Hooray! Ramadan is here, and its hard to contain our excitement! Muslims around the world have begun preparing for Ramadan, starting from the awesome Ramadan planner which is widely distributed through whatsapp messages to calculating our due Zakat amount. The month of Ramadan is well-loved and enjoyed by all Muslims, be it rich or poor, due to several reasons which also includes the charitable acts emphasized in Islam. There are various types of charity given during Ramadan such as Zakat Al-Fitr, Zakat Al-Mal, Sadaqah etc.
Multiplication of Rewards
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) says: ”Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.” (Tirmidhi)
During the month of Ramadan, we are given a chance to collect our rewards manifold times. Not only does Ramadan provide us with the opportunity to cleanse our past sins, but it is during Ramadan that every act of goodness is multiplied 70 times from Allah (SWT).
Types of Charity Given in Ramadan
1 . Zakat Al-Fitr
Zakat Al-Fitr has to be given by the head of the family before the start of the Eid-prayer, to the poor and less privileged. This is to ensure that all Muslims celebrate a hunger free Eid filled with happiness and contentment. The local food or wheat is generally used as a measure in giving Zakat Al-Fitr.
This is a type of voluntary charity. Sadaqah is referred to as any act of kindness done by one Muslim to another, be it smiling or financial support for their daily living etc. It is a form of charity that is not restricted to the rich only, but any Muslims can perform Sadaqah in ways that they can.
Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Every Muslim has to give in sadaqah (charity).” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (saw)! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” He replied, “Then he should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Bukhari)
3. Zakat Al-Mal
Zakat Al-Mal is an obligatory charity which is a duty upon every abled Muslim. 2.5% of a Muslim accumulated wealth calculated yearly, and the proceeds should be distributed among the poor and needy, more specifically saying distributed to the eight eligible groups who can obtain zakat.
Quran emphasizes on the necessity of giving zakat at multiple accounts.
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous. (Quran 2:177)
When Should You Pay Zakat?
Zakat has to be paid when one lunar year (hawl) has passed, starting from the day your wealth exceeds the nisab (the minimum amount a Muslim must have before being obliged to pay Zakat/Zakah). It can be paid at any time of the year, but it should not exceed more than one hawl. It is always a good idea to have a specific date to pay Zakat so that you do not miss out on this duty.
Why Do Muslims Pay Zakat in Ramadan?
As mentioned earlier, Ramadan is a blessed month where your rewards for good deeds are multiplied. Most Muslims prefer giving Zakat during Ramadan so that they can get more rewards. Paying Zakat every year during Ramadan also ensures you are not delaying your Zakat payment more than a hawl. Following the contemporary calendar can be confusing when fixing a specific date, or sometimes we tend to forget. Therefore using Ramadan as a gauge to make Zakat payment will be splendid and useful!
Zakat is an obligatory charity that has to be given by every abled Muslim. As Ramadan is a month of blessings where our good deeds are multiplied, Muslims prefer to increase their charity acts during this month. This includes fulfilling their Zakat in this month. Apart from Zakat Al-Fitr which is compulsory to be paid by end of Ramadan, Zakat Al-Mal is also usually paid in Ramadan mainly for 2 reasons (1) rewards are multiplied 70 times, and (2) you have a fixed date for your Zakat payment so that you won’t miss it out!