The Social and Economic Benefits of Zakat
Millions of people today experience severe unemployment, crushing debt, distress, lack of educational opportunities, poverty, hunger, and lack of access to clean water. This Ramadan, we have a means to continue the fight against these social ailments – Zakat. Zakat has the potential to eradicate hunger, thirst, and poverty.
With a focus on alleviating poverty, Zakat has plenty of solutions, locally, nationally and globally. It is a powerful institution for contributing to sustainable development in communities worldwide. An estimated $200 Billion to $2 Trillion of Zakat is generated each year and circulates the world.
But, do you know what your impact is by donating your Zakat? We made you a Zakat calculator to help you see the impact of your donation in material terms. Make no mistake – poverty will always exist, but so will Muslims who will continue the fight against it.
What is poverty, and is it just about money?
According to the UN, poverty is when you live on $1.90 a day.
But poverty isn’t always monetary. Poverty can be a lack of access to safe drinking water, health care, medications, shelter, food, denial of opportunities, violation of human dignity, lacking the means not to be able to participate in society, no access to credit, land to grow food, insecurity, and being susceptible to violence.
- Globally, 10% of people live under $2 a day.
- Approximately 700 million people live in extreme poverty.
- Children, youth and women represent the majority of those affected in most regions.
- 85% of the world live on less than $30 per day
- Most under-five deaths are caused by preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, resulting from malnutrition, contaminated water, and unhealthy sanitation.
- Over 63 million children ages 6 to 11 years old are not attending school. This problem can potentially compound into worse problems later in life.
- Approximately 9% of the world today still practices open defecation, leading to contaminated food and water sources.
What Does Zakat Solve?
Some of the social and economic benefits of Zakat include:
- It gives hope to those who may feel hopeless
- Redistribution of wealth
- Restores and establishes human dignity
- Establishes connections locally, nationally and globally
- Reduces poverty
- Financial help by way of food, shelter and clothes
- Assistance and support for those in severe debt
- It prevents the poor from resorting to unlawful or illegal means to earn a living
- It helps bridge the gap between the rich and poor
- Promotes selflessness and giving
- Discourages hoarding of wealth
- Raises awareness of real issues around you and the world
- Eliminates social conflicts
- Establishes a collective ownership
- Establishes social security
Why Does Zakat Matter?
Think about the term dignity. We all deserve the right to dignity. Islam does not encourage begging because it resorts to a loss of human dignity. Islam seeks to remedy the situation before anyone needs to resort to begging.
One of the most profound aspects of Islam is that it takes human dignity very seriously. Distributing Zakat is not handing out charity to the poor. Zakat is a powerful tool to help re-circulate wealth to those most vulnerable, many of whom are experiencing poverty at no fault of their own, but due to their unfortunate circumstances, such as access, war, resources and limitations. Many people, including children, are forced into work early at the cost of missing school.
Zakat is not simply giving charity. It is much more than that. In essence, Zakat is a portion of one’s wealth that meets the threshold and is rightfully distributed to those who have a right to it.
In our Prophetic tradition, the one who gives should give with their hand under and open, and allow the one receiving Zakat/charity to take that offering with their hand over yours. This small act prevents the feeling of entitlement and arrogance. It preserves the one receiving to restore and maintain their dignity – because it is their right!
Islam focuses on community sustainability, and Zakat is the engine that facilitates that.
Zakat Achieves Wealth Redistribution
Look at these statistics, and think about why hoarding wealth can be so detrimental to society.
- The top 26 wealthiest people have the same wealth as about half of the world – 3.8 billion people.
- The 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
- The top 1% wealthiest people have more than TWICE as much money as approximately 7 billion people worldwide.
- 258 million children today, which is about 1 of 5 children, cannot go to school.
- Each year, approximately 100 million people are forced into poverty due to healthcare costs.
The key takeaway is that wealth distribution can solve very real problems. This is precisely what Zakat achieves. It’s a small percentage of 2.5% that may be small to you but together is POWERFUL.
Widen Your Impact with Zakat
Some give their Zakat informally on their own, between individuals directly, which is excellent and highly encouraged!
There is also a powerful means of using trusted and reputable organizations to distribute your Zakat.
With Human Concern International, your Zakat can touch and save the lives of those around the world who experience the most extreme forms of poverty. With our team, we ensure that we provide the most essential resources to those who need them the most! We remain on the ground, committed to sustainable growth.
We provide emergency relief, but also with a focus on empowering communities to be able to sustain themselves for the future.
Ultimately restoring human dignity.
Your Zakat matters, and it matters BIG time.
Zakat is too big and powerful to be ignored as a legitimate means to fight poverty and inequality.
Dua When Paying Zakat
If one intends to pay the Zakat, make the following dua:
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا مَغْنَمًا وَلاَ تَجْعَلْهَا مَغْرَمًا
Transliteration: Allahummaj-‘alha maghnaman wa la taj-‘alha maghrama
Translation: O Allah, make it a gain and do not make it a loss!
The companion Abū Hurayrah (d. 57/676-7) (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When you give Zakah, do not forget its reward, and say اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا مَغْنَمًا وَلاَ تَجْعَلْهَا مَغْرَمًا (O Allah, make it a gain and do not make it a loss).”
You can calculate your Zakat here, and make your Zakat payment here.