In a world of extreme wealth and poverty, reports suggest that a meagre 2% of Elon Musk’s $200 Billion net worth, holds the potential to eradicate 42 million people from world hunger. In this video, we explore who exactly are the ‘billionaire elite’, and more importantly, how zakat plays a vital role in purifying one’s wealth.

What is Zakat ? 

To put it simply, Zakat is the compulsory almsgiving Muslims give, an amount which is taken from their surplus wealth. Zakat is upheld as one of the 5 pillars of Islam, alongside ones decleration of faith, prayer (salat), fasting (sawm) and pilgrimage (hajj). Generally speaking, this is calculated at 2.5% of one’s savings they have held onto for longer than one year. 

Why is Zakat important ? 

Islam has placed a significant importance on the relivement of poverty, adherents are reminded of this as per references in the Quran ( You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity Zakat, and bow down with those who bow down.) (2:43). The process of zakat is a mutual transaction, one whereby adherents seek to uplift the impoverished, improving the social and economic well being of the community, and one whereby a purification takes part on the giver. The connection between Muslims is one that should only be strengthened during such difficult times; in a world plagued by social, political and economic ills.

The different types of Zakat  

Zakat is a means to foster a sense of bondage and hence, encompassing within its generosity it focuses on eight types of people who are eligible for it. Firstly, zakat is given to the poor, (al-fuqara) and the needy (al-masakeen). Given the unfortunate events that take place in the modern world which plague them with disease, famine and of course financial hardship, we are no short of when it comes to where to distribute one’s zakat. Zakat is thirdly given to administrators who can often make this task simple, of which they collect the funds and distribute them appropriately. As Islam holds high regards for ones neigbours, zakat can also be given to those who have just entered the fold of Islam. Zakat can too, be given to those in debt and espically to those in bondage, for example slavery, something that still is a common practice. Zakat can also be distributed to those who strive in cause of God, not for those who strive for self-desire. Finally, Zakat can be given to those travelling, wayfarers, some of those who are stranded or those who hold a lack of provisions for their travel. In its purest form, zakat places the spirt and dive attribute of adherents above the acquisition of material possessions. A mentioned in  Al-Tawbah: 103, “Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower”.  

What’s the difference between Zakat and Charity (Sadaqah)? 

As discussed, zakat is the compulsory giving of charity from adherents of the Muslim faith, however, this does not restric Muslims giving thier almsgiving annualy. Sadaqah is the voluntary charitable offering that Muslims can give at any given time with any amount. At its root, sadaqah implies the giving of one’s goods and funds for the sake of Allah. In turn, this blessing (baraka) will favour those in the after life, as the Prophet, of whom we greet peace stated “Sadaqah is a proof”. It is for this very reason that Islam holds chairty in high regards for the continous growth of ones faith and betterment of ones neighbours.