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Zakah (Charity)



The word zakah means both "purification" and "growth." An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God and that wealth is therefore held by human beings as a trust. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for the poor and needy. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.


Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakah individually. This involves the annual payment of 2.5% of their wealth to specified categories in society, when ones annual wealth exceeds a minimum level; this excludes items such as primary residence, car and professional tools.


The giving of 2.5 % of ones wealth as zakah is a financial obligation upon Muslims. It is the minimum required. Anyone wishing to donate outside of this amount is encouraged to do so.


Sadaqah is the Arabic term for voluntary charity. The Prophet said, "Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is an act of charity."


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms-all of these are charity prescribed for you."

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