It is advised that you consult with your local Imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries. Please contact Imam Zahid at [email protected]
Nevertheless, here are some frequently asked questions that may help:
Estimate your Zakah Calculation: http://www.irusa.org/zakahcalculator/ (supported by Islamic relief).
These stipulations delineate the type of wealth that should be accounted for when calculating Zakah:
The wealth is yours and under your control. You do not need to include outstanding debts when calculating Zakah.
The wealth is subject to development and increasing.
After calculating necessary expenses, the wealth meets the requirements of nisab.
Personal belongings, such as clothes, primary homes, food, cars, are exempt from Zakah.
When can I pay my Zakah?
Zakah should be paid as soon as possible prior to or at the time that you’ve earned the requisite amount of nisab each lunar year, or one year after you last paid it. Tip: A good way to ensure Zakah is made in a timely fashion is to pay your Zakah during Ramadan.
Who is obligated to pay Zakah?
Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab and hawl in a calendar year must pay Zakah for that year. There are some conditions that may require others, a wali (guardian) of a minor for instance to pay Zakah, too. As always, it is best to consult with your local Imam or scholar for clarification.
The Recipients of Zakah
There are eight categories of people to whom Zakah can be distributed. These have been identified as:
Al-Fuqara: The Poor
According to the majority of jurists, the poor are those who do not have any assets and have no means by which they can earn their living. However, the Hanafi jurists defined the poor as those who have money lesser than the amount on which Zakah is payable. The poor are worse than the needy in regard to satisfying their basic needs. However, some scholars hold the opposite view.
Al-Masakin: The Needy
According to the majority of jurists, the needy are the people whose earnings do not cover their basic needs. However, the Hanifi jurists identified them as ‘those who have no earnings at all’. The Hanafi and Maaliki jurists consider them to be more deserving of Zakah than the poor. However, the Hanbali and Shafi`i jurists consider the poor as being more deserving of Zakah.
Actually, this dispute in categorization has no effect, since both the poor and the needy are among the categories entitled to receive Zakah.
Al-‘Amilina ‘Alayha: Administrators of Zakah
This term applies to all those serving in the field of Zakah, including those responsible for collecting, storing, guarding, registering and distributing Zakah. They shoulder all Zakah related activities.
Al-Mu’allafate-Qulubuhum: Reconciliation of Hearts
This term applies to people who have embraced Islam or who are inclined to it.
Fir-Riqab: For those in Bondage
Zakah may be allocated to help Muslims free themselves of bondage.
Al-Gharimin: Those in Debt
Zakah may be used to pay off debts, so long as these debts were not incurred in an act contrary to Islamic law.
Fi-Sabilillah: In the Cause of Allah
Muslim jurists differ on who or what can be covered under this category, although most seem to agree that it can be used in the defense of Islam. In the wider sense however, this channel covers promoting the Islamic value system.
Ibnas-Sabil: The Wayfarer
A wayfarer refers to a traveller who left his home for a lawful purpose and for whatever good reason does not possess enough money to return home, even if he is rich in his own country.
Choosing Zakah Workers
1. A Muslim.
2. A sane and mature individual.
3. A trustworthy, righteous and honest individual – so as not to oppress the rich or neglect the rights of the poor.
4. A general and complete knowledge of Zakah rulings and regulations.
5. Efficiency and performance is required.
The Manner of Distributing Zakah:
The Zakah giver is freed from his obligation as soon as he grants full ownership and possession of it to any of the above-mentioned categories. This can be done either by giving a certain amount of money to meet his basic requirements or by giving him a means of production or tools of trade to help him in becoming self-empowered.
To Whom Can Zakah Not Be Given?
Muslim jurists agree that Zakah cannot be given to the following people:
1) The rich (except when such are among the workers of Zakah).
2) Those capable but unwilling to work.
3) Ascendants, descendants, and wives of the payer.
4) The family of the Prophet (S).
The proceeds from Zakah at the time of the Prophet (S) were, in most cases, distributed immediately upon collection, as reported by many workers who often said that they were accustomed to coming back from their Zakah missions empty handed – the way they had started their journeys – because everything collected would be distributed on the spot.