Zakat is an Islamic obligation that involves giving a portion of one’s wealth to help those in need. There are two main types of Zakat: Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr. While both are forms of charity, they have some significant differences. Many are confused regarding Zakat al mal vs Zakat al fitr; we will discuss them in this blog.
Zakat al-mal is an annual payment based on accumulated wealth. Zakat al-fitr is given during Ramadan to help those in need celebrate Eid. Both types of Zakat serve as an essential pillar of Islam, ensuring that wealth is shared among the less fortunate members of society.
Understanding the differences between Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr can help Muslims fulfill their religious obligations. And contribute to building a more just and compassionate society.
Zakat, which in Arabic means “purity, progress, blessings, and acclaim,”. It really refers to alms or money or food given to the needy. Zakat-al-mal, also known as Zakat is an obligation for every Muslim to share a certain part of their wealth with the ones in need. It applies to financial belongings such as currency, gold, silver, property, vehicles, etc.
Muslims pay Zakat as an act of salvation. Allah has ordered us to give zakat alongside our prayer –
“Then steadfastly continue to duly establish the Prayer, and give the Zakât-Charity (Sûrat Al-Mujâdilah, 58:13)”
This holy act helps to substantially balance the uneven financial distribution in society. An individual can pay Zakat at any time as per Islamic requirements
The literal meaning of Zakat al-Fitr is “purifying charity of breaking the fast.” To define Zakat al Fitr, also known as Sadaqat al-Fitr, is a charitable contribution that Muslims give at the end of Ramadan before eid ul fitr. That’s why it is also called eid al fitr zakat. It is an obligatory act of worship for all Muslims who have the financial means to do so. A hadith describes the concept of Zakat al-fitr,
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before the Eid prayer will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the prayer has given regular charity.” (Abu Dawud)
The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide assistance to the poor and needy during Ramadan. And to promote a sense of community and equality among Muslims. The amount of Zakat al-Fitr depends on the value of a specific amount of food, such as dates or grains. It is calculated per person in the household. It is usually paid a few days before the end of Ramadan and one should give it to the poor and needy before the Eid prayer.
Both Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr serve almost the same purpose. But they both have significant differences. Zakat al-mal is an Islamic tax on money. And Zakat al-fitr is a tax that the head of the household pays on behalf of the rest of the family. Let’s dive into some more differences between them –
Purification of wealth
Purification of breaking the fast
Obligatory charity on accumulated wealth
Obligatory charity on the end of Ramadan
2.5% of one’s wealth annually
2.5kg of food or its monetary value is given annually
Applicable to Muslims who have accumulated wealth above the nisab (minimum threshold) amount for a full lunar year
Applicable to every Muslim who has food in excess of their needs at the end of Ramadan
The poor and needy, debtors, and others listed in the Qur’an
The poor and needy, are typically distributed to local communities or charitable organizations
Any time during the year
During the month of Ramadan before Eid al-Fitr
Despite their differences, Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr have certain things in common. In Islam, Zakat al-mal and Zakat fitra eid are both required types of almsgiving. Helping those in need is the main goal of both Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr.
By giving the poor and needy access to basic essentials like food, clothing, and shelter, Zakat al-mal aims to assist them. On the other side, Zakat al-fitr aims to assist the impoverished and underprivileged in celebrating Eid al-Fitr.
The impoverished and underprivileged must get both Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr. Both Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr are ways to purify your possessions. While paying Zakat al-mal or Zakat al-fitr, you must make a particular intention. The purpose should be to satisfy the Zakat duty and to seek Allah’s favor.
Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr both admonish Muslims to be kind and aid the poor. Muslims fulfill their obligation to Allah and show compassion for one another by paying Zakat.
In Islam, Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr are two types of charity that everyone must give. Here are some of the social, religious, and economic beneficiaries of Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr:
Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr are ways to help those who are less fortunate. These charitable contributions can help reduce poverty. Also, they provide basic needs to the less privileged.
Building social harmony:
They promote a sense of social responsibility. Also, they encourage the wealthy to help those in need. This can help build a more harmonious society. Because people from all walks of life work together to address social challenges.
By obligating Muslims to give a part of their wealth to those in need, Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr promote generosity and altruism. This can help create a culture of giving. And motivate people to help others without expecting anything in return.
Fulfilling religious duty:
Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr are obligatory acts of worship in Islam. By fulfilling these obligations, Muslims prove their commitment to their faith. Also, help to show their gratitude to God for the blessings they have received.
In Islam, giving Zakat is a way to purify one’s wealth and rid it of any impurities or negative influences. This can help individuals achieve a greater sense of spiritual purity and become closer to God.
Stimulating the economy:
Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr can help stimulate economic growth by providing financial support to those in need. This can help create new opportunities and markets, as well as increase overall economic activity.
Reducing income inequality:
By redistributing wealth from the wealthy to the less privileged, Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr can help reduce income inequality. This can promote greater economic and social stability by ensuring that all members of society have access to basic needs and opportunities.
Overall, Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr have numerous social, religious, and economic benefits. These charitable contributions promote generosity, social responsibility, and spiritual purity, while also helping to reduce poverty and promote economic growth and stability.
There are many ways to donate Zakat al-mal and Zakat al-fitr. You can donate them directly to the needy. Or, donate to international organizations like United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR).
Donating Zakat to UMR can have a greater impact because we work in areas where the need is the greatest. We work in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world, providing essential services like healthcare, education, and disaster relief. We have scholars and advisors who can ensure that your Zakat is distributed according to Islamic guidelines.
UMR will use your Zakat effectively and efficiently to reach those who need it most. And as we have an online donation system, it’s comparatively easier and more convenient. You can fulfill your obligations with just a few clicks with UMR.
After exploring the topic of Zakat al-mal vs Zakat al-fitr in this blog, it is clear that both forms of charity hold great significance in Islam. Zakat al-mal is an obligation for those who possess wealth, while zakat al-fitr is a mandatory contribution for every Muslim who is able to afford it, regardless of their wealth.
While zakat al-mal focuses on the distribution of wealth to those in need, zakat al-fitr is a means of purification for the individual and a way to ensure that everyone in the community is able to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
Ultimately, both zakat al-mal and zakat al-fitr serve as a reminder to Muslims that their wealth is a blessing from Allah. And that it is their duty to share it with those in need. By fulfilling these obligations, Muslims not only help to alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate but also purify their own souls and strengthen their connection to their faith and community.