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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Zakat | How to Mobilize Charity to Rebuild Lives in Gaza

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By Safia Malik

The Zakat (Zakaat, Zakah) is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam. If a Muslim is eligible, they must fulfill the requirement within their lifetime. Thus, it is an essential part of a Muslim’s daily life, along with other sacred pillars such as Shahadah, Salah fasting, and Hajj.

As a whole, it represents a revolutionary concept that has the potential to alleviate the suffering of millions worldwide especially in Gaza. Today, many international organizations collect Zakat and charities and distribute them among the needy or war-torn countries where everyone lacks necessities.

Let’s explore Zakat and how the organizations distribute it in Gaza detail.

What is Zakat?

Technically, Zakat means ‘that which purifies,’ and it means ‘to increase.’ Accordingly, Islam’s fundamental principle is purifying an individual’s yearly earnings. A donation must be made on excess wealth, such as cash in a bank account, gold or silver, agricultural products, livestock earnings, and stock and investment profits. This enables an individual to be free of egotism and greed. This practice contributes to social harmony and peace.

The Significance of Zakat in Islam

There are more than 80 references in the Quran to the importance of zakat.

Allah Says:

“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah 

(QUR’AN 2:110)

To fulfill this obligation, an individual must be sincere in his or her calculations and donation.

They are brought closer to Allah by their adherence to their faith, the only truth in the universe. As a result, it plays an essential role in maintaining social order and eliminating beggarly conditions.

Further, equitable wealth distribution between the rich and the poor can eliminate social evils such as exploitation, slavery, and criminal activity. Donations are made annually to promote Muslim brotherhood and unity worldwide in the name of Allah.

Types of Zakat

  • Zakat al-Mal: Zakat al-Mal generally refers to an individual’s annual donation based on wealth. There are many ways in which wealth can be measured, including money, gold, silver, and properties.
  • Zakat al Fitr: Muslims are also obliged to give Zakat al Fitr as another significant contribution. Before Eid, the donation has to be made within the fixed time frame that makes it valid.

The Zakat Hadith

Compared to any other system, charity is an investment that yields greater profits. A hadith narrated by Abu Huraira describes the virtues of profits as follows:

If one gives in charity what equals (the size of) one date-fruit from the honestly-earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money –Allah takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain

(SAHIH BUKHARI, VOL 2, BOOK 24, NO. 491)

For more references on Hadith regarding the importance and distribution of Zakat, please visit the Muslim and Quran website and check the collection of Hadiths from the prominent Scholars.

Benefits of Zakat

Individuals and society can benefit from charitable giving in the name of Allah in various ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Unity in Allah’s cause: A hadith mentions how an angel prays to Allah to provide for those who donate to a divine cause. Donations serve the purpose of meeting both ends, namely an individual’s path and Allah’s path.
  • Hellfire protection: It is Allah’s pleasure to reward those who follow Him with complete faith and are righteous. According to Islamic scholars, a person who donates wealth before the day of judgment will be protected from hellfire, and Allah will provide the donor with a place to live in the afterlife.
  • Encourage a sense of belonging in society: Donations contribute to a more equitable distribution of wealth and improve the lives of the poor and needy. Therefore, it eliminates the social divide separating the rich from the poor, and all human beings are now equal in the Eyes of the Creator.

What are the eligibility requirements for zakat?

When an individual’s annual income exceeds the minimum amount, he or she must donate wealth as a responsibility. It will be mandatory for the individual to donate their wealth every year from that point forward. There should be no delay in making a charitable contribution as it is an obligation on the part of the donor.

A second obligation is the payment of Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of the household owner at the end of Ramadan. Family members who fast must pay Zakat al-Fitr for money or food equivalent to the amount they fasted for one day.

Are There Any Requirements for Giving Zakat?

A donation is due every time a person’s wealth exceeds the Nisab. Zakat is calculated according to the income level at which an individual can pay it. As a result, the total nisab is calculated differently depending upon the source and asset of wealth. Also, if there is a decline in wealth during the zakat year below the nisab, the calculation will be recommenced once the wealth rises above the nisab.

What is The Eligibility for Receiving Zakat?

Eight different categories of individuals can receive Zakat, which are listed below.

  • Fakir.  Poor people and in need
  • Miskin. Those who have no food to eat and are hungry
  • Amil. A person who collects zakat on others’ behalf and distributes it
  • Riqab. The enslaved or captive population
  • Gharmin. Those who are in debt
  • Fisabilillah. Those who are dedicated to Allah’s cause
  • Ibnus Sabil. Passengers who are stranded
  • Muallaf. New converts to Islam

If you look at the people of Gaza you will find all those categories at once. May Allah bless our brothers and sisters.

Collecting and Distributing Zakat Online

There are several ways of paying Zakat. You can pay it in person to those in need or to an institution or mosque where an Aamileen, authorized to collect Zakat, will distribute it to the needy in that location or to its affiliated organizations.

Zakat payments can now be made online, a more recent trend. The Shariah-compliant online platforms would, in this case, assess and select some of the eligible recipients of Zakat on a priority basis.

Candidates are then asked to post their profiles on their websites and social media as part of a campaign. These campaigns allow users to pay Zakat or Sadaqah amounts virtually to any of them, thus helping Muslims in desperate need worldwide.

Conclusion

Zakat emerges as a powerful force for good in a world where evil things frequently affect poor people. It represents compassion, justice, and social responsibility on Muslims to help their fellow believers if they can.

Zakat’s role in relief efforts and programs cannot be overstated. Some organizations exemplify how Zakat can be effectively harnessed to bring relief, rehabilitation, and hope to those facing the darkest moments.

Author Bio

Safia Malik is an experienced content writer who works at muslimandquran.com

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