a Muslim’s total savings, and majority of zakat recipients are the needy, poor, or anyone in suffering. Meanwhile today, most zakat collectors differ by institutions; some are collected by the state, particularly in Muslim countries while others are collected by social organizations. These are also the benefits of zakat in Islam.
Types of Zakat
Zakat is categorized into various forms, and here they are;
- Zakat Fitrah – Zakat that must be paid by Muslims during the month of Ramadan before Eid al Fitr arrives. The amount to be paid during Zakat Fitrah is equal to the price of 2.5 litres of rice.
- Zakat Mal – Zakat Mal or “investment zakat” is meant to purify or “ritual cleanse” all material wealth possessed by Muslims. Meanwhile, the rate of Zakat Mal is equals to 2.5% of all materials possessed. Zakat Mal is also broken down into these subcategories.
- Income Zakat – Zakat that must be paid upon receiving income. The value to be paid is also equals to 2.5% of the income received.
- Gold or Silver Zakat – A subcategory of Zakat Mal that should be done when possessing 85 grams of gold or 595 carats of silver.
- Trade Zakat – Trade Zakat is payable with either material or financial items. The calculation of Trade Zakat also involves the amount of money invested, liable credits, profits and losses.
- Agricultural Zakat – Agricultural Zakat requires the total amount of 500-600 kg of cultivated food items in order to qualify.
- Investment Zakat – It is part of the savings in the bank account that is paid at a rate of 2.5% of the latest account balance.
- Gift Zakat – When a person gives a gift to someone else, it is also considered as a Zakat. The rates are 20% of the value of the gift for surprised gifts and 10% of the value of the gift for planned gifts.
Eligibility of Zakat
Muslim scholars have identified the following groups as eligible for being the recipient of zakat;
- People in poverty
- People who barely meet basic needs; the needy
- Zakat collectors
- Newly converts, people who are sympathetic or allied to Islam
- People with overwhelming debts
- People who fight or struggle for the cause of Islam; jihad
- Travellers and nomads
What are the Benefits of Zakat?
- Zakat Purifies our Material Wealth
After health benefits of hard working, one of the main benefits of zakat in Islam is purifying the material wealth of Muslims from all kinds of negativity an, especially when fasting. In addition, zakat also improved the deeds of fasting Muslims into perfection.
- Zakat Helps the Poor
It is no doubt that being a charity, zakat is also done to help the poor. By donating to the poor and the needy, we automatically open their doors so that they could experience life like the ones belonging to the upper classes.
- Zakat Allows Longevity
Zakat Fitrah is also part of self-charity, in which conducting it will secure longevity of age and joy from Allah.
- Zakat Leads to a Good Human Nature
Zakat is a symbol of our faith to Allah, being grateful for whatever He has given, and also a pathway for a positive human nature by making us more contributive and the health benefits of optimism towards others.
- Zakat Gives Inner Peace
Psychologically, after doing zakat Muslims tend to feel better as a result of self-fulfillment after helping others, because helping others is the best any human out there can give.
- Zakat Gradually Removes Negative Behaviour
Right after Zakat Fitrah is paid, the donations will transfer to the people in need. This allows us to immediately remove the sense of jealousy, ungratefulness or the likes in between ourselves and others who are more fortunate.
- Zakat as a Common Charity Pillar
Being a centralized charity platform, zakat allows anyone in the society, be it young or old, rich or poor to take part in whatever they can do best for the society.
- Zakat as a Form of Social Security
In addition to zakat as a common charity pillar, zakat in Islam is also a concrete proof of social security. Through zakat, the life and welfare of the poor and needy will be taken good care of.
- Zakat Provides Gratefulness
Zakat requires us to leave a small part of our wealth to its designated recipients, and upon paying zakat Muslims will be grateful that Allah still provides them a good life and there are unfortunate others out there who cannot enjoy the health benefits of sleeping easily.
- Zakat Trains Our Discipline
Zakat also trains our discipline, which can be seen through Zakat Fitrah. Zakat Fitrah should be paid no further beyond Eid al Fitr prayers. Besides, Zakat Fitrah is compulsory which also reminds us to not forget and be on time for our everyday responsibilities.
- Zakat Develops Our Helping Hand Skills
Zakat develops our helping hand skills as simple as by giving a part of our wealth to the unfortunate ones. Without realizing, zakat is also a method of helping hand to the ones who need and deserve it.
- Zakat Strengthens the Imaan
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. As soon as it is done, then he or she has fulfilled his or her religious obligations.
- Zakat as a Symbol of Islamic Solidarity and Unity
In this aspect, the wealthy ones help the poor. Zakat Fitrah establishes the bridge in between the two social classes so that their needs could be mutually fulfilled plus the gap in between the two are not wide.
- Zakat Prevents Misery
Zakat prevents misery, seen from a Hadist Rasullullah Shallallahu’allaihi wa Salaam which says “no such groups deny to release zakat from their wealth, in exchange they will be protected from rainfall. If not for their livestock, then there will be no rainfall.”
- Zakat Opens the Pathway to Heaven
Prophet Muhammad guarantees that he who feeds others; one way is through zakat; will have the gates of heaven opened for them.