What is the meaning of Zakat?
Zakat literally means "to be clear, to grow, to increase." It comes from the root letters za, kaf, ya, which has several meanings: to be clean [Al-Quran Chapter 24: Verse 21, Chapter 23: Verse 4], to pay the obligatory charity [Al-Quran 2:43], to be pure, innocent [Al-Quran 19:19, 18:74], to be better in purity [Al-Quran 18:81, 19:13], and to praise oneself, to justify [Al-Quran 53:32]. It has been used in the Quran to mean all of these things. It can also be considered a form of sadaqah (charity), given to the poor.
- Levied on specific assets only, identified by Shariah (Islamic Law) as assets having the potential for growth.
- Levied at the rate of 2.5% each year (calculated according to the lunar calendar*) on the market value of the Zakat-able assets after deducting therefrom specified liabilities.
- The compulsory transfer of ownership of a portion of the property of the giver, calculated at the rate of 2.5% as aforesaid, to a poor and needy Muslim who qualifies to receive Zakat according to the Shariah.
- An Ibada'h (worship) and not a tax, Obligatory on every Muslim who owns Nisab viz. 613.35 grams of silver, or 87.49 grams of gold or who owns one or more assets liable to Zakat as set out below, equal in value to 613.35 grams of silver or 87.49 grams of gold. . (See Sections 12.1 and 12.2 for more on Nisab).
* Zakat is calculated according to the lunar year. Those who pay Zakat according to the solar year should accordingly, in order to take into account the difference in days, add 3% to the amount of Zakat payable.
With regard to calculations (and specific information throughout this flyer), we have followed the opinion of the Hanafi school of thought. Information on other schools may be found by researching Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) texts, books, or consulting local scholars in this regard.