Thursday, May 14, 2009


Zakāh or "alms for the poor" 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)] Muslims see this process also as a way of purifying themselves from their greed and selfishness and also safeguarding future business 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. Because it holds such a high level of importance the "punishment" for not paying when able is very severe. in the 2nd edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam it states,"...the prayers of those who do not pay zakat will not be accepted"
Sufis and Zakat
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"]

Minimums and Amounts
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, nor on gold amounts if the owner has less than 85 grams of gold or less than 595 grams of silver

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