May God make our fasts easy, accept our supplications and strengthen our faith… may God heal the ill, protect the most vulnerable and bless all the essential and healthcare workers… may God grant one and all a rewarding and joyous Ramadan… ameen.
If the answer is no, now is the time to do so!
First, what is “zakat”?
Zakat (or Zakah) is an Arabic word now used universally to mean “obligatory charity“. As prescribed to Muslims with means, it’s obligatory to make an annual contribution of 2.5% against all assets one holds for a minimum of one year towards charitable use.
A good example might be one has, after expenses, a $1,000 in the bank, gold or silver worth $5,000 and a car worth $10,000. Their total assets are at $16,000 and they’d pay a minimum of $400 against that.
Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you do not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.The Holy Quran, 58:13
With fasting, we purify our bodies, minds, spirits as well as our material things. To do so, we sacrifice a bit of everything to bring forward our renewed selves. Fasting from food to bring in good energy. Fasting from day to day worrisome thoughts to bring in happier thoughts (think meditation). Fasting from earthly things to remind ourselves of the bigger picture through worship and Quran reading. To fully complete the month of Ramadan, one must give their zakat before Eid ElFitr (Festival of Breaking Fast), hence the term “Zakat ElFitr” (Zakat of Breaking Fast).
Remember, zakat is also giving your time and reminding others to do their part as well. Many get caught up with work, family gatherings and Eid shopping that a kind reminder is always appreciated. I know I appreciated the one I received yesterday and I hope this post as those I’ve written for the last several years serves as your kind reminder to fulfill your zakat.
Who qualifies to receive zakat?
The idea of zakat is to support those in need. That can be in the form of food, shelter, legal services or any other means to help them live a decent life. What do you have that others may have less of? If you were in a bad situation, what would you need to get out of it. It’s hard to put ourselves in another’s shoes sometimes but one of the main ideas of Ramadan is just that. Living with little food, little energy, but lots of dedication to get through it.
With that said, there are so many organizations, both locally and internationally, out there in need of our zakat to continue the amazing work they do not just in Ramadan but year round. I recommend checking on those that have been highly rated by Charity Navigator, many of which four star rated.
I personally would suggest the following organizations:
- Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) for their amazing efforts to provide medical aid to children across the Middle East. They are currently supporting refugee children in dire need from Palestine, Yemen and Syria.
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for their dedication to helping local communities at large with legal services, training and support. They are currently supporting those in need through the disastrous border immigration response and the xenophobic Muslim Ban currently in effect.
- Islamic Relief USA for their excellent disaster relief responses, meal plans across the globe and orphan sponsorship programs. You can select one or multiple programs you want your zakat to go towards.
- Project Feed SF for feeding neighbors in need right here in San Francisco for over 10 years now. This and other amazing campaigns worthy of your zakat are listed under Launch Good.
Insha’Allah this information is helpful to you all. May God accept our fasts, our prayers and our zakat… ameen.
Has 2015 come to an end already?
Alhamdulillah, this year was an interesting one for me but may not have been for others around the world. Back home, this year was a violent one in the US. The refugee crisis struck a cord with many of us around the world. The GCC saw a dip in the economy that made us say “good bye” to many of our expat friends. We’ve also had to say too many “good byes” to family and friends whom departed us for the heavens.
Praying for some form of peace and calm back home in the US. Praying for some form of stability for those trying to escape these unnecessary wars. Praying for some form of unity for those with many miles between us. Praying for God’s eternal peace and light upon out loved ones that have left this life. Ameen.
I pray that your year was good and that the next year only gets better. I pray that your year was full of knowledge and that the next year only gets better. I pray that your year was full of compassion and that the next year only gets better. I pray that you found your path, your place, your peace and that the next year only gets better. Ameen.
May you and yours have a blessed and rewarding 2016.
Ramadan Kareem!! Happy Fasting!!
This Ramadan, I’m going to attempt to post a verse from the Quran and an interesting quote on a daily basis. I hope with this, it’ll bring some sort of insight on my Islamic faith as well as on this holiest of months to my fellow readers and followers. Enjoy!
“So remember Me, I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” -Quran 2:152 Learn more about this verse from Friday Nasiha.
“I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims who’s eyes were the bluest of blue, who’s hair was the blondest of blond and who’s skin was as the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white’ Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the ‘black’ African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana” -Malcom X