What is Zakāt?
Literal Meaning: Zakat means grow (in goodness) or 'increase', 'purifying' or 'making pure'. So the act of giving zakat means purifying one's wealth to gain Allah's blessing to make it grow in goodness. --Source: Definition from the Zakat Collection Center in Kuala Lumpur.
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Zakah not only purifies the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors.
ZAKAT: (Alms) The Zakat is a form of giving to those who are less fortunate. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to give 2.5 % of wealth and assets each year (in excess of what is required) to the poor. This is done before the beginning of the month of Muharram, the first of new year. Giving the Zakat is considered an act of worship because it is a form of offering thanks to God for the means of material well-being one has acquired. --An introduction to Islam
Zakāt: A certain fixed proportion of the wealth and of the each and every kind of the property liable to Zakāt of a Muslim to be paid yearly for the benefit of the poor in the Muslim community. The payment of Zakāt is obligatory as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Zakāt is the major economic means for establishing social justice and leading the Muslim society to prosperity and security. [See Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book of Zakāt (24)]. --Glossary
Paying zakat is Fard (compulsory). The Qur'an says that only those who pay zakat are in the "brotherhood of faith". The Holy Qur'an also says that Zakat purifies assets and creates virtue ( SU:9 103 ). Zakat is a 2.5% levy on most valuables and savings held for a full year if their total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab. At present nisab is $1,050 or an equivalent amount of any other currency. Cash money in your bank and building society accounts, and the release value of bonds, securities and shares in any form are zakatable if they are purchased as an investment. There is no Zakat on family home or household furniture, carpets, car, etc. But if a property ...
Zakat is distributed among 8 asnaf (categories) of people, namely:
(Source: MUIS in Singapore)
The Holy Qur'an (Sura Al-Tauba: 60) classifies the due recipients of zakat under the following eight categories.
"Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those
[Source: Guide to Zakat - By Dr. Abdul-Satar Abu Qhodda]
See also ...