What is Zakat?
In Arabic, Zakat means purification, growth and blessing. It is a charitable practice that requires all able Muslims (those who meet the requirement of Zakat as dependent upon nisab and hawl see below) to contribute a fixed portion of their wealth – 2.5% of savings — to help the needy.
What is Nisab?
Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have—after calculating necessary expenses—to be eligible to contribute zakat. Nisab is equivalent to the value of 3 ounces of gold. The nisab we’ve calculated for our zakat calculator is based on the most-recent report available to us (disclaimer: this number may change daily depending on fluctuations in the gold exchange rate).
Who is obligated to pay Zakat?
Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab and hawl in a calendar year must pay zakat for that year. There are some conditions that may require others, a wali (guardian) of a minor for instance, to pay zakat too. As always, it is best to consult with your local imam or scholar for clarification.
When should I pay Zakat?
Zakat 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 zakat is made in a timely fashion is to pay your zakat during Ramadan.
What’s the difference between Zakat al Mal and Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al-Mal (commonly called “zakat“) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is about the price of one meal—estimated at $10 in 2016.
On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of everyone in the family. There are some scholars that recommend that Zakat al-Fitr is also paid on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy, but do not view it as obligatory. Most scholars do agree, however, that Zakat al-Fitrshould be paid on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification.
When should I pay my Zakat al Fitr?
It should be paid before Eid prayer (or any day during Ramadan). There are some schools of thought that also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. Consult with your local imam or scholar if you need additional information.