A Brief Introduction to Zakāt or Zakćh

The Zakat (Alms, 3rd of the 5 pillars of Islam) 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. (1)

Zakah does 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.(2)

For society, zakat (3)

  1. minimizes the feeling of envy among those who are not well-to-do;
  2. provides a religiously-approved method of managing economy and finance;
  3. makes it possible for part of the wealth of the rich to be distributed among the poor.
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. (4)
Recipients of Zakat The Holy Qur'an (Sura Al-Tauba: 60) classifies the due recipients of zakat under the following eight categories. (5)

    "Zakat is for the poor, and the needy and those who are employed to administer and collect it, and the new converts, and for those who are in bondage, and in debt and service of the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained by Allah, and Allah is the All-Knowing, the Wise".
Last words ... give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth ...
--Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon (6)


  1. An introduction to Islam - from alt.religion.islam, FAQ
  2. Zakat (the Alms Tax)
  4. Definition - from PPZ, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  5. The Due Recipients of Zakat, by Zakat House, Kuwait
  6. Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon, 632 A.C

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