What Can 2.5% Do?

How much can Zakah help the poor people of the world? Let’s find out.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bill Gates. Most likely, you are currently using at least one of the products his company, Microsoft has produced. He is one of the richest men in the world, currently worth $58 billion. Now, just imagine if he gave away 2.5% of his money to the poor people of America. How many people could that help?

Time to do some quick math. And let’s assume the average American family can get by with $30000 per year. So, if 2.5% of $58 billion is $1.45 billion, how many families could be housed, fed, and educated for one year? That’s 48333 families! Not individuals.


Continuing with the above scenario, assuming each family consisted of 2 children and 2 adults. That brings to total number of people to 193333. That’s more people than the entire population of Orlando. This is amazing! One man could literally care for an entire city of poor people.

Zakah of 2.5% Could Probably Change The World

You can probably imagine how much good would come to the world if the wealthy gave part of their fortune to the poor. This generosity would improve national economies, reduce crime, and bring better opportunities for all.

And that’s the beauty of Zakah. From the example above, you can see that Zakah is more than just a tax. And it’s more than charity. Zakah is a tool that fosters social harmony and justice.

For the wealthy, Zakah purifies their wealth and brings humility and gratitude. For the poor, Zakah brings hope and satisfaction, and removes enmity for the rich.

Two Types of Zakah

There are two types of Zakah. The first type, the one most people are familiar with and the example used above, is called Zakat al Mal.

Zakat al Mal

Zakat al Mal is paid on accumulated wealth over a year. So it’s not based on earnings like income tax. Instead, the amount to be paid is based on whatever amount of wealth a person has in their possession. This would usually entail savings, gold and silver jewelry, stocks, produce, cash, livestock, etc.

Muslims then must pay 2.5% of this accumulated wealth as Zakaat. But not all Muslims are required to pay Zakah. Those people that fall below a certain wealth threshold, called Nisab, are excused.

Zakat al Fitr

The other type of Zakah is Zakat al Fitr. This must be paid by all Muslims with enough food for one day. The amount to be paid for Zakat al Fitr is much lower than Zakat al Mal. Zakat al Fitr is paid by the head of the household on behalf of all family members, both young and old. The amount for Zakat al Fitr varies, but in the United States it usually ranges between $5 to $8 per person.

There is profound wisdom in these two types of mandatory charity. Zakat al Mal is paid by the wealthy to the poor and needy. But Zakat al Fitr as paid by all, both rich and poor. Because of this, even the poor earn reward for giving in charity, and they also have a chance to help those who are even more in need.

Who Receives The Zakah?

Zakah cannot be paid to just any charitable cause. The recipients of Zakah are made clear in both the Quran and the statements of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him.

Zakah can be given to people in the following categories:

  • The Poor – Those who are definitely poor and ask for help
  • The Needy – Those who are poor, but do not ask for help
  • Those employed to administer the Zakah
  • Newly converted Muslims
  • Slaves
  • Those in debt
  • Wayfarers – Travelers who are cut off from their own resources
  • Those in the path of Allah – Muslims who are fighting or teaching for Allah

Of course, it is permissible to give charity to causes or organizations beyond those listed above. Muslims are encouraged to give voluntary charity, or sadaqah, whenever they can. But only those who fit into the above categories can actually receive the yearly Zakah payments.

Zakah is an Obligation on All Muslims

Finally, I must make it clear that Zakah is an obligation. Those who can pay the Zakah, and deliberately neglect it, are committing a major sin and may fall out of Islam.

In fact, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was the first Caliph of the Muslim world after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). However, some of the tribes that were originally aligned with the Muslims refused to pay the Zakah when Abu Bakr became the leader. Abu Bakr gathered his army and went to war with these tribes until they submitted and resumed paying Zakah.

This story should make it clear how important the Zakah is in Islam. How about calculating how much Zakah would have to give to the poor and needy?

Also Read This Related Article

The 5 Pillars of Islam

There are five pillars of Islam that our faith is based upon. Each pillar helps to bring the Muslim closer to Allah and strengthens the community.

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35 Responses to Zakah

    • In general, Zakaah is only for Muslims. There are some opinions based on the following verse of the Quran, that zakaah can be given to certain non-Muslims:

      “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” Chapter 9 verse 60.

      “Bringing hearts together” means those non-Muslims who may be willing to accept Islam and giving them money or help may bring them even closer.

      However, some scholars say even this category is null and void as this was only intended for non-Muslim leaders, not the average person.

      Even if we accept the most strict view that no Zakaah can be given to non-Muslims in any situation, it still permissible to give them Sadaqah (general charity).

      And Allah knows best.

  1. Assalamu family and i need zakat 7608801844.Shukran.i look forward to hear from my good brothers and sisters in islam.
    May Allah bless us all!

  2. I From a Poor Family,It is very Tough to maintain my study(BBA)Without anybodies help..Because when i am child my father was died & my mother is very sick.i am the only one person in my family..there is nobody to give me this condition i am needy for help..Does there anybody to give me help for my future success..

  3. assalamualaikum how are you sir i want help from you i found your email i dont want to expand i will tell in simple way i am need of money as i am the whole responsible person for my family my mother is not well she had an operation and i have loans on my head i have done sister marriage also my father left us after my mom operation he has done second marriage we re not getting any money from him i am working but not earning inshallah working hard too but problems are coming and coming i never asked first time doing for my family please help me in the name of allah myself mohd abdul baseer if you want details you can call me +919700072307 allah knows what i am facing i dont want to say anything more ok bye sir allahafiz jaza-e-khair

  4. A/W, Can you tell me whether Zakat is mandatory if anyone does not have nay income for not having any job but have sufficient amount of gold??? Under this circumstances what one should do?? If it is really mandatory to give Zakat then is it possible to give the due amount in the future when one will have stable income!!!

  5. assalam alakum requesting letter please help us i am 50 yerars old teacher who is running a madarsa in village masjid we have no financial support from any where thats why the madarsa and the students are not functioning properly so please provide some help for upliftment of madarsa as soon as posibble its my humble request to all over the world people who have seen my letter please provide some financial support for my islamic madarsa help us for the sake of almighty allah hoping to hear from you soon .
    thanking you
    by fatima siddique virasatul-uloom (INDIA)

  6. am ali from kenya but i realy live in bad condition i wuold like any muslim willing to help poor muslim live a good life plz help me my mobile no are +254722826235

  7. AsSalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatahu.
    I An Indian. I M looking for some one who can help me by ZAKAT.
    I have never asked for anyone before for help.
    I had a great loss in my businesses and I have a 6 yrs son suffering from brain problem. His more then 50% brain is damaged and is under treatment.
    The expenses are unbearable for me.
    I need a little support from my brothers to just stand on my feats again.
    your smallest help can make a big difference to me.
    May ALLAH bless you all

  8. Dear Admin,

    It is highly request to you that i need zakat for my family. My father has been 68 yrs old. I have 5 young sisters and mother in my home. I am only one person to make them grow. I have no any storng income resource. I need your zakat for get them grow. My home address is House no 89/ behind old dsp office nearl.m.sardar school lala sardar nagar deopur dhule pin code no. 424002. My ac details is.
    Riyaz a Shaikh
    Bank of maharashtra
    Ac no.60127548707
    My WhatsApp no. +919028775817
    It is highly request to you allah bless you

  9. So what happened to Zakah when it comes to Saudi Arabia rich people and Syrian refugees? I also wonder if they read this blog and try to help the people here who asked for help. Oh wait a minute nope they are too busy burning money and cohorting with sinners.

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