Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. It is sometimes translated as alms or poor-due. This pillar is an Islamic believes of money, or property purifications, growth, and blessing. Zakat is the most fundamental and vital system in an Islamic order. Its nature and function can be better visualized in the total perspective of Islamic system of life. Hence, it becomes imperative to interpret the basic theories of Islam and to highlight zakat as basic institution of social order. Zakat is an
important system of Islamic ideology which plays an active role in spiritual and social life of Muslim societies. Thus, the payment of zakat is an important source of the stability in a society.
zakat is of two types, obligatory and recommended. obligatory zakat is again of two types. the zakat of wealth and the zakat of body (fitra). the zakat of wealth is for nine items: four food grains (wheat,barley, dates, and dried grapes); three quadrupeds,( sheep or goats, cows and camels) and two types of coins, (gold and silver). the zakat of food grains becomes obligatory when wheat,dates or resins reaches approximately 847 kilograms. hence, zakat is also payable on
one-tenth of cultivated farm produce. zakat is recommended on money collected by person to use in business, mare,hidden or buried treasures, income from lease hold property like house, shop or orchard.
Zakat is obligatory on all Muslim men and women who are sahib-e-nisab i.e. possesses the amount ones net worth must exceed for the Muslim owner to be obligated to give alms each year prescribed from capital or savings like farm produce, cattle, business, currencies and precious metals such as gold and silver. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. The Quran talks about zakat in more than thirty different verses, mainly in the medina suras. Zakat is a way to
redistribute wealth by Muslims as it was a believer of Islamic purification, growth, and blessing. And my mercy embraces all things; therefore, I shall ordain it for those (in particular) who fear Allah and pay Zakaat, and those who believe our revelations. (Al-Araaf: 156)
The Quran has mentioned in detail, the people who are eligible to receive zakat: The sadaaqah are only for the poor, the needy, those who collect them, those whose heart are to be reconciled,
to free the captives and the debtors for the cause of Allah, and for the travellers, a duty imposed by Allah, Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. However, the aforementioned are people eligible for zakat, which was called sadaaqah.
Sadaaqah in Islam is a voluntary act of giving out wealth to the poor and needy which is also a way of property purification, but can be given out at any period of the year. Sadaaqah must not be of a certain quantity before it is being given out. However, no sadaaqah is valid without freedom from want. It was said by Allah in the hoy Quran, (al-baqarah: 219), people ask of what they should spend as sadaaqah, tell them what they can spare. Thus, from the holy book, sadaaqah should be given out in excess of your requirements.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) has given guidance as to how zakat and sadaaqah should be given, and its importance. One of the Hadith was narrated by Dhimam Ibn Thalabah may the blessing of Allah be with him is quite famous, and has been mentioned in different channels in Bukhari, Muslim and many other authentic collections of Ahadith. It relates that Dhimam asked
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam about the fundamental obligatory requirements of Islam, which he later explained to him in detail. Among these, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam mentioned Zakat, whereupon Dhimam asked, “Is there anything else due from me, apart from Zakat?” Rasulullah Sallallaho Alaihe wasallam replied, “No, but you can spend more as Nafl Sad
aqah if you like.
In another Hadith, the saying of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has Been repeated that some people give all their belongings as Sadaqah and then sit back expecting other peoples generosity; the best Sadaqah is when the feeling of want does not arise afterwards Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, “If I possessed gold to the extent of mount Uhud, I would not like to keep any of it with me for more than three days, except what I put aside for paying a debt”
Therefore, it can be deduced from the above hadith, that zakat is not mandatory on debtors and
sadaaqah should not be forced on you if what you have is not more than enough. Hence, payment of debt is more important than sadaaqah.
There are few differences between zakat and sadaaqah; Zakat and sadaaqah are forms of charity by Muslims, though with differences.
i. Zakat means growth, purification, and blessing in Arabic, and sadaaqah means a sign of sincerity of faith.
ii. Zakat is obligatory, whereas sadaaqah is voluntary
iii. Zakat is not given to rich people; on the contrary, sadaaqah can be given out irrespective of financial backgrounds.
iv. If a person owes zakat, his heir would pay it, from his wealth, and no such obligation with regards to sadaaqah. However, zakat are given to eligible people, as mentioned in the holy Quran. Hence, it is obligatory to give out zakat annually from businesses, gold, currencies, livestock, and other valuables. Whereas sadaaqah can be given out at any period, without necessarily been a yearly activity.
Despite these differences, the aim of zakat and sadaaqah is to ease poverty and itsimplication in Muslim world.
There are several importance of zakat and sadaaqah which include;
1. Wealth circulation and poverty alleviation:
Zakat keeps wealth in circulation, thus it benefits the whole society. The holy prophet
(S.A.W) advised his companion Muaaz bin jabal, while he was proceeding to Yemen to teach
them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay zakat from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor. Thus, zakat helps a lot, in decreasing poverty. If proper zakat system is established, poverty will vanish away from Africa, where there
exist discouraging populations of poor people, especially in the northern part of Nigeria where Muslims are dominants. Hence, poverty rate is supposed to be at the minimal all over the country, if zakat and sadaaqah are given as being ordained by Allah.
Zakat purifies heart from selfishness for those who give out zakat, and the heart of those who receives,from the feelings of detestation against the wealthy people. Thus, it creates affection and eradicates egocentricity amongst Muslims and neighbors whose are to be reconciled.
3. Discouraging beggary: If zakat are being given from among the affluent, the poor wontsource an only solution to survival as beggary. Nowadays, the rampancy of begging in
the northern part of Nigeria, as compared to other part of the country is gloomy. Thus, Islam on one hand ordered the rich to care about the poor and on the other hand, prohibited the poor and the needy from stretching hands before others. Narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A); the holy prophet said;
Whoever begs from people so as to accumulate more riches, he is asking for a live coal from hell, so let him ask for a lot or little.
4. Illiteracy stamp-out: – poor families whose feeding is not guaranteed have less thought of educating their children, as there are no total free educations in Nigeria. However, leads to high crime in less literate environment. If zakat is properly given, it functions as a social security, and alleviates high illiteracy in Nigeria, and Africa at large.
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individual or business (corporations or other legal entities). Income tax is chargeable on all income arising in the state to individuals, partnerships, and unincorporated bodies, with the most common form of income tax being pay as you earn.
Income tax systems often have deductions available, that lessen the total tax liability by
reducing total taxable income. They may allow losses from one type of income to be counted against another. For example, a loss on the stock market may be deducted against taxes paid on wages. However, there is an economic effect of an income tax system, as it discourage saving and investing.
Differences between zakat and income tax;
Some of the differences between zakat and income tax are as follows;
a) Zakat is a means of salvation, for the person who pays it, and also has religious sanctity which tax is not.
b) Tax is collected from all citizens of a country, which the government uses for overall development of the country, thus zakat is only imposed on Muslims.
c) Zakat is a permanent system, which is calculated at 2.5 percent of the annual income of a person or a family. Hence, governments have certain rules and regulations for fixing taxes which can change from time to time.
d) Zakat is given, out of the surplus wealth or earnings with certain conditions as to who receives it. Whereas, tax does not consider the excess nature of the tax payer.
e) Tax payers expect to avail some specific facilities from government against the payment, hence, zakat payers does not expect to get any type of specific facility or material gain.
From the aforementioned, it can be deduced that, the differences between zakat and income tax are of greater diversity, as zakat creates universal feelings of brotherhood among Muslims, while income tax create native feelings of distinction.
In conclusion,zakat creates a collective social security scheme of mutual sympathy, and the resources can be further utilized for social development, and also inculcates the spirit of goodwill, cooperation, and brotherhood in upholding social solidarity in the society. Hence, sadaaqah plays an important role in life of Muslims to reduce mendicants. Since portion of income tax that is spent on project for the poor is not pronounced,income taxes cannot be considered as part of zakat.
1) AL-QURAN 9:103
2) AL-QURAN 22:41
4) WWW.REALISLAM.COM/ZAKAT IN DETAIL
5) WILKIPEDIA/ INCOME TAX
6) www. islamic-law.com/zakat.htm
7) peter harris (2006). income tax in common law:from the origins to 1820, volume