Zakat is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one's wealth to charity. It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. Zakat does not refer to charitable gifts given out of kindness or generosity, but to the systematic giving of 2.5% of one's wealth each year to benefit the poor.
The benefits of Zakat, apart from helping the poor, are as follows:
- To be obedience to God
- To help a believer to acknowledge that everything comes from God on loan and that we do not really own anything ourselves (since we cannot take anything with us when we die we need not cling to it)
- To acknowledge that, whether we are rich or poor is God's choice and that He desires to be heloed by those who have more.
- To learn self-discipline
- To free oneself from the love of possessions and greed
- To free oneself from the love of money
- To free oneself from the love of oneself
- To help a believer to be honest
The 2.5% rate applies to cash, gold and silver, and commercial items. There are other rates for farm, mining produce, and for clean animals.