can feed a family for a month
can fill an emergency relief pack
can provide essential support to orphans and widows
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What is Zakat?

Zakat, or almsgiving, is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with prayer, fasting, pilgrimage (Hajj) and belief in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). For every sane, adult Muslim who owns wealth over a certain amount – known as the nisab – he or she must pay 2.5% of that wealth as Zakat.


…and those in whose wealth there is a
recognized right, for the needy and deprived

(Qur’an 70:24-5)

What is Nisab?

The nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must possess before they become eligible to pay Zakat. This amount is often referred to as the nisab threshold.

Gold and silver are the two values used to calculate the nisab threshold. The nisab is the value of 87.28 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.


Nisab as of Ramadan 1st – April 2 2022:

Using value of silver (612.36 grams) – approximately $606.23
Using value of gold (87.48 grams) – approximately $6,779.70

Zakat: A sacred pillar

Zakat is not just a fundamental pillar of Islam. It is also a revolutionary concept with the potential to ease the suffering of millions around the world.

As Allah (SWT) tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah (Qur’an 2:110)


Picture this: if just the ten richest people in the world paid Zakat – that would be a staggering $13 trillion! The power of that money in tackling poverty would be huge.

At Islamic Relief, we use your Zakat in the most effective way possible to relieve the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Last year alone, your donations enabled us to save lives

Your Zakat has funded some of our crucial work with people and communities living in disaster and war zones: drought and famine-struck countries across East Africa and communities affected by conflict in Yemen. Your generosity has enabled communities to build sustainable livelihoods in the face of climate change, and enabled better lives for vulnerable orphans and families across the globe.

Alhamdulillah, you have the power to transform people’s lives. Give your Zakat today!

Zakat FAQs

Please note that for any specific queries, it is advisable to contact your local imam. You can also call our office at 1 855 377 4673.

During Ramadan, Islamic Relief Canada has a scholar available to issue specific guidance.

You can use our Zakat Calculator to calculate how much you need to give.

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions that you can use for further guidance:

What is Zakat?

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a compulsory donation to charity by all Muslims who reach the minimum threshold for payment.

How much is Zakat?

Zakat is 2.5% of your total wealth. Therefore if you have $10,000 of wealth liable to Zakat, you would pay $250.

Who is eligible to receive Zakat?

There are seven categories of people who are eligible to receive Zakat:

  1. The poor and needy
  2. Administrators of Zakat
  3. Those whose hearts have been recently reconciled
  4. Those who have been enslaved
  5. Those in debt
  6. In the cause of God
  7. Travellers (including refugees)

Does the non-Muslim have to pay Zakat?

No, zakat is only prescribed for Muslims.

Miscellaneous Questions

I normally give a lot of money in charity throughout the year, do I still have to pay Zakat?

You must pay zakat with the intention of paying it. It is important that you make an intention to give a donation as a zakat payment.

I paid Zakat on $4,000 last Ramadan. This year I have a total of $10,000 of wealth liable to Zakat. What value do I take the 2.5% from as I paid for the $4,000 last year?

Zakat is to be paid on the total savings regardless of what was paid on it in the past. Therefore, you would pay 2.5% of $10,000 = $250.

I owe several years of Zakat, how do I pay?

For every year that you owe Zakat, take 2.5% from the total wealth you had at the end of that year and pay that in Zakat. If you are not sure how much wealth you had, you must estimate it to the best of your ability. E.g. It is now Ramadan 2021. You have not paid Zakat for the last 5 years. You need to work out how much wealth you owned every Ramadan for the last 5 years and pay 2.5% of that.

If a child’s wealth has satisfied all the conditions of Zakat (i.e. it is above the Nisab and has been in their possession for one year), should Zakat be paid on it?

The majority of the scholars from the past favoured the opinion that it should be paid. This is the same for both the child and the insane person. Therefore, their guardian should take the Zakat from the person’s wealth and pay it on their behalf. However, some opinion suggest that it is not due on children and insane people, so please discuss with a scholar.

I have mixed jewellery consisting of gold, silver and precious stones. How do I calculate the value on which Zakat must be paid?

The best way for you to do this would be to take the jewellery to a jeweller and ask them to value just the gold and silver parts of the jewellery. The valuations they give will be the total on which you have to pay Zakat. Precious stones are not liable for Zakat.

I have savings which I shall use to go for Hajj, is this to be included in my wealth when calculating Zakat?

Yes, it must be included.

Miscellaneous Questions: Business, Property and Debt

I lent some money to a friend who informed me that s/he is able to return the money; do I have to include this in my wealth when calculating Zakat?

Yes, as it is as if s/he is just storing your money.

10 years ago I lent some money to a friend who is poor and I did not expect to get the money back. S/he has now paid me back, is this money liable for Zakat?

If the money is paid back, then it is liable for Zakat (provided the lender meet other criteria for paying Zakat). However, if the money is not paid back, then the intention for lending would need to be reviewed. If the lender was fairly sure that s/he was not going to receive it back and s/he is unable to refer it to a judiciary, then in such cases Zakat is usually not payable. However, there are many variables and hence this question should be referred to a scholar.

My Zakat is due in dhul-Qa’dah but I would like to pay in advance (in Ramadan). I have a debt which must be paid in Shawwal (after Ramadan). Can this be deducted from my wealth when calculating Zakat?

The general answer would be yes, however we would strongly urge you to consult a scholar about this.

I bought a house for the purpose of renting 5 years ago. Last year I decided that I would sell the house. How do I pay Zakat on this?

For the time that you were renting the house out and did not have the intention of selling, you do not pay Zakat on the house. But you would still have to pay Zakat on the rent you earned just like any other wealth you have. You must pay Zakat after one lunar year from the day you made the intention to sell the house. You must also pay zakat on the selling price of the house. However, if you are paying in advance, you would need to estimate this. You would need to do the same for every year after that in which the house is still for sale. But to be absolutely clear, please discuss this with a scholar.

I have a shop where I sell clothes. How do I pay Zakat?

Every year at the time of paying Zakat, you would need to calculate the total selling price for all the goods for sale in your shop. E.g. All the clothes for sale in your shop add up to a total selling value of a particular sum of money. You would add this to your other wealth when calculating your total payment.


What is Hawl?

The length of time that an individual must possess the wealth that they will pay zakat on.

If one has not yet possessed his/her wealth for one lunar year, can s/he still pay Zakat?

Yes s/he can pay Zakat, but they would need to factor in any expenditures or liabilities when calculating how much they would need to pay.

My wealth dipped below the Nisab during the course of the year, do I still have to pay Zakat?

Yes, but please discuss with a Scholar.

I received a large amount of money just before my Zakat was due for this year. Do I include it in this year’s Zakat?

Yes, you need to include it in your calculation.

I have a pension fund, do I pay Zakat on the savings in this fund?

This depends on the nature of the fund. We would suggest you consult a scholar about this as the issue of pension schemes can be quite complex.

A group of us have set up a fund to pay for any emergency needs that we may have. Is this liable for Zakat?

It sounds as if the mentioned fund would count as a Waqf. The general rule is that a Waqf is not liable for Zakat. As long as, there is no personal ownership, or nobody is personally benefitting from this fund, and also depending on the nature of the fund, Zakat may/may not be liable. However, you would need to check this with a scholar.

Beneficiaries of Zakat

What is the definition of the poor and needy?

The Fuqara & the Masakin. Fuqara are those that do not own wealth to the amount of Nisab. Masakin are those who do not have food for the day (15 -20% of the world).

How do you assess whether someone is poor and needy?

We have delivery offices in the countries in which we work and they carry out assessments – using selection criteria – because we want to ensure that we are reaching the most vulnerable people.

Can I give Zakat to my family members?

It can only be given to people from one of those seven categories. Most scholars agree that you can give zakat to a family member if they’re from one of the categories. E.g. they are poor and unable to provide for themselves, and is not already dependent on you. But if he/she is one of your dependents, you are obliged to spend on them anyway and cannot give them anything from your Zakat.

Can I use my zakat to sponsor an orphan?

If the orphan is eligible to receive zakat (E.g. they or their family own less than the nisab or do not have food for the day) then they will be eligible to receive it. Orphans would come under category 1 and 2 recipients of Zakat.

What kind of projects do Zakat funds support?

We spend Zakat funds on projects where we can guarantee that the recipients are poor and needy and directly receive the assistance. So, for example, we can provide food packs to destitute people so they can feed themselves and their families. But we would not use the funds on a well that would benefit the whole community. This is because we could not guarantee that only poor and needy people will get water from that well. However, we will use other funds such as Sadaqah to pay for projects that benefit whole communities.

How Islamic Relief spends Zakat

How does Islamic Relief spend Zakat funds?

Islamic Relief spends Zakat funds on the poor and needy.

Do you give Zakat funds to people in Canada or only to people overseas?

We assist people with Zakat funds in Canada and overseas, as long as they qualify for it.

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