Did we know that we are not the ultimate owner of what all savings we make during our lifetime?
Did we know that we are just custodians of the wealth that we earn, and the poor people, struggling family members, and all destitute people around us have a claim of at least 2.5 percent of it?
Islam says that one ought to give out what the poor deserves, and purify our wealth every year in the form of ‘Zakat’ which is the right of the poor, a religious obligation or tax, and is next after five times prayer, according to Quranic ranking, in importance.
“As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, giving a fixed percentage as Zakat is a religious duty of all Muslims who meet necessary criteria of wealth and is a compulsory charitable contribution”, says Shaikh Mutavalli Mohammed Ahmed al Saeed, an Islamic scholar.
Zakat is calculated on the value of all of one’s possessions and is 2.5 percent (or 1/40) of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab. However, Islamic scholars differ on how much nisab is and other aspects of Zakat.
Those who are eligible to receive Zakat should be poor and/or needy. Islam defines a poor person as someone whose property, in excess of his basic requirements, does not reach the nisab threshold. However, Islamic idea says that the recipient must not belong to the giver’s immediate family or spouse, or children, or parents and or grandparents whom one is supposed to protect.
Holy Quran says: “Indeed, charitable offerings are only to be given to the poor and the indigent, and to those who work on administering it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to [free] those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. This is an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise. (Sura Al-Tawbah, 9:60)
Sadaqah means charity or benevolence and is the voluntary donation that a Muslim should make as part of his life. According to the Holy Quran, the word Sadaqah means voluntary offering, and the amount can be decided by the giver based on the need of the beneficiary.