In Islam, charity holds such a great place that it is an obligation on Muslims in the form of Zakaat. In Islam, Zakaat is one of the major pillars of Islam, and those who are wealthy enough, for them it is mandatory to give Zakaat. However, when it comes to paying Zakaat, there are different misconceptions that are prevalent among Muslims. The lines below discuss the importance of Zakaat in Islam and the general misconceptions people have regarding it.

In Islam, Zakaat is the fourth pillar. Zakaat refers to purification in general and purification of wealth in particular, therefore, those Muslims who have wealth over a certain ratio, they are liable to pay Zakaat on it and give it to those who are less fortunate and don’t have sufficient means to live their life in a standard way.

Pertaining to the question of Zakaat, the skeptic ones ask the question that why do they have to pay from their earned money and wealth to the others? The answer to which is as follows.

Importance of Zakaat:

Besides the fact that Zakaat is an obligation and fulfillment of it leads to a Muslim getting reward from Allah Almighty and intentional swerving from it leads to a Muslim receiving punishment from Him, there are other reasons which one can find pertaining to the importance of Zakaat.

o    Helps in Building The Society – The first benefit of Zakaat is that it helps those in the society who are less fortunate. If one class of society keeps on gathering all the money and does not provide anything to anyone else, then the rest would stay in the same plight and the society would be distributed in sections. Therefore, when the wealthy of the society give Zakaat, it means that the ones, who are non-wealthy, get a chance to enjoy a better lifestyle.

o    Circulation of Money – The second thing that Zakaat brings to table pertaining to its being an obligation is the fact that it leads to circulation of money. Zakaat is a form of charity and any charitable deed means that the money gets out of the hands of the ones who are already filthy rich with it. Thus, this way the money gets out of the circle of a few people and circulates in the whole economy.

o    Develops a Sense of Sacrificing – Thirdly, Zakaat also gives and teaches the message of sacrifice. Wealth is perhaps one of the major elements which people love the most. Therefore, when a person gives from his or her wealth, it actually means that he or she loves the order of Allah Almighty more than their personal liking and they are willing to sacrifice the thing they love for the order of Allah the Magnificent.

People Who Can Be Given Zakaat:

In Quran, Allah Almighty says:

“The alms are only for the Fuqara (the poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (9:60)

From this ayah of Quran, the following people who deserve Zakaat can be extracted:

  1. The Poor –These are the people who don’t have means to live their life properly and live below the line of poverty.
  2. The Needy –These people are also poor, however, because of their pride and bashfulness they don’t expose their poverty.
  3. The Collectors –These are the people who are given the duty of collection of Zakaat from other people, however, they themselves cant afford to live a normal life.
  4. The New Converts –People who convert to Islam are also eligible as Zakaat recipients as with their conversion to Islam they need assistance and help for a new start in life.
  5. To Free Slaves –The money of Zakaat can also be spent on freeing the slaves as well.
  6. To Help Someone Pay Debt –Those who are in debt and cant afford to pay it off on their own are also eligible for Zakaat.
  7. In Cause Of Allah –Zakaat can also be given to people who strive in the way of Allah, especially in the form of fighting the usurpers.
  8. For Travelers –Zakaat can also be given to the travelers and wayfarers as they might need the money when it comes to travel arrangements.