Ramadan Day 4 – The Power of Charity and Compassion -Zakat

Syed Bukhari

The Power of Charity and Compassion -Zakat

As the fourth day of Ramadan unfolds, the Muslim world is reminded of the profound importance of charity and compassion – virtues that lie at the very heart of the Islamic faith. During this sacred month, the act of giving takes on a deeper significance, transcending mere material offerings and touching upon the essence of what it means to be a compassionate and caring human being.

The Tradition of Zakat

One of the pillars of Islam, Zakat, or obligatory charity, is a cornerstone of the month of Ramadan. This ancient practice is rooted in the belief that wealth is a blessing from the Divine, and it is the responsibility of those who have been granted abundance to share their resources with those in need. During Ramadan, Muslims around the world take the opportunity to fulfill this obligation, contributing a portion of their wealth to support the less fortunate within their communities and beyond.

The Power of Charity and Compassion - Zakat

The Essence of Compassion

However, the spirit of charity during Ramadan extends far beyond the material realm. It is a call to cultivate compassion – a virtue that is so deeply ingrained in the teachings of Islam. As believers abstain from physical nourishment throughout the day, they are encouraged to nourish their souls with acts of kindness, empathy, and understanding towards others.

The Lessons of the Prophets

The prophets of Islam, from the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the revered messengers who came before him, serve as shining examples of compassion and generosity. Their lives are replete with stories of selfless acts, where they not only shared their material possessions but also their time, wisdom, and love with those around them.

Connecting with the Underprivileged

On the fourth day of Ramadan, believers are urged to look beyond their own circumstances and connect with the plight of the underprivileged. This connection is not merely an intellectual exercise but a profound emotional and spiritual journey that fosters a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by those less fortunate. Through this understanding, the faithful are inspired to take action, offering not only their material support but also their compassion and kindness.

The Joy of Giving

As the sun sets on the fourth day, Muslims around the world gather to break their fast, often in the company of loved ones and community members. It is during these moments that the true joy of giving is experienced, as families and individuals come together to share their blessings, both material and spiritual, with those in need. The act of charity becomes a collective endeavor, strengthening the bonds of community and reinforcing the values of compassion and generosity.

You should read this article if you missed RAMADAN DAY 3 – CULTIVATING PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

Who Should Give Zakat?

Zakat is a mandatory charitable contribution for Muslims who meet certain criteria:

  1. Free individuals are obligated, but not those in slavery or captivity.
  2. Zakat is a religious duty, similar to the five daily prayers, so it applies only to Muslims.
  3. Usually, you must be of sound mind to pay zakat, though some scholars believe even insane individuals are liable.
  4. Adults are required to pay, but not children. However, some scholars say guardians should pay zakat on a child’s behalf if the child has sufficient wealth.
  5. You must fully own and control the wealth you pay zakat on. If you’ve loaned out your wealth, you can’t pay zakat on it until it’s repaid.
  6. Your total wealth has to exceed a minimum threshold called the Nisab, enough to cover your essential living needs.
  7. You can’t be in debt. Deduct your debts from your total assets, and if what remains exceeds Nisab, you pay zakat on that amount.
  8. You must have possessed the wealth for one complete lunar year before zakat becomes due.

8 Recipients of Zakat

People Who Can Receive Zakat The Quran outlines eight categories of people who can receive zakat funds:

  1. The poor with insufficient wealth for their basic needs.
  2. The needy who face financial hardship despite having some resources.
  3. Workers administering and distributing the zakat funds.
  4. Those who have recently embraced or are inclined towards Islam.
  5. To free enslaved individuals or captives.
  6. Those burdened by debt they cannot repay.
  7. For activities benefiting the Muslim community like education.
  8. Travelers in need while away from home.

Do you give Zakat during Ramadan?

Zakat al-Fitr Rules A separate obligatory charity called Zakat al-Fitr is due at the end of Ramadan from every Muslim household member, regardless of age or wealth status.

Why does Zakat occur during Ramadan?

It’s believed that charity given during Ramadan has a spiritual reward seventy times greater than usual. So many Muslims prefer to pay their yearly zakat obligation during this holy month of blessings and good deeds.

What is Zakat in Ramadan facts?

Zakat literally means “purification” – it is a payment made by Muslims to support the poor and needy. While encouraged year-round, zakat is a central part of Ramadan rituals like fasting, prayer, and charity during this month-long holy celebration.

How much Zakat do I give during Ramadan?

The zakat amount due is 2.5% of one’s total accumulated wealth and savings beyond what is needed for essential expenses.

What are the conditions of Zakat?

Six main conditions determine if a Muslim must pay zakat on their wealth:

  1. Full ownership
  2. Potential for growth
  3. Wealth exceeds the minimum Nisab threshold
  4. Wealth is more than needed for basic expenses
  5. Being debt-free
  6. Holding the wealth for one lunar year

What are 3 types of Zakat?

  1. Zakat al-Fitr (paid at end of Ramadan)
  2. Zakat al-Mal (on accumulated wealth)
  3. Zakat on income

What are 3 reasons why Muslims give Zakat?

  1. Wealth is seen as belonging to God, so giving zakat makes society more equitable.
  2. Helping others in need is viewed as helping God.
  3. Giving zakat purifies the soul from greed and selfishness, as the giver is believed to receive manifold rewards in the afterlife.

Can a wife give Zakat to her husband?

Most scholars agree that a husband cannot pay zakat to his wife, parents, or dependent children. However, a wife can choose to give her zakat payment to her husband, though it’s not obligatory.

What are the rules for Zakat?

Muslims must inventory their total wealth annually. Once it reaches nisab (a minimum threshold equal to about 87 grams of gold or 612 grams of silver), they must pay 2.5% of that wealth as zakat.

Who is not eligible for Zakat?

To receive zakat funds, one must be poor or facing financial hardship. Simply being poor qualifies – not having enough wealth beyond basic needs to reach nisab. However, zakat cannot be given to your spouse, children, parents or grandparents.

What is the punishment of not paying Zakat?

The Prophet Muhammad warned that on Judgment Day, the unpaid zakat owed from one’s wealth will appear as “a bald-headed, poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes.”

Do you have to pay Zakat if you have debt?

The basic principle is that outstanding debts get deducted from your total wealth first. If the remaining amount still exceeds nisab, then zakat is due on that surplus. But if not, no zakat payment is required.

Conclusion

As the fourth day of Ramadan draws to a close, the Muslim world is reminded of the profound power of charity and compassion. Through the act of giving, believers not only fulfill their obligations but also nourish their souls and deepen their connection with the Divine. It is in these moments of selflessness and empathy that the true essence of Ramadan is revealed, guiding the faithful towards a path of spiritual growth, unity, and a deeper appreciation for the blessings that surround them.