Zakat (alms) is the name of what a believer returns out of his or her wealth to the neediest of Muslims for the sake of the Almighty Allah. It is called Zakat because the word Zakat is from Zakaa which means, to increase, purify and bless.
Who Should Give Zakat
The obligation of Zakat is mandatory on every Muslim who possesses the minimum Nisaab, whether the person is man, woman, young, old sane or insane. Because the proof of Zakat in Al-Qur'an and Sunnah is general and does not exclude young or insane. Allah (SWT) stated that: "Of their goods take alms so that thou mightiest purify and sanctify them..."Imam Ibn Hazim said that every Muslim young or old sane or insane needs to cleanse his or her wealth with Zakat because of generality of the evidence. Anas bin Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:"Trade with the money of the orphan, lest it is eaten up by Zakat." (At-Tabraani)
The point of reference in these reports is that the Messenger (saws) urged the trustee on the estate of people who due to age or other reasons cannot manage their own financial affairs, to invest it in a business that will yield a return and make it grow until they are in a position to do so themselves. For, if proper investment is not made with an ophan's inheritance, it will be depleted by charity, thus leaving the orphan with little or nothing.
The Lawgiver, Allah has prescribed the minimum amount that is obligatory for Zakat in different ranges of properties, and that minimum amount is known as nisaab. The reason for nisaab is to ensure that no one is forced to give Zakat out of what he or she does not have, and that no wealth goes without Zakat. Nisaab is also an insurance against the tyranny of the state to tax the poor and or the neediest as is the case in many countries. Nisaab is a reference point for the average Muslim who is not sure whether he possesses the minimum wealth on which Zakat is obligatory. The wealthy need not worry about the Nisaab. Zakat is obligatory on their entire wealth and must be paid out at the end of financial year that they set for their Zakat.
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