Zakah is a very important part of Islam. It teaches us to share what we have. It helps us avoid being selfish. “Selfishness” is when a person thinks only about himself or herself, and does not care about others.
Zakah is the system Allah gave us to collect our money, put it together and use it to help everyone. How is that done? The money that we collect for Zakah can be spent on the following eight things, as explained in the Holy Qur’an (Surah 9, Aayah 60):
1. For the poor (fuqara). That is, people who are very poor and in need.
2. For the needy (masakeen). Similar to above, but these people usually go unnoticed because they are too shy to ask others for help.
3. For the Zakah-collectors (that is, the government employees who are responsible for collecting the Zakah).
4. For those whose hearts are to be reconciled (that is, attracted to Islam).
5. For obtaining the freedom of those who are captives or enslaved.
6. For helping those who are in debt.
7. In the cause of Allah.
8. For the wayfarers (that is, travelers).
Zakah is a great system that can help the people in need. We can start saving our money instead of wasting it on useless things that we really don’t need. When the time to pay Zakah comes, we can give that money to poor Muslim families, who could use that money, for instance, to enjoy Eid like everyone else. The happiness one would get from doing this would be much greater and much sweeter than the enjoyment obtained from spending money on useless or unimportant things.