Zakat, translated from the Arabic by "alms" is the third of the five pillars of Islam.
The purpose behind Zakat is to help the believer purify his attachment to the materialized goods, to reduce feelings of lust and greed, to promote solidarity between Muslims and rally them to Allah.
The Zakat benefits the poorest of the community by helping them meet their needs without having to beg.
Even more; at the beginning of Islam, Zakat was collected by the State, and the amount was distributed equitably between those in need and part of it was used to build schools, hospitals, or any public building necessary for the proper functioning of the community, so it was a kind of tax. Those who cared to collect alms also received a part of it. There are two main types of Zakat: Zakat Al Mal and Zakat ul-Fitr.
Zakat Al Mal
The alms or Zakat Al Mal, according to the Islamic law, is imposed on an annual basis. It covers:
- Financial resources beyond 85g gold and 595g of money.
- The goods.
- Fruits, vegetables, grains and other resources extracted from the ground.
The value of Zakat to be taken is 2.5% of the annual sales saved.
Zakat is a right which the less fortunate have to draw from the surplus of the wealthy. There are over 80 verses in the Holy Quran on Zakat and its obligations. For Example: "And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing."- Surat Al Baqarah (110)
Zakat El Fitr
El Zakat Fitr is paid on the day of breaking the fast of the holy month of Ramadan. It is measured by "Saa '’of the food available in the area or a cash amount set each year by Muslim scholars. El Zakat El Fitr concerns all ages.
The Waqf, another type of charity
"Al Waqf" is another form of assistance to the disadvantaged. Some Muslim scholars propose to index this Zakat on the cost of living or the price of oil. In Niger, for example, Zakat is 10% of the harvest that Imams collect directly from the fields. It should be noted that the lands, buildings, principal and secondary private house, cars, furniture, clothing, mortgage or personal jewelry is not subject to Zakat.
Written by: Ali Youssef