Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth
Zakat is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one’s wealth to charity. It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam.
Zakat does not refer to charitable gifts given out of kindness or generosity, but to the systematic giving of 2.5% of one’s wealth each year to benefit the poor.
The benefits of Zakat, apart from helping the poor, are as follows:
- Obeying God
- Helping a person acknowledge that everything comes from God on loan and that we do not really own anything ourselves and since we cannot take anything with us when we die we need not cling to it
- Acknowledging that whether we are rich or poor is God’s choice.
So we should help those he has chosen to make poor
- Learning self-discipline
- Freeing oneself from the love of possessions and greed
- Freeing oneself from the love of money
- Freeing oneself from love of oneself
- Behaving honestly
The 2.5% rate only applies to cash, gold and silver, and commercial items. There are other rates for farm and mining produce, and for animals.
‘Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend (in charity) out of the (substance) whereof He has made you heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend (in charity), for them is a great Reward.’ (Qur’an 57:7)
Sadaqah is the act of charity given purely out of compassion, love, friendship, religious duty or generosity. It’s the smile you give to your neighbour, the potential harm you remove from someone’s pathway, the food you feed to the needy or the well you dig to quench someone’s thirst.
What types of Sadaqah are there?
- Sadaqah lillah: Charity for the sake of Allah
- Sadaqah Jariyah: Continuous charity
- Waqf: Assets that are donated, bequeathed, or purchased for the purpose of being held in perpetual trust as ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah) or for a general or specific cause that Islam regards as socially beneficial
Sadaqah can be…
- Given in any amount
- Given at any time
- Given to anyone in need of help
- Can be given on behalf of another person
FIDYA - KAFFARA
Ramadan is a month of spirituality, prayer and fasting. It also serves to remind Muslims of the importance of charity, and their obligation to be charitable during the month and all throughout the year.
In some circumstances, a Muslim is not able to fulfill their religious obligation to fast during the month of Ramadan, or may want to recompense for a broken oath.
What if I was not able to fast in Ramadan?
Fidya and Kaffara are two solutions offered that can help a Muslim expiate for not fasting or breaking other obligations. The paying of fidya or kaffara also benefits members of the community who live in impoverished conditions.
- The meaning of Fidya is an expiation or compensation donation, paid within the Islamic tradition by individuals who cannot fulfill the obligation of fasting due to illness or old age.
- The meaning of Kaffara is also an expiation or compensation donation within the Islamic tradition paid by individuals who deliberately miss or break a day of fast during the month of Ramadan without a valid reason.
Fidya donations are meant to feed a person in need for each of the fasting days missed, and are equivalent to the price of one meal each for two people or two meals for one person.
Zakat al-fitr, also commonly known as ‘Fitrana’, is the compulsory charity paid by every Muslim -adult and child- as early as possible before the end of Ramadan.
It is a way for Muslims to give thanks that they were able to complete the month of fasting.
The cost or rate of Fitrana may change from year to year, depending on the rise in food prices. The required quantity of Fitrana was described by the Prophet Muhammad (pbhu) as one saa. The monetary equivalent of this today´s worth of staple food.
Bear in mind, however, the Bukhari narrated Hadith, ‘None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.’ Therefore, when paying Fitrana we should ask ourselves:
Is the amount we pay equivalent to the cost of a normal meal that would satisfy our own hunger?
Is the amount we pay in line with our own financial situation?
There is not a fixed price for Fitrana, but reflects the bare minimum that we should be paying. But the more you give in line with your own standards the better. Remember it all counts as charity from you.
WHEN TO PAY
Zakat Fitrana is commonly paid at the end of Ramadan. However, Fitrana is time sensitive and it is important that it reaches the poor in time for Eid, so that they can celebrate the festival with enough to eat. Therefore, when paying Fitrana please do so early rather than waiting until the last fews days of Ramadan. This helps us to plan ahead and coordinate the food for the needy.
The head of a household can pay Fitrana on behalf of his/her dependants, such as children, servants and other dependant relatives. However, according to the scholarly consensus, if a child has his/her own wealth, he/she should pay his/her own Fitrana from that wealth.