Zakat (i.e., Zakat-al-mal) must be paid by all Muslims whose net worth for the preceding year has remained above a minimal exemption called nisab. Nisab has been estimated at $5,700.
Zakat is 2 1/2% of the net worth held for a full lunar year (except that it is 5% of the “produce” from irrigated land and 10% of that from unirrigated land, and 20% for minerals and treasures from the earth) while other items are excluded (e.g., a home occupied by the owner–to the extent that it is not luxurious, including utensils, furniture, etc.; clothes; agricultural land farmed by the owner; jewelry to the degree that it is customary in your neighborhood). You may use our zakat calculation form to calculate your zakat-al-mal.
Zakat may be paid at any time within the year (but to pay as soon after Ramadan as possible makes it easy for those who fast: you know from personal experience how the hungry feel and why we should give).
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ZAKAT-AL-FITR, SADAQAT-AL-FITR, FITRA
Zakat-al-fitr is a flat amount per household member paid by the head of the household for himself and his dependents. It has been estimated at about $10 per person. It should be paid to the bait-al-mal no later that the eid-al-fitr.
Sadaqa is a voluntary charity which may be made at any time. It can be of any amount “beyond your needs.” It need not be money. Giving a smile to someone who needs it is also sadaqa.