Those who give to charity night and day, secretly and publicly, receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[Qu'ran, Surah Al-Baqarah 2:274]
Charitable giving is highly commended in Islam as it is in most global traditions. It is in this act of donating that one is elevated to a higher spiritual plain and feels the benefits of serving humanity.
Ramadan is the ideal time to give charity, whatever form of giving it is.
Zakah is the act of charitable giving, which translates as "alms giving" and is obligatory upon every adult Muslim of sound mind. The individual must own a specific amount of wealth. This is referred to as Nisaab.
There are two measures to determine Nisaab - gold or silver.
- Gold: The Nisaab by the gold standard is 3 ounces of gold (87.48 grammes) or its cash equivalent. The price will vary with the current market value of gold.
For example, on 26 June 2013, it was approximately £801.55 or US $1,228.85 (24 carat gold) per ounce. So the monetary value of the Nisaab was £2,404.65 or $3,686.55.
- Silver: The Nisaab by the silver standard is 21 ounces of silver (612.36 grammes) or its equivalent in cash.
On 26 June, 2013, it was approximately £12.23 or US $18.68. So the monetary value of the Nisaab was £256.83 or $392.28
PLEASE NOTE: The figures given above for the monetary value of the Nisaab based on gold and silver on 26 June 2013 are only examples and valid for that day. Please contact your local mosque, Imam or religious authority for up-to-date information and guidance on how to calculate your nisaab. Alternatively, use our Zakah calculator which will show the Nisaab figure and how much Zakah you have to pay.
2.5% of the Nisaab is given as Zakah. You should record the Islamic date on which you first became the owner of Nisaab - if, on the same date the following lunar year, you are still the owner of Nisaab, you will be obliged to pay Zakah. Zakah can only be paid to specific beneficiaries and projects.
Sadaqah is considered to be a voluntary donation and can be delivered in various different ways. No specific categories of people have been mentioned in the Qur'an as beneficiaries of Sadaqah and it is for the general physical and personal development of all.
"If a human dies, then his good deeds stop except for three things:
- a Sadaqah Jariah (continuous charity),
- a beneficial knowledge,
- or a righteous child who prays for him."
Sadaqah Jariah is a form of Sadaqah, which is on-going. Generally if the charity you give is likely to have long term impact i.e. sponsoring an orphan, it may fall into this category. The building of wells, mosques and schools is also regarded as Sadaqah Jariah.
Lillah, meaning 'for Allah', comprises any form of charity given for the sake of Allah on a purely voluntary basis. Zakah can only be spent directly on the poor and not on such projects as construction whereas Lillah can be utilised in constructing mosques, digging wells and other projects. Zakah money cannot be used for such projects.
Fitrana is a small amount of charity given before the Eid al-Fitr prayer. The current monetary rate for Fitrana is £5. It can be given either directly before the prayer or a few days in advance. Every Muslim is obliged, if they have the means, to pay this - payment should be made by responsible adults of sound mind on behalf of children or others in their care that are unable to make the payment themselves.
Fidyah is paid by those who are unable to fast owing to illness, old age or infirmity. Fidyah consists of paying for 2 meals for a person per day of fasting missed. If you are obliged to pay Fidyah the current rate is:
- £5 per day
- For 30 fasts of Ramadan the amount is £150
If you deliberately miss a fast in Ramadan or break a fast without a legitimate reason, then you are obliged to make up for this by way of Kaffarah, to fast for 60 continuous days per fast missed or broken.
If due to illness, old age or infirmity you are unable to fast for 60 consecutive days, then you may give a monetary amount as Kaffarah. For each fast missed or broken, you are obliged to pay for 2 meals for 60 people.
Based on £5 as the price of a meal, Kaffarah for one fast missed or broken is £300.