Zakat is an obligatory form of tax in Islamic law, but people ask about it. Why is zakat important? As zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a form of tax that applies to every wealthy Muslim. It is the most important pillar of Islam after the prayers. It was obligatory in earlier times on the Shariat of different Prophets.
So, when zakat is called obligatory for Muslims, it was not a new concept for them. The importance of zakat is seen through the Holy Qur’an as the order for zakat is called many times in the mighty Qur’an.
The literary meaning of zakat is to be pure or grow something. But the term meaning in Islam is to donate some percentage from your wealth that belongs to you for at least one year. The course of zakat is obligatory on every income, whether it is business, production, or other sources of income. It is also applicable to animals and production from agricultural land. In short, no one is exempted from this.
What is zakat and its Nisab?
Zakat is an obligatory form of Islamic tax imposed on every wealthy person after a period of one year. If you have a property or money on any form of wealth and you retain it for at least one year, then zakat is Farz on it. The course of Nisab of zakat is defined in Islamic law. The zakat Nisab on wealth is 2.5% of the profitable wealth to those in need. The Nisab of zakat is following:
1. In the case of gold, 87.48g or 7.5 tolas
2. In the case of silver, 612.35g or 52.5 tolas
3. Different in the case of other animals
It is the most reliable tool to run the cycle of money and maintain a sensible financial balance in society. Money cannot be stopped on the one hand, and poverty of the community started declining.
The recipients of zakat according to Qur’an:
Zakat can be paid to deserving people of society. Islamic law defines the deserving people for zakat under the light of the Holy Qur’an. The mighty Qur’an tells why is zakat important? According to the Holy Quran, the eligible people who can receive the zakat are eight kinds. In the surah Tauba verse number 60
اِنَّمَا الصَّدَقٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَالۡمَسٰكِيۡنِ وَالۡعٰمِلِيۡنَ عَلَيۡهَا وَالۡمُؤَلَّـفَةِ قُلُوۡبُهُمۡ وَفِى الرِّقَابِ وَالۡغٰرِمِيۡنَ وَفِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ وَابۡنِ السَّبِيۡلِؕ فَرِيۡضَةً مِّنَ اللّٰهِؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَلِيۡمٌ حَكِيۡمٌ
The Sadaqāt (prescribed alms) are only to be given to the poor, the needy, to those employed to collect them, to those whose hearts are to be won, in the cause of the enslaved people and those encumbered with debt, in the way of Allah and to a wayfarer. This is an obligation prescribed by Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.
Hence the Qur’anic verse describes the eight kinds of people who deserve the zakat. The people are following:
1. The poor means a low-income person
2. The needy person
3. People who work as a zakat administrator
4. Those whose hearts are to be reconciled or newly converted Muslims from other religions.
5. To free the enslaved people and bondage people
6. To get rid of debt
7. In the cause of God
8. For the travelers
These are the recipients of zakat according to the Holy Qur’an. This verse explains the answer to this question why is zakat important? It regulates the whole circle of money in society.
Why is zakat important for society?
why is zakat important? the answer is simple. Zakat is necessary because it benefits the individual and the whole society. It is a cycle of money that regulates the wealth in the community, and money does not hold in one hand.
It is an incredible system of regulating the money which can lift poverty from society. It brings many positive changes in society, helps build individual characters, and brings a lot of good impacts on society. Some of the individual and collective impacts are following:
Generosity: Zakat brings generosity to the individual and polished one’s personality.
Sincerity of Faith: Giving zakat is the sincerity of Faith in Islam and its lessons.
Obedience of Allah: Paying zakat means that you embrace the lessons of Islamic law, and you are obedient to Allah.
Self-purification: Zakat is the purification of wealth and the cleanliness of your personality.
A sense of humbleness in personality: It brought a sense of humbleness and eradicated proudness from an individual.
Socio-economic balance: Zakat is a form of tax that brought economic balance in the society.
Social security: Zakat functions as social security for all. People have to pay the money for what they have.
Social harmony: As in the Islamic economic system, wealth is not bound on the one hand, so zakat brings social harmony in the society.
Circulation of money: Zakat keeps wealth in circulation and benefits the whole society.
Peace and prosperity in society: Zakat brings peace and prosperity by bringing financial balance among various classes of society.
Brotherhood in society: Zakat brings the people closer to each other and ensures brotherhood in the sense of true word and spirit.
These impacts show why zakat is important in society and for the individual. So, zakat should be played to the close people first and then look for others.
Misconceptions about zakat:
Although there is a clear concept of zakat in Islam, and all the rules and courses of it have been defined yet, there are some misconceptions about it. Some of these misconceptions are following:
1.Does Zakat purify haram?
No zakat does not purify haram because something which is haram is absolutely invalid in Islamic law.
2. Should zakat be paid during Ramadan?
Zakat is an annual wealth tax and is paid after one year. Ramadan is not necessary for paying the zakat.
3. Is zakat payable on gold only?
Zakat is paid on wealth, and it means every type of wealth, not necessarily gold.
These misconceptions should be addressed, and always remember that zakat is due to a Muslim’s total wealth, not the excess wealth.
Is zakat a tax?
According to some Islamic scholars, zakat is not a tax we pay in our daily routine. Zakat is a pillar of Islam like Prayer. Tax is a levy imposed on every individual despite their economic situation, while zakat applies only to wealthy Muslims. The primary difference between tax and zakat is that tax is beneficial for the taxpayer because he can get incentives from it. Still, zakat is purely for the welfare of others, especially for the needy.
And one more important thing is that tax is imposed by the government and collected by force or other ways while on the other hand zakat is part of the Faith and essential pillar of Islam, and everyone paid it for the sake of Allah. The difference between tax and zakat is:
1. Zakat is worship while tax is not.
2. Zakat is a pillar of Islam, while tax is not.
3. The government imposes tax while zakat is set by Allah.
4. The tax applies to everyone, while zakat is only charged to the wealthy.
Who is exempt from paying zakat
In general, four categories of people do not pay the Zakat and they include:
1. The poor;
2. Those who collect the zakat-alms;
3. A slave whose master has agreed to pay his or her Zakat for them;
4. A person in debt (for example, if one’s debt is more than their total possessions).
Benefits of giving zakat:
The power of zakat cannot be underestimated because it has already proved its benefits in society and individually. to answer the question why is zakat important? we now talk about its benefits. Zakat is an institution intended to transform society financially and morally. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam, and giving zakat brings financial balance to society. Following are the benefits of giving zakat:
Purification of wealth:
It is clear from the meanings of zakat that it is a purification. So zakat purifies your wealth as well as your soul.
The removal of sins:
Giving zakat wipes away sins and purify your character.
Closeness to Allah:
Zakat is a spiritual and physical act that Allah (SWT)loves, bringing you closer to Allah.
A sense of unity:
Unity is essential For a prosperous society, and it brings peace. Unity is strength, and according to the Qur’an, brothers in faith and zakat is the best way to demonstrate this brotherhood.
Zakat is a mandatory practice in Islam, and its purpose is to help society. It gives you a chance to share the endless boons of Allah and give the poor ones a better life. That’s why it is ensured that zakat should be paid to the neediest one. All this information about zakat tells us the importance of zakat. It is the best way to eradicate selfishness from individuals and society. Giving your zakat is one of the most extraordinary acts you can ever do, and it will provide you with a reward in this world as well as on the day of decision. So, encourage the institute of zakat to give our next generation a balanced society.