Who should pay zakat?

Answered by John Hunt

Zakat is an important obligation in Islam, and it is incumbent upon every adult Muslim who meets certain criteria to fulfill this duty. The question of who should pay Zakat can be answered by looking at the requirements and conditions set forth in Islamic teachings.

Firstly, Zakat is applicable to every sane, adult Muslim who possesses wealth over a certain threshold known as the nisab. The nisab is determined by the value of gold or silver, and it represents the minimum amount of wealth one must possess before Zakat becomes obligatory. The value of nisab may vary over time and in different regions, so it is important to consult with scholars or reliable sources to determine the current nisab value.

When it comes to determining who should pay Zakat, it is important to understand that it is not solely based on income or earnings. Rather, it is based on the overall wealth and assets a person possesses. This includes money, gold, silver, business investments, stocks, and any other valuable assets. The value of these assets is calculated and Zakat is paid on the total amount.

It is worth noting that Zakat is not applicable to every single possession or item one may own. Personal items such as clothing, furniture, and the house one lives in are generally not included in the calculation of Zakat. However, if a person possesses excessive amounts of such items that are beyond their basic needs, then Zakat may be due on those excess possessions.

Zakat is not only limited to individuals but also extends to certain types of businesses and agricultural produce. For example, business owners are required to pay Zakat on their business assets and profits. Similarly, farmers and those involved in agriculture are obligated to pay Zakat on their agricultural produce.

In addition to meeting the nisab threshold, another important condition for paying Zakat is the passage of a lunar year (hawl) since the acquisition of the wealth. This means that Zakat is due on wealth that has been in a person’s possession for a full Islamic calendar year. Once the hawl is complete, Zakat becomes obligatory on that wealth.

It is important to mention that Zakat is not just a financial obligation but also a spiritual one. It is a means of purifying one’s wealth and giving back to the community. By paying Zakat, Muslims fulfill their duty towards those in need and contribute to the betterment of society.

Zakat is an obligatory act of worship for every sane, adult Muslim who possesses wealth above the nisab threshold. It is not based solely on income but encompasses all types of wealth and assets. Zakat is due on these possessions after the passage of a lunar year. By fulfilling this obligation, Muslims not only purify their wealth but also contribute to the welfare of the community and fulfill their duty towards those in need.