We have compiled the following information from zakat.org, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and Islamic Relief USA to answer some common questions about zakat.
Who pays Zakat al-Fitr?
Before the Eid al-Fitr prayer at the end of Ramadan, every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of their needs must pay zakat al-Fitr (fitrana). The head of household can also pay zakat al-Fitr for their dependents. The minimum amount due is the equivalent of about 2 kg of wheat flour, rice or other staple foodstuff, per member of the household, including dependents, even if they do not live in the same house. Approximately £5/US$7 per head is a safe estimated amount. [Source: Islamic Relief Worldwide]
Who pays Zakat al-Mal?
Zakat, or zakat al-mal, means “obligatory alms” or “alms upon wealth.” It stands as the third pillar of Islam, coming immediately after salat, the daily ritual prayer. Every Muslim possessing the designated minimal amount of wealth, nisab, for the full cycle of a lunar year must, as a matter of worship, satisfy the duty of paying zakat. Zakat.org offers an online Zakat Calculator to help Muslims determine if they are required to pay zakat al-mal, and if so, how much. [Source: Zakat.org]
Who pays Fidyah—and how much is it?
Fidyah is an amount paid by Muslims who miss days of fasting in Ramadan. It is based on a verse of the Qur’an that says:
“Fast for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number should be made up from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have a choice to either fast or feed a poor person for every day missed. But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you knew.”(Surah al-Baqarah 2:184)
The Fiqh Council of North America has established the current fidyah rate as $10 per day or $300 for the month of Ramadan (U.S. dollars). [Source: Islamic Relief USA]
Who is eligible to receive Zakat?
The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent; the needy (al-masâkîn), meaning someone who is in difficulty; Zakat administrators; those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community; those in bondage (slaves and captives); the debt-ridden; in the cause of God; the wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or traveling with few resources.
[Source: “The Eight Kinds of People Who Receive Zakat” – Zakat.org]