Allah s.w.t said in the Quran,
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱرْكَعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱلرَّٰكِعِينَ
“And establish prayer and give Zakat and bow with those who bow (in worship and obedience).”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:43)
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said in a hadith,
بُنِيَ الإسْلَامُ علَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أنْ لا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وأنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسولُ اللَّهِ، وإقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ، وإيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، والحَجِّ، وصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
“Islam is based on five (pillars): To testify that there is no God except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; to offer Salah; to pay Zakat; to perform the Hajj; and to observe the Fast (during the month of Ramadan).”
From the above texts and many other iterations in the Quran and Sunnah, we come to understand that Islam places high importance on Zakat, deeming it the third pillar of Islam and an obligation (fardh).
But what are the criteria to fulfil Zakat? Is there such a thing as being too young to fulfil Zakat? Before we dive into the main topic, let us first understand Zakat.
In Singapore’s context today, we fulfil two types of Zakat:
Obligatory upon all Muslims, and to be fulfilled in the month of Ramadan, till before Eid prayers (sunnah hari raya prayers).
Obligatory upon Muslims who meet the conditions for Zakat on Wealth (it should be fulfilled once the conditions are met).
Zakat on Wealth is imposed on wealth that grows or has the potential / intention to grow. In Singapore, it is categorised into five different types:
Visit www.zakat.sg for more details on the different types of Zakat and to use our Zakat Calculator.
How do I know that I am obligated to fulfil Zakat? Is it made obligatory for everyone? Are there conditions to be met first?
Above are the conditions for Zakat on Wealth and Zakat Fitrah. Let us dive deeper into Nisab and Haul to better understand the two terms.
Nisab refers to the current market price/rate of 86 grams of gold. It is a benchmark / minimum amount that, if a Muslim possess, would make them liable for Zakat. The Nisab is updated monthly and can be found on Zakat Singapore socials and on www.zakat.sg.
Haul is a period of 1 Hijri year or 355 days. For the condition of Haul to be met, a Muslim’s wealth must meet the Nisab amount and not only meet it for one month but for the entire Haul.
If their wealth falls below the Nisab before the Haul is complete, the Haul is broken and will restart once their wealth meets the Nisab again. So, it is no surprise that Muslims are fulfilling their Zakat on Wealth at different times of the year.
To help track your savings, Haul and Nisab easily, you may use our Monthly Nisab Tracker Template.
Now – the big question – do I, as a young person, need to fulfil Zakat? Is there a condition of age or “baligh” (age of maturity) for Zakat?
Imam Syafi’i r.h.m is of the opinion that Zakat is obligatory even for children (should the above conditions be met) due to the words of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w:
“Trade with the wealth of orphans and do not let it be lost or consumed by Zakat.”
Hence, even with savings accounts opened for children in infancy, Zakat is still liable upon it if the conditions are met, and truly, there are only four conditions for Zakat on Wealth and two for Zakat Fitrah. Age, baligh or not, is not a factor. If the conditions are met, Zakat becomes an obligation (wajib).
Another way to look at it is that Zakat is imposed on the wealth owned, not the person who owns it. So as long as the conditions are met, even if the person who owns it cannot fulfil Zakat himself, a guardian or next of kin should help carry out the obligation.
According to the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence (mazhab),
“If a child does not have any wealth, his Zakat Fitrah must be paid by his father, according to scholarly consensus and as reported by Ibn al-Mundhir and others. If the child has wealth, then he must pay his own Zakat Fitrah. This is the view of Abu Haneefah, Ahmad, Ishaaq and Abu Thawr.”
(Imam Al-Nawawi r.h.m, Al-Majmoo‘, 6/108)
We understand from Imam Al-Nawawi, that a wali (guardian) is not obligated to fulfil Zakat for their dependents (out of their own pocket) should the dependent possess their own wealth. If your parent fulfils your Zakat for you (as commonly done in Singapore), this can be understood to be out of their goodwill.
However, for someone unable to make the transaction on their own, this responsibility will fall on their guardian (e.g., young children, orphans, or those with special needs).
As young Muslims, when we reach maturity or the age of “baligh”, we must learn to fulfil all our religious obligations on our own, including Zakat.
After reading the above, fulfilling Zakat may not seem easy. However, this is how Islam entrusts responsibility upon Muslims with wealth – to themselves and society, or more specifically, the eight asnaf (beneficiaries of Zakat designated by Allah s.w.t Himself). Which is why we should seek help and ask questions from people who we trust to know better.
Read: The Chosen 8 Asnaf: Who can Receive Zakat?
As young Muslims, Zakat is purposeful knowledge and a gateway to being a financially responsible adult. It is not just charity. Zakat is a:
According to contemporary Islamic scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:
“Zakat is to purify the heart of the giver from the love of material possessions and greed, and the heart of the receiver from hatred and jealousy."
(Al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 2-13)
Imam Al-Ghazali explains Zakat as:
“The purification of wealth from the stain of hoarding.”
(Ihya Ulum al-Din, 2-24)
When we fulfil the obligation of Zakat, we are lending a hand to those in need and promoting generosity and sympathy within and amongst ourselves. Not to forget, Zakat also draws in the blessings of Allah s.w.t. He promised in the Quran:
وَمَآ أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَىْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُۥ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰزِقِينَ
“But whatever you spend (in His cause) - He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.”
(Surah Saba, 34:39)
So, as young Muslims, we should endeavour to fulfil our Zakat. As parents, Zakat is an important obligation to educate our children on.
May we reap the blessings of Zakat and benefit from the wisdom that Allah s.w.t has placed within it. Amin.
Visit www.zakat.sg to fulfil or learn more about fulfilling your Zakat.