Charity in Islam is exceptionally important as it is one of the five pillars of the religion. There are many different types of charity in Islam, with each type pertaining to different causes, rewards and significance. Zakat is the most important form of charity, and it is this that is commanded of all eligible Muslims.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said, “Whoever fulfils the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
There are multiple rules surrounding Zakat and what counts as a legitimate donate. If you’re wondering ‘what can Zakat money be used for?’, read on as we explain what causes are permissible as per the Qur’an.
What is Zakat?
First, let’s explore what Zakat is. Zakat is a mandatory charitable donation that all Muslims are required to complete. As one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat is a form of declaration and confirmation of a Muslim’s faith in Allah (SWT).
Zakat is mentioned 32 times in the holy Qur’an by Allah (SWT) which allows us to understand its importance. Unlike normal voluntary charity, Zakat must be paid by all those who are eligible, as instructed by Allah (SWT).
In order for a Muslim to be eligible, they must be an adult and their excess wealth must meet the nisab threshold and stay there for a full lunar year. Different people pay different amounts depending on their wealth. How much you owe is calculated on the value of silver or gold. If you choose to base your donation on the value of gold, you will pay a higher amount.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible and how much you must pay, please use our Zakat calculator.
What is Zakat Money Used for?
The principal practice of Zakat is supporting those who need it most to make their lives better. In Islam, as a child of Adam, you are given the duty to take care of all of your brothers and sisters by giving Zakat to provide vital necessities for them. With this in mind, Zakat is used to benefit those less fortunate than ourselves.
Allah (SWT) outlined eight permissible causes for Zakat. They are:
- The impoverished
- The needy
- Zakat charities (such as ILM UK)
- Reverts and friends of the Muslim community
- The enslaved
- The indebted
- Stranded travellers
- Those fighting on behalf of Allah (SWT)
He deems these to be the most in need of support and therefore they are the only valid recipients of Zakat as per the Qur’an. Do bear in mind that there are further rules as to exactly who can receive Zakat. For more information, please read our Zakat facts.
“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (9;60, Surah Tawbah)
You may choose to split your Zakat across different causes, but you need to ensure every donation you make is done so with the sole intention of being for Zakat, otherwise it will not count.
Commonly Asked Zakat Questions
With such strict guidelines surrounding Zakat and where Zakat can be used, there are lots of commonly asked questions. We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about what Zakat is used for, along with the answers for your reference.
Can I Use Zakat to Build a Mosque?
Zakat is not permissible to be spent on the construction of a mosque. This is because it does not fit under any of the eight categories mentioned in the ayah of Surah Tawbah. It is our duty to follow the instructions set by Allah (SWT) and the guidance of knowledgeable scholars, meaning you cannot spend your Zakat to fund a mosque.
Can I Use Zakat Money to Build a Water Well?
It is permissible for you to spend your Zakat on building a water well. This is because those who do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities are most definitely in need, and needy people are – as per Allah’s (SWT) guidance – acceptable recipients of Zakat. With this in mind, you may donate your Zakat to our water appeal.
Can Zakat be Used to Pay Debt?
If you know someone who is in unmanageable debt and who is not reliant on you financially (e.g. your wife, child, parent or grandparent), you may use your Zakat to pay their debt.
Donate Your Zakat Today
You can donate your obligatory Zakat payment with ILM UK today. Your Zakat can go towards supporting our appeals that are designed to help those who are in need, ensuring a positive change is made for which Allah (SWT) will reward you.