What is Zakaat / Lillah

Both Zakaat and Lillah are forms of charity. Charity is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Zakaat is obligatory upon all Muslims who are adult, sane and own wealth exceeding the value of the Nisaab. Lillah is a form of voluntary charity that may be used for a variety of public benefit activities.

The Nisaab Amount:

The Nisaab is the minimum amount of wealth that a person must have, in order for Zakaat to be obligatory on him/her. This must also be in excess of their personal needs such as clothing, food, required household items, vehicle etc. Further, the excess wealth must have been held for a full lunar year (approximately 354 days). The Nisaab for Gold is 87.48g and for Silver it is 612.36g – the Nisaab of physical money is calculated as the equivalent value of the Gold / Silver Nisaab. Zakaat is payable at the end of a 12 month lunar period. Most Muslims calculate and discharge their Zakaat payable during the month of Ramadhaan.

Calculating Zakaat:

A Muslim is obligated to pay Zakaat at a minimum rate of 2.5% of his wealth. The monetary value of the following items must be included to calculate Zakaat:

- Cash on hand or cash held in a bank account

- Trading inventory / stock – at cost price

- Investment Holdings

- Gold / Silver – whether kept for sale or personal use (For Hanafis)

- Gold / Silver – not payable if used in ornaments or women’s jewellery (For Shafi’s / Maliki’s only)

- Animals / Livestock / Agricultural Produce

Who can Zakaat be given to?

Zakaat, which is obligatory for Muslims, may only be given to Muslims. Lillah, which is voluntary, may be given to anybody who is deserving of it. According to the Quran (Surah Taubah, Verse 9), the following types of Muslims qualify for Zakaat:

- The poor and needy

- Those employed to collect funds (it must be noted that members of the SAMF carry out work on a completely voluntary basis and thus DO NOT receive Zakaat or other funds as compensation)

- Those recently converted to Islam

- A slave who needs to be freed

- For those in debt - Only if by paying the debt themselves, they would suffer undue distress or destitution. Further, the debt incurred must have been for a lawful purpose AND the debtor has made every other effort to discharge the debt from his own lawful means.

- Those who serve in the path of Allah

- A traveler who finds himself in financial difficulties during his travels.


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