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Religious Studies

Islam: concern for others


Zakah [Zakah: Purification of wealth by payment of annual welfare due. An obligatory act of worship. ] is 2.5% of a Muslim’s income and savings after they have taken care of their families. It is important to remember that zakah is not charity but an obligation. The rich pay more than those with less money and very poor people pay nothing at all.

In Muslim countries zakah is a form of social security that provides food, clothing and other necessities.

Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer.

Surah 9:60

Muslims can also give voluntary charitable donations called sadaqah when someone is in need. However, whenever possible, charity should be given privately:

There is a man who gives charity and he conceals it so much that his left hand does not know what his right hand spends.


Muslim teaching is that zakah helps the poor and also helps them to help the rich. Poor people do not see this money as charity but as assistance to which they are entitled.

Zakah purifies the poor because it means that they are not tempted to be jealous. Accepting zakah is worshipping Allah [Allah: The Islamic name for God in the Arabic language ] and accepting the wisdom of Allah's will.

Similarly, the poor are helping the rich who give zakah to store up true riches with Allah.

Back to Poverty and wealth index

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