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What Is Zakat?

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and an act of worship. The meaning of zakat is “to purify” and so to purify our own wealth all Muslims are obliged to pay a portion of one’s assets to help those in need. Zakat benefits the giver as well as the receiver.

Zakat can also be spelled as zakah or zakat.

Where do Zakat payments go?

The Holy Qur’an tells us who may receive Zakat payments:

  • The poor
  • The destitute
  • Administrators/collectors of Zakat
  • New Muslims facing hardship
  • To free slaves
  • Those who are unable to pay their debt
  • In the path of Allah (swt)
  • Travellers who cannot afford to return home

Who pays Zakat?

All Muslim adults who are sane and possess the nisab (a minimum amount of wealth held for a year) should pay Zakat.

How much is the nisab?

Nisab can be determined in terms of gold or silver – please see the Zakat calculator for details.

How much Zakat do I need to pay?

Although there are no specific guidelines in the Holy Qur’an on exact percentages to be given as Zakat, the customary practice is to give 2.5% on capital assets.

On agricultural goods, precious metals and livestock, the rate varies between 2.5% and 20%.

How do I work out how much Zakat to pay?

You don’t have to do lots of complicated maths to work out your Zakat payment – simply use our handy online calculator.

What types of wealth are included in Zakat?

Assets that are included in the Zakat calculation are cash, shares, pensions, gold and silver, business goods, crops and cattle and income from investment property.

Personal items such as home, furniture, cars, food and clothing (unless used for business purposes) are not included.

When should I pay Zakat?

Zakat is payable as soon as the nisab (minimum amount of wealth) has been held for a lunar year. If the date of first becoming sahib-un-nisab (owner of wealth equal to or in excess of nisab) is known then use that as your Zakat date, if not a date may be chosen. Use the same date every year thereafter.

Some people choose to pay their zakat during Ramadan in recognition of this special time of year and because rewards for good deeds carried out during Ramadan are multiplied. However, it is our duty to pay zakat when it becomes due rather than delay payment and wait for Ramadan.

Can I spread Zakat payments throughout the year?

Yes, zakat can be paid monthly by setting up a regular monthly payment such as a direct debit. Penny Appeal can help you to do this with our zakat-eligible sponsorship programmes, suitable for a range of zakat levels.

These sponsorships can change lives and help build futures. Find out more about zakat-eligible sponsorship

What if I miss a Zakat payment?

If Zakat has not been paid in previous years, whether through negligence or ignorance or error, then an honest attempt must be made to calculate the payment owed. This must then be paid as a matter of urgency.

Can I Gift Aid my Zakat payment?

Yes! Gift Aid is a valuable tax concession that does not cost donors a penny. It enhances the value of donations made to registered charities by 25% and can be made by all UK tax payers.

It is simple to allow us to claim Gift Aid – just tick the box on the web page or form when you make a donation.

Can I pay my zakat in advance?

Zakat can be spread throughout the year, for example by setting up a monthly direct debit. However, the total amount payable must be paid by the due date.

What are tola, bhori and vori?

Tola is a unit of weight used in the Asian Subcontinent that is equal to the weight of a silver rupee. It is also known as bhori or vori. One tola is equal to 11.66 grams. Therefore, 87.48 grams of gold is equivalent to 7.5 tola.