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Zakāh or "alms for the poor" (Arabic: زكاة‎ is the Islamic principle of giving a percentage of one's income to charity. It is often compared to the system of tithing and alms, but it serves principally as the welfare contribution to poor and deprived people in the Muslim lands, although others may have a rightful share. It is the duty of the Islamic state not just to collect Zakat, but to distribute it fairly as well. Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Believers in Islam are aware that by giving a fixed percentage of their surplus wealth, they are fulfilling this religious obligation. Zakat has been paired with such a high sense of righteousness that it is often placed on the same level of importance as offering salat (prayer)[1] Muslims see this process also as a way of purifying themselves from their greed and selfishness and also safeguarding future business[2]

In addition zakat purifies the person who receives it because it saves him from the humiliation of begging and prevents him from envying the rich. [3]

Zakat holds such a high level of importancet hat the "punishment" for not paying when able is very severe. in the second edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam it states,"...the prayers of those who do not pay zakat will not be accepted"[4]. This is due to the fact that without zakat a tremendous hardship is placed on the poor which otherwise would not be there. Besides the fear of their prayers not getting heard those who are able should be practicing this third pillar of Islam because the Koran states that is what believers should do. Chapter 9 verse 11 states,"if they repent, establish regular prayers and pay zakah, they are your brethren of faith", and in chapter 2 verse 155, "be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss on goods, lives, and fruits. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevers."

Sufis and ZakatEdit

While zakat plays a large role in the Muslim religion,"classic sufi sources portray the sufi as standing outside the system of zakat". This is because a traditional sufi will own no property therfore they will pay no zakat. Now this places them in a class with the poor, who are allowed to recive the benefits of zakat,but they are not allowed to receive what others are able to give due to their "greater spiritual wealth"[5]

Minimum amountEdit

It is an obligation on Muslims to pay 1/40 (2.5%) of the wealth which they have had for a full lunar year, 1/40 (2.5%) of goods used for trade, and 5% or 10% of certain type of harvests depending on irrigation. Exempt from Zakat are a person's house and personal transportation.

Zakat is not mandatory on harvest if the total did not reach the minimum limit of about 653 kilograms [6], nor on gold amounts if the owner has less than 85 grams of gold or less than 595 grams of silver[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Zysow, A. "Zakāt (a.)." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 27 April 2009 http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-1377
  2. Zysow, A. "Zakāt (a.)." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 27 April 2009 http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-1377
  3. Robinson, Neal. Islam; A Concise Introduction. Richmond; Curzon Press. 1999
  4. Zysow, A. "Zakāt (a.)." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 27 April 2009 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-1377>
  5. Zysow, A. "Zakāt (a.)." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 27 April 2009 http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-1377
  6. إسلام أون لاين.نت - استشارات الزكاة - زكاة الزروع والثمار
  7. Zakat on IslamCity.com
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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Zakat. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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