Zakah is the practice where a Muslim gives 2.5 per cent of their earnings to charity, after they have paid for what is necessary to support themselves and their families. This means that people who are too poor will not be required to suffer hardship to give Zakah. Muslims give to charity because they see wealth as a loan from Allah. These donations help Muslims to purify their souls by not being greedy. It is said that the giver of the money will receive a “hundred-fold” back in the afterlife.
In countries such as the UK, some Muslims perform Zakah by giving directly to a charity, such as Muslim Aid. Others contribute to collections in the mosque, which then distributes the money to those in need. In Islamic countries, often Zakah is collected as a tax.
Helping each other is seen as helping Allah and fulfilling a duty to God, so by giving Zakah the Muslim community supports one another as the poorest are given financial help.
Alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free slaves and help those in debt, for God’s cause, and for travellers in need.Qur’an 9:60
In addition to practising Zakah, Muslims are encouraged to voluntarily give their money and time to charity throughout the year. This is known as Sadaqah.
Khums literally means ‘a fifth’. It was originally a proportion of the hauls taken during wars by Muslim armies that was given to their religious leader. Today, Shi’a Muslims give 20 per cent of their savings to charities related to Islamic education and to the poor.
What percentage of Muslim wealth is given to charity through Zakah?
2.5 per cent.