Islam has always encouraged the practice of generosity and kindness in society and has strictly prohibited bad habits like selfishness and misery.
Islam stands strong on the objective of helping the society, encouraging Muslims to share the bounties of Allah so that the less fortunate can survive with dignity.
One should never view Zakat as a voluntary charitable act because it doesn’t depend on an individual’s sweet will. Often people get confused with the idea of paying tax and Zakat and think that both are same.
Now taxation is a rule imposed by the government but Zakat is a spiritual and religious obligation made by Allah the Almighty.
If you do not pay tax then the government may take legal actions as per the laws of the land but if you deny paying Zakat you will be considered as a sinner in front of Allah and be punished on the day of resurrection.
Every Muslim must gain proper knowledge about Zakat and ensure that it is paid at the right time, in the right amount and to the right people.
Unfortunately, our ignorance towards Islam has led to many misconceptions and wrong practices, which must be corrected immediately so that we all can seek the mercy and blessings of Allah the Almighty.
1. Zakat must be paid in the month of Ramadan Only:
Ramadan is a sacred month when the Muslims are obliged to fast from the dawn to dusk.
Allah has promised to multiply His blessings 70 times for every good deed performed by a Muslim during this time. However, there is no such obligation that Zakat must be paid in this month only.
You should pay Zakat when your Nisaab amount has completed one lunar year irrespective of the month on which you are paying.
2. Zakat Purifies Haram Wealth:
Islam has always encouraged Muslims to earn their living by Halal means and has prohibited Haram earnings. Zakat is also liable for halal wealth so there is no chance of purifying your Haram wealth through Zakat.
3. Zakat Is On Gold Only:
There are certain belongings on which people are asked to pay Zakat. These include cash in hand, bank savings, bonds, land kept for sale, bonus, shares, house rents, and other objects of monetary value.
Zakat is also applicable to jewelry and gold. Again gold is used as a standard unit to measure the Zakatable amount. So Zakat is not limited to be paid on gold only.
Personal belongings have been exempted from Zakat. For example house you are living in, the car you are using for personal benefits or clothing are exempted from Zakat.
4. Give Zakat to your Neighborhood:
Islamic scholars and experts have suggested paying Zakat to one’s own neighborhood first. According to one hadith, The Prophet (PBUH) instructed one of his companions Mu’adh to distribute the Zakat of Yemen within Yemen first.
Again if you have any poor relatives you should help them by giving Zakat. Your relatives, in this case, will deserve the Zakat money.
5. Eligibility for paying Zakat:
One has to be Muslim in order to pay Zakat. This individual has to be mature and mentally stable. Next, there should be an intention to pay Zakat and the individual must own the property which is above the Nisaab amount.
6. Difference between Zakat and Sadaqah:
There is a distinction between Zakat and Sadaqah which at times become confusing for people to understand.
Zakat is the compulsory act that all Muslims must perform when they meet certain conditions. If anybody doesn’t pay Zakat deliberately they will only get the Almighty’s displeasure.
Sadaqah is the act of voluntary giving. Sadaqah can be given to anybody at any proportion and at any time of the year. It can be given to help anyone as pleased by the giver.
Sadaqah is not mandatory. If anybody doesn’t give Sadaqah there will be no sin. If anybody willingly pays Sadaqah they will receive rewards from the Almighty and get his pleasure.