Zakat is a means of purifying oneself and one’s money by taking a small portion of their savings and giving it away to those in real need.
In addition to individual benefits, zakat has numerous social benefits as well. Let us explore some of them below.
“O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that. Which we have brought out for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective from that place, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. Then know that Allah is Ever-Rich [free of need], Worthy of all praise.” Al-Baqarah 2:267
Zakat is a form of worship that every Muslim should be given once a year. One time in the life of a Muslim, if they have enough money to give zakat, then it is required. Zakat al-Fitr is a smaller amount of the regular yearly zakat and only has to be given one time throughout Ramadan. Which precedes Eid ul-Fitr; other than this, there are no exceptions all Muslims should pay the regular yearly zakat.
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The word “zakat” means both “purity” and “growth”. It purifies your wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need, and it grows your true wealth by helping others while gaining rewards from Allah (SWT). Zakat is a way to help the poor and needy, but giving zakat is not just about giving money. We all have other possessions that we can provide during Ramadan [and throughout the year] in addition [or in place of] giving cash.
Zakat is also one of the five pillars of Islam because it shows your thankfulness to Allah (SWT). It helps you remember what he has given you and reminds you to put into action that which He told us in His Holy Book. The Qur’an: “Those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury will have their reward with their Lord. There will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” Al-Baqarah 2:262
As zakat must be given to the poor and needy each month. You must spend your time finding out who needs your help. Several organizations throughout the Ummah collect money for those in need of providing food or shelter specifically for refugees or orphans. Each mosque has an official around if you have any questions about giving zakat; typically, he is referred to as “the person in charge” (PIC).
Here are some ways you can provide zakat al Fitr:
Food: here is a list of different items needed during Ramadan
Clothing: many people do not have proper clothing, and it is tough to expect them to fast in the summer months while wearing thin cotton or linen clothes
Zakat al-Fitr: this is a one-time payment during Ramadan.
Fake money: You can use fake money to give zakat at least three ways.
Gifts for children: many families are celebrating Eid with their children but may not be
able to afford new toys, which is why this list was included
Time, energy, cooking, cleaning, etc.: there are always people that need help, don’t forget about your sisters in Islam! Many of these items they would thank you for more if you would also give Dua (prayers) for them at the same time.
Zakat in General
If you are paying your yearly zakat during Ramadan, it must be paid before Eid ul-Fitr starts. If you do not pay your zakat before Eid arrives, you must pay it afterwards. This is because Allah has singled out this month to receive our undivided attention and worship. Which means that if we miss even one night of prayer in Ramadan, there will be negative consequences in the future.Wiliams Loans Over 70s
Zakat is due immediately when specific criteria are met: when someone becomes Muslim, gets married or divorced (for women only). When one has a baby, for an increase of wealth above a specific limit, etc.
If a person meets these criteria and delays giving zakat. They will still have to pay it, but there is a penalty for not paying.
If zakat has already been paid before Ramadan begins, it can be counted as credit towards the following year’s zakat.