From the Islamic point of view, wealth belongs to Allah (God) and is held by human beings in trust; so a person has no right to use it to satisfy his whims. He has to observe the Divine commandments here, as elsewhere. For those whom Allah has blessed with wealth, it is a test; and Muslims should strive to pass this test by not becoming worshipers of hoarded wealth. They should rather use the wealth only in ways Allah (God) has permitted and realize that the amount of zakah to be given is not really their money but, rather, it belongs to those who have less than they do.
Zakah is one of those unique forms of worship that bring out bo th the individual and the social aspects of `ibadah (worship). Consider its socio-political value: It frees society from the ill feelings arising out of class hatred. It opposes an individualism that is blind to the travails of one’s neighbors and stands against a socialism that shackles individual freedom. It fosters neither selfishness nor renunciation. It also strengthens a sense of brotherhood and establishes social cohesion.
The resources liable for zakah in general terms are the balance remaining after meeting expenses. This means that at the end of a year (calendar year or fiscal year) a Muslim has to calculate what amount must be paid for zakah. There are various rules for individuals, farms, factories and businesses.
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