By: Maryam Hedayat
Allah has created human beings with different colors, attitudes and levels of knowledge, so too their deeds and provision vary. He has made some of them rich and some poor, to test the rich as to whether they show gratitude, and to test the poor as to whether they are enduring.
Since the believers are a brotherhood, and brotherhood is based on compassion, kindness, love and mercy, Allah has enjoined upon the Muslims the institution of Zakah which is taken from the rich and given to the poor.
Zakah is one of the five basic pillars of Islam, which means to grow, to increase, and to spread. The literal meaning of the word Zakah is “purity”.
It is an obligation (Fard), prescribed by Allah on those Muslim men and women who possess enough means, to distribute a certain percentage of their annual savings or capital in goods or money among the poor and the needy. Zakah is assessed once a year on both capital and savings from income.