Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. The Qur’an mentions Zakat many times along with prayer sSalat to emphasize the importance of it. Literally Zakat means Blessing, purification, increase and goodness. It is so called as it blesses the wealth from which it is taken and protects it from misfortunes.
Zakah is indispensable for the Muslim community as it achieves reform, both financially and spiritually. It eliminates misery and greed from hearts and consolidates the Islamic economy, leading to its stability and prosperity. Besides, the Qur’an pictures Zakah as:
The means of attaining Allah’s mercy, “But My Mercy extended to all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right, and practice regular charity”. (Surah Al-A`raf 7:165)
Also the Sunnah equally stresses the importance of Zakah.
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying, “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, perform Prayer, and pay Zakah.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
Ther are two conditions for Zakat to be obligatory on the wealth.
1. Being in possession of Nisab i.e. possessing property in excess of a minimum exemption limit.
2. On completion of one Lunar year on the wealth. According to the Hanafi fiqh, if a person possesses wealth equal to or in surplus of Nisab in the beginning and at the end of the lunar year, (even though in between the year, the wealth was less than the Nisab), Zakat is obligatory, but if at the end of the lunar year, if the wealth is less than the Nisab (though one had wealth equal to or in surplus during the year), zakat is not obligatory. According to the Shafie fiqh, the passage of one lunar year is a must on the wealth (Nisab). The zakat is calculated on the day on which a year is completed on that wealth (Nisab).
Zakat is paid on the surplus of wealth which is left over after the passage of a year (Lunar Year).
It is thus a payment on the accumulated wealth, leaving our animal and agricultural yield. Zakat is paid at almost a uniform rate of 2 1/2%. The minimum standard of surplus of wealth over which Zakat is charged is known as Nisab. It differs with different kinds of property. In case of silver, it is 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams), in case of gold, it is 7 1/2 Tolas (88 grams). The Nisab for cash is the same as that of gold and silver.
On whom Zakat is obligatory
Zakat is obligatory on every adult free, Muslim man and woman provided the above two conditions are fulfilled. According to Imam Malik, Shafie and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Zakat is obligatory on the wealth of the minor and insane person, and it has to be paid by the guardian.
According to Imam Abu Hanifa, it is not obligatory. Since Zakat is an act of worship, the intention is a must and hence it is not obligatory on the wealth of a minor and the insane person.
Zakat on woman’s Mehr
According to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, the wife need not pay Zakat on the Mehr amount still due by her husband. However, Zakat will have to be paid on the amount she has claimed provided, it is equivalent to or more than the Nisab and on which one year has been completed. According to Imam Shafie, the wife has to pay the Zakat every year (though she herself is not claiming the Mehr, even though it can be claimed). According to Hanbali, the wife has to pay the Zakat for the entire number of years at the time when she gets it.
Zakat on the Business Goods or Stock-in-Trade
All types of goods for sale, whatever may be its form, whether hand- made or machine products or fruits or books or jewellery or clothes or cattle or property brought with the intention of buying and selling etc., are liable for zakat, provided it is in one’s possession for one complete lunar year and the rate of zakat applicable is 2 1/2% on its total value. The prescribed limit on goods is after conversion, in terms of its value, the total amount thus evaluated must be equivalent to the price of 634 grams of silver. If less, then zakat is not obligatory.
Zakat on Company or Partnership, Silver, Gold, Currency and Shares
If any wealth or property is held jointly by two or more persons, then according to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, Zakat is not obligatory on any person until each individual’s share is equal to the value of the Nisab.
Zakat on Silver, Gold, Currency and Shares
The minimum prescribed limit on which Zakat becomes obligatory on silver is 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams), and of gold 7 1/2 Tolas (88 grams) and is known as Nisab. Zakat on silver or gold items is one fortieth of its weight, i.e. 2 1/2%. Zakat on silver or gold is not calculated on its value, but on its weight. However if one possesses some gold and some silver and neither of them is in the prescribed limit, then if their total cost is equal to the price of 634 grams. of silver, Zakat becomes due on it.
Zakat on Jewellery of a Woman
Zakat is due on all the gold and silver ornaments, jewellery, and gold or silver lace woven into cloth, gold thread embroidered dresses for ladies, etc. Hazrath Umm Salmah says that she used to put on (gold) bracelets. When she asked the Prophet (Pbuh) whether it was Kanz (hoarded wealth), he replied. “When a piece of property reaches upto the prescribed limit and Zakat is duly paid on it, it is not Kanz”.(Abu Dawood)
Imam Abu Hanifa, his disciples and some scholars hold the above opinion. According to Imam Malik, Shafie, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal and other scholars, there is no Zakat on the woman’s ornaments. According to some other scholar,s the Zakat on ornaments is due only once in a lifetime. The difference of opinion among scholars is only on the ornaments in use by the woman, but there is a consensus among all the scholars that Zakat is liable on the excess of the ornaments held in possession as wealth.
Zakat of the Bank Deposit and on Provident Fund
Both these fall under the status of debt. According to the Hanafi school of thought: Both of them are liable for Zakat for all the years and it has to be paid when out of it, an amount equivalent to the value of 10 1/2 Tolas of silver or more is claimed. According to the Hanbali school of thought, also the Zakat is liable on both for all the years. It has to be paid when an amount equivalent to the Nisab or more is claimed.
According to the Maliki school of thought, the Zakat on bank deposit is liable for all the years.
And it has to paid when the amount is received. On the provident fund, since the person does not have any power to claim it, so Zakat is liable at the time when it is received and it has to be paid for one year only. According to the Shafie school of thought, the Zakat on the bank deposit has to be paid every year. The Zakat on provident fund has to be made for all the years and it has to be paid when he is entitled to receive it, though he may claim it or not in time.
To whom Zakat cannot be given
1. Zakat cannot be given to a person who owns atleast 7 1/2 tolas of gold or 52 1/2 tolas of silver or equivalent wealth in cash, kind or in trade goods. If Zakat money is given to such a person, then the obligation will not be discharged. For such a person to receive and accept Zakat is forbidden and to use it is haram. If a person owns household goods over and above that which are necessary for his normal use, such as carpets, utensils or other goods which are owned and kept in possession, but are hardly in frequent use, then such goods do not come under essentials, but in accumulated wealth and Zakat cannot be given to the person possessing them.
2. To some relatives: Zakat cannot be given to one’s mother, father, paternal and maternal grandparents, great grand-parents, etc. Likewise, Zakat cannot be given to one’s offspring-sons, daughters, grand-children, great grand-children, etc. Zakat cannot be given by husband to wife, nor by wife to husband. Except for these, Zakat can be given to other relatives such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.
3. To children: The position of a minor child is linked with his or her father. If the father is wealthy, then the child will also be considered as rich and Zakat cannot be given to him. If the father is poor enough to receive Zakat. but the mother is rich, then Zakat could be given to the child because the child’s financial position is linked with that of the father, not the mother.
4. To Syeds: Syeds are the descendants of Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima. Zakat as well as Sadaqah and Fitra cannot be given to them.
5. Zakat cannot be given to a person in payment of services rendered by him or in payment of wages to a teacher, caretaker, etc. It can, however, be given to such a person as a gift, if desired.
6. Zakat cannot be given to domestic or other servants as wages. Zakat money can be given to them as a gift over and above the wages paid to them.
The Selangor government August 26, launched a new unit aimed at helping poor Muslims avoid “facing the risk” of leaving the faith in pursuit of a better life.
Called “Unit Selamat Aqidah”, it will act as a service centre to receive complaints and requests for whatever form of assistance to ease the burden of underprivileged Muslims.
The unit, announced by state exco Hasan Ali, will work closely with the Selangor Zakat Board, which will nominate staff to process applications – which will be approved as long as they fulfill the set terms and conditions.
This is in response to the belief that Muslims have been receiving aid from Christian or church organisations because they had faced rejection for assistance by Muslim-based organisations and by the Zakat boards.
Muslims fear that aid given by Christian-based organisations will expose Muslims to proselytization.
It has been just about a decade since Islamophobia exploded in this country. That was of moment that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by al Qaeda terrorists. It existed prior to 9/11, but the losses that day and the general terror it inflicted upon this country made many, many Americans much more wary of Arabs and, fairly quickly, fearful of the religion the terrorists professed.
The first sign that 9/11 would be exploited to advance various agendas came from Binyamin Netanyahu, who wasquoted in the New York Times as saying the attacks would be good for Israel:
Asked tonight [September 11, 2001] what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”
Netanyahu subsequently reiterated his views about 9/11, quoted here in Haaretz.
And, of course, ever since 9/11 the “pro-Israel” lobby has successfully used it to build support for right-wing Israeli policies in the United States.
But the lobby isn’t alone.
It is just one of the components of an orchestrated and well-financed effort to make Americans fear and hate Muslims and Arabs.
I have to admit, however, that until I read a report published today by the Center for American Progress (CAP), I had no idea just how orchestrated and well-financed this movement was.
The report, “Fear Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” demonstrates that a small group of self-proclaimed experts (Frank Gaffney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steve Emerson) backed by a host of foundations and donors (many of which also fund the lobby) have put Islamophobia on the map.
To put it simply, without these “experts,” their donors, and Fox News (their media mouthpiece) you would never have heard that a Muslim community center (the “Ground Zero Mosque”) was being constructed in New York City. And the center certainly would not have become a major news story. Nor would Republican (and even a few Democratic) candidates for president, Congress, and even village councils be called upon to condemn Islam and “Sharia Law” or face being labeled a supporter of terrorism. Nor would Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum have made hatred of American Muslims such an integral part of their campaigns.
It all starts with the money. According to CAP:
A small group of foundations and wealthy donors are the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America, providing critical funding to a clutch of right-wing think tanks that peddle hate and fear of Muslims and Islam-in the form of books, reports, websites, blogs, and carefully crafted talking points that anti-Islam grassroots organizations and some right-wing religious groups use as propaganda for their constituency.
Some of these foundations and wealthy donors also provide direct funding to anti-Islam grassroots groups. According to our extensive analysis, here are the top seven contributors to promoting Islamophobia in our country:
- Donors Capital Fund
- Richard Mellon Scaife foundations
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
- Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker foundations and charitable trust
- Russell Berrie Foundation
- Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund
- Fairbrook Foundation
The amazing thing about the CAP report is that it exposes people who try very hard to cover their tracks. It is one thing to be known for supporting AIPAC, but it is quite another to be identified with the likes of Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes, and Pam Geller, who appears in the CAP report as only a second-tier hater but whose anti-Muslim vehemence is nothing short of disgusting. (She rationalised the killing of the kids in Norway by pointing out that the camp they attended was associated with Norway’s Labor Party, which she claims is anti-Israel!)
The hate funders are particularly determined to lay low since the slaughter of 76 people in Norway in July by a self-described Christian conservative named Anders Breivik, who said that he was influenced by Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, and David Horowitz (another prominent propagandist against Muslims and beneficiary of the various anti-Islam foundations).
But CAP followed the money, went behind the innocent-sounding foundation names, and cross-referenced them. And now we have it: the hate network exposed.
It’s pretty ugly. Jews whose main concern is Israel align themselves with Christian rightists who don’t like Jews. There are even a few Muslims who are dispatched by the network to tell audiences at churches and synagogues just how bad their people are. It’s weird.
But it’s also very dangerous, as the Norway slaughter attests.
The strangest thing about the killings is that they happened in Norway. Reading this report, you have to wonder why it hasn’t happened here. Yet.