Zakah or alms-giving is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality. Zakah consists of spending 2.5% of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy,like debtors or travelers. A Muslim may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), rather than to achieve additional divine reward.
There are five principles that should be followed when giving the Zakah.
- The giver must declare to God his intention to give the Zakah.
- The Zakah must be paid on the day that it is due.
- After the offering, the payer must not exaggerate on spending his money more than usual means.
- Payment must be in kind. This means if one is wealthy then he or she needs to pay 2.5% of their income. If a person does not have much money, then they should compensate for it in different ways, such as good deeds and good behavior toward others.
- The Zakah must be distributed in the community from which it was taken.