Zakat (alms tax)
Zakat represents the unbreakable bond between members of the community, who described the Prophet Mohammad to be “like the organs of the body, if one suffers then all others rally in response.”
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a portion for those in need and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Zakah purifies not only the property of the taxpayer, but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. Purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, hatred and uneasiness and favors instead of good will and warm wishes for the contributors.
How do Muslims pay Zakat have the feeling that this is true of an investment and not a debt by helping to establish the economic balance and social justice in society.
In general terms, what remains beyond the satisfaction of needs and expenses, and are accumulated for the duration of one year, liable to Zakat. Zakat is the right of the wealth of the rich and poor is neither optional charity nor philanthropy.
Zakah has a deep humanitarian and social-political value, for example, free from the company class, from rancor and mistrust, and corruption. Although Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possession, that does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism. Islam adopts a moderate course, but positive and effective between the individual and society, between the citizen and the state, between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and spiritualism.
How is it calculated?
Zakah is a proportionately fixed contribution collected from the surplus wealth and earnings of the Muslim.
Each Muslim calculates his own zakat individually. Zakah is paid the net balance after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Every Muslim male or female at the end of the year is in possession of the equivalent of 85 grams of gold (about $ 1400 in 1990 ) or more in cash or articles of commerce, must give Zakah at the minimum rate of 2.5%. Taxes paid to government do not substitute for this religious duty. The taxpayer should not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.
Other gains and profits have their respective formulas, such as proceeds from farming industry, agriculture, animals, buildings, etc., as detailed in references to specialized fund.
Note the obligatory nature of Zakah, but necessary. Muslims can also go beyond what they pay as Zakah, in which case the offering is a strictly voluntary charity (sadaqa). Sadaqa is given preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a broader meaning. The Prophet said ‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity’.
The Prophet said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim’. He was asked: ‘What happens if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘You should work with their own hands for his benefit and then give something useful such as in love’. The Companions asked: ‘And if it is unable to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy’. The Companions further asked ‘What, can not do that too?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should urge others to do good’. The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should check from doing evil. That is also charity. ‘