The obligation of Zakat in Islam

Zakat is one of the obligatory acts in Islam and is one of its pillars, and it is the most important after the declaration of faith and prayer.

The obligation of Zakat in Islam.

Zakat is one of the obligatory acts in Islam and is one of its pillars. And it is the most important after the declaration of faith and prayer. Its obligation is evidenced by the Book of Allah. And the Sunnah of His Messenger [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] as well as the consensus of Muslims. Whoever denies its obligation is considered an apostate and is given the opportunity to repent. If they do not repent, they are to be executed. Whoever withholds or diminishes it is one of the wrongdoers who deserves the punishment of Allah.

Allah said about the obligation of Zakat in islam:

}ولا يحسبن الذين يبخلون بما ءاتاهم الله من فضله هو خيراً لهم بل هو شر لهم سيطوقون ما بخلوا به يوم القيامة ولله ميراث السموات والأرض والله بما تعملون خبير}

[ آل عمران: 180 ].

The meaning: “And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.” [Al-Imran: 180].

the obligation of Zakat in Islam in Sahih Bukhari.

It is narrated from Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him. That the Messenger of Allah[salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] said: “Whoever is given wealth by Allah and does not pay its zakat, his wealth will appear on the Day of Resurrection as a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’ ” The word “bald-headed” refers to the person who doesn’t pay zakat and “poisonous” refers to the evil consequences of not fulfilling this obligation.

{ والذين يكنزون الذهب والفضة ولا ينفقونها في سبيل الله فبشرهم بعذاب أليم (34) يوم يحمى عليها في نار جهنم فتكوى بها جباههم وجنوبهم وظهورهم هذا ما كنزتم لأنفسكم فذوقوا ما كنتم تكنزون }

[ التوبة : 34، 35] .

The meaning: “Those who hoard up gold and silver. And spend them not in the way of Allah, give them tidings of a painful punishment. On the Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell. And their foreheads and their sides and their backs will be branded with it, [they will be told], “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.”

[At-Tawbah: 34-35].

the obligation of Zakat in Islam in Sahih Muslim.

It is narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him). That the Prophet [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] said:”Whoever possesses gold or silver and does not pay what is due on them, then on the Day of Judgment, plates of fire will be heated for him. His sides, forehead, and back will be branded with them. Whenever they cool down they will be heated up again. This will continue for a day that will be fifty thousand years long. Until judgment is passed among the servants of Allah. Then he will see his way, either to Paradise or to Hellfire.”

The religious benefits of the obligation of Zakat in Islam.

1- It is a fulfillment of one of the pillars of Islam.Which is essential for the happiness of a servant in both this world and the hereafter.

2- It brings the servant closer to their Lord and increases their faith, just as all acts of obedience do.

3- The great reward that comes from performing Zakat, as Allah said about the obligation of Zakat in islam . { يمحق الله الربا ويربي الصدقات } [ سورة البقرة : 276 ]”Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities.” [Al-Bakara:276] and { وما ءاتيتم من ربا ليربوا في أموال الناس فلا يربوا عند الله وما ءاتيتم من زكاة تريدون وجه الله فأولئك هم المضعفون } [ الروم :39 ] “Whatever you give for interest to increase within the wealth of people will not increase with Allah. But what you give in Zakat, seeking the face of Allah – those are the ones who will get a reward multiplied.” [Al-Rom:39].

The Prophet Muhammad [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] also said: “Whoever gives charity equivalent to a date from pure earnings (i.e. halal source), for Allah accepts only the pure things, Allah will take it with His right hand and will cause it to grow for its owner just as a baby camel grows, until it becomes like a mountain.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

4- It erases sins, as the Prophet Muhammad [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] said, “Charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” Here, charity refers to both Zakat and voluntary donations. 

The moral benefits of the obligation of Zakat in Islam.

1- It brings the giver of Zakat closer to the noble and generous people who exhibit kindness and generosity.

2- Zakat requires the giver to possess mercy and compassion towards. Their impoverished brothers and sisters. And those who show mercy will receive mercy from Allah.

3- Giving of one’s wealth and physical effort to Muslims expands the chest, eases the soul. And causes a person to be loved based on the benefit they provide to their brothers and sisters.

4- Zakat purifies the character of the giver from miserliness. And stinginess, as Allah says about the obligation of Zakat in islam: [ التوبة : 103 ] { خذ من أموالهم صدقة تطهرهم وتزكيهم بها }”Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase.”

The social benefits of The obligation of Zakat in Islam.

1- It provides assistance to the poor who constitute the majority in many countries.

2- It strengthens and elevates the status of Muslims, and therefore one of the purposes of Zakat is Jihad in the cause of Allah, as we will mention, God willing.

3- It eliminates the hatred and grudges that may exist in the hearts of the poor and needy. If the poor see that the rich enjoy their wealth without sharing it, even a little. They may develop animosity and resentment towards them for not fulfilling their rights or meeting their needs. However, when the rich give them some of their wealth every year. These negative feelings disappear, and love and harmony prevail.

4- It increases wealth and its blessings, as mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] “Charity does not decrease wealth.” Meaning, if you give charity. Your wealth will not decrease in quantity, but it will increase in blessings and future benefits. Allah will replace it and bless your wealth.

5- It expands and circulates wealth. When money is spent on charity, it spreads and benefits many people, unlike when it is concentrated among the wealthy, where the poor do not benefit from it.

All these benefits of Zakat indicate that Zakat is a necessary practice to improve both the individual and the society. Glory be to Allah, the All-Knowing, the Wise.

Obligation and Recipients of Zakat in Islam.

Zakat is obligatory on specific assets, such as gold and silver, provided that they reach the threshold, which is 11 Saudi Arabian pounds of gold and three-quarters of a pound of silver, or their equivalent in cash. The due Zakat on them is one-quarter of one-tenth (i.e. 2.5%). There is no difference whether the gold and silver are in the form of coins, bars or ornaments. Therefore, Zakat is obligatory on women’s gold and silver jewelry if they reach the threshold, whether they are worn or lent, due to the general evidence indicating the obligation of Zakat on gold and silver without specifying. Also, there are specific hadiths that indicate the obligation of Zakat on jewelry even if it is worn.

Other assets on which Zakat is due include commercial assets, which are all assets prepared for trading, such as real estate, vehicles, livestock, fabrics, and other types of wealth. The due Zakat on them is one-quarter of one-tenth (i.e. 2.5%), to be paid at the beginning of the lunar year on what is equal to the value of the assets, and one-quarter of one-tenth of that value is to be given as Zakat. Whether the assets have decreased, increased, or remained the same as what was initially invested, the Zakat should still be paid. However, there is no Zakat on assets that are kept for personal use or rented out, such as real estate, vehicles, equipment, etc. This is based on the saying of the Prophet [salla Allahu alaihi wasallam] “There is no Zakat on a Muslim’s servant or horse.”

The recipients of Zakat:

Are the entities to which Zakat is distributed. Allah said about the obligation of Zakat in islam:

{ إنما الصدقات للفقراء والمساكين والعاملين عليها والمؤلفة قلوبهم وفي الرقاب والغارمين وفي سبيل الله وابن السبيل فريضة من الله والله عليــــــم حكيم } [ التوبة : 60 ]

the meaning: “Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:60)

Categories for Zakat Distribution: Who is Eligible to Receive Zakat?

The obligation of Zakat in Islam:These are eight categories:


The poor, who do not have enough to cover their needs, even less than half. If someone cannot find enough to cover their own and their family’s expenses for six months. Then they are considered poor and are given enough for themselves and their family for a year.


Those in need, who have more than half of their needs met but cannot cover their expenses for a full year. If someone does not have money but has other resources, such as a craft, salary, or means of exploitation that can cover their needs, then they are not eligible for Zakat, as stated by the Prophet Muhammad: “There is no share in it for the rich or for the strong, who can find means of earning.”


Those employed to collect and distribute Zakat on behalf of the state, and to preserve it, etc. They are paid Zakat according to their work, even if they are wealthy.


Those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam. Such as leaders of tribes who are not strong in their faith. They are given Zakat to strengthen their faith, so they become good role models and advocates of Islam. If someone is weak in their faith but not a tribal leader and is an ordinary person, should they be given Zakat to strengthen their faith? Some scholars argue that they should, as the benefit to religion is greater than the benefit to the individual.


Slaves, whose purchase and emancipation is included in Zakat, as well as aiding secretaries and freeing Muslim captives.


Those in debt who cannot pay their debts, whether the debtors are parents or children. If they have the means to cover their own and their family’s needs but cannot repay their debt, they are given Zakat to repay their debt, and it is not permissible to relieve them of their debt from Zakat.

Scholars differ on whether a debtor should be considered as a parent or a child. Should the debtor be given from the Zakat to pay off their debt? The correct view is that it is permissible. The person giving Zakat can give it directly to the creditor, even if the debtor does not know about it, if the giver knows that the debtor cannot repay the debt.


Those who are fighting for the sake of Allah are also entitled to receive Zakat. They should be given enough from the Zakat to support their struggle, and the Zakat can also be used to purchase tools for the struggle in the way of Allah.

Another way to spend the Zakat is on Islamic education. The one seeking Islamic knowledge should be given what they need to pursue their studies from books and other resources, except if they have enough money to pursue their studies.


The traveler who is stranded and in need is also eligible to receive Zakat to help them return to their homeland.

These are the people who are entitled to receive Zakat, as mentioned by Allah in His book. It is a commandment from Allah, based on knowledge and wisdom.

It is not permissible to spend Zakat on things other than those mentioned, such as building mosques and repairing roads. Allah has specified who deserves Zakat. And the specification indicates that the ruling applies only to those who are mentioned.

Read also

The Wisdom Behind Zakat in Building a Righteous and Integrated Community.

If we reflect on these categories, we can see that some of them are in need of Zakat for themselves. While others are needed by Muslims in general. This highlights the wisdom behind Zakat, which is to build a righteous and integrated community as much as possible. Islam does not neglect money or the benefits that can be derived from it. It does not leave the greedy and miserly free to indulge in their desires. Rather, it is the greatest guide for good and a benefactor of nations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *