It is a daily grind for Farzana. With two small kids and a paralytic husband to support, keeping the kitchen fire burning is her sole responsibility. But her paltry earnings as a domestic help are hardly enough to keep the wolf away.

Yet, during Ramzan, she affords to indulge in small luxuries – a new pair of clothes, footwear and decent food. Farzana also manages to go for shopping. No, she has no windfall, her good fortune is the result of the ‘zakat' she receives.

Hundreds of poor and destitute Muslim families have something to cheer about during Ramzan. The obligatory charity brings sunshine into the lives of many, enabling them to enjoy the Eid festivities.

It is difficult to specify how much ‘zakat' is given by the well-to-do Muslims but it sure runs into several lakhs. If properly channelled, everyone agrees, the poor in the community need not have to seek aid from anyone.

Besides being an act of worship, ‘zakat' has a deep humanitarian value as it prevents hoarding of wealth and promotes solidarity among Muslims through distribution of excessive wealth.

“Literally ‘zakat' means to purify and it purifies a Muslim's wealth and soul”, says Moulana Ahmed Ubaidur Rahman, khateeb of Teen Posh mosque, Red Hills.

Though it has nothing to do with Ramzan, most Muslims prefer to give ‘zakat' during this month in view of the immense reward promised for charity.

‘Zakat' is paid on assets that reach the ‘Nisab', the minimum value, and on which one lunar year has lapsed.

Basis for calculation

Minimum value is calculated based on the current market price of 87.48 gm of gold or 612.36 gm of silver. How much one has to pay? This is at the rate of 2.5 per cent on the total zakatable assets.

Zakat is applicable on a wide range of assets like gold, silver, landed property, business stock, cash and bank balances, loans, government bonds, provident funds, company shares, agricultural/factory produce. Muslims usually take the help of ulemas or refer books to compute ‘zakat'.

As per Quranic injunctions, ‘zakat' can be paid to any of the eight eligible beneficiaries: the poor (fuqara), needy (miskeen), administrator of zakat (amil), new converts to Islam (muallaf), to free captives/slaves (riqab), those in debt (gharimin), those working in cause of Allah (fisabillillah) and wayfarers (ibnus sabil).

Welfare programmes

However, it is the poor and needy among one's relations who form the bulk of ‘zakat' recipients followed by madrasas. Safa Baitul Maal Educational Welfare and Charitable Trust uses the ‘zakat' fund to carry out various welfare programmes in the community. During Ramzan it distributes ration packages to more than 2,000 families. The Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust too uses the donations to finance secular education of Muslim students.

Senior advocate Ghulam Yazdani provides a platform to those intending to give ‘zakat'.

At his house in Gundfoundry various madrasa representatives are available every year on 27th of Ramzan (August 28) to receive ‘zakat'.

Keywords: Ramzan

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