As Muslims, one of the five pillars of Islam is the obligation of paying zakat. Following the profession of faith (shahadah), prayers five times a day, and fasting in the month of Ramadhan, zakat is the fourth pillar, followed by pilgrimage to do hajj and umrah. The term zakat is often taken to mean “almsgiving”, referring to the obligation for an individual to donate a certain amount of their savings and wealth to charitable causes. However, the literal meaning of the word “zakat” is “to cleanse” (tazakka in Arabic) and this can be referred to the purpose of zakat which is to purify a Muslim’s earnings throughout the year. Hence, there is zakat on income for the salaryman and other types of zakats for the specific money-earning activities we engage in, such as conducting business and investing.
Other than purifying or cleansing an individual’s income, zakat is beneficial in many ways to the individual as well as the community or society. Among the benefits of zakat include:-
Of course, paying zakat on income is also one of the opportunities for an individual to increase worship to Allah SWT as thanks for His blessings.
At the end of the Islamic calendar, a Muslim must pay zakat on their income, wealth, or savings of which the amount is above a certain threshold, called the nisab. The amount of nisab is set at the current value of 85 grams of gold or 612 grams of silver. In Malaysia, that amount has been set at RM23,532 for the year 2022.
Meanwhile, the minimum amount of zakat to be paid is set at 2.5% or 1/40 of the nisab. This can be seen in religious Islamic texts that highlight the topic of zakat, such as follows:-
In the Qur’an, Allah SWT says (which means):
“O’ you who have Faith! spend (in charity) of the good things that you have earned, and of what We produce for you from the earth, and do not aim at what is bad to spend thereof (in charity) while you yourselves would not accept it except that you connive at it, and know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.” [Al-Baqarah (2): 267]
There are, of course, many other Quranic verses as well as hadiths that relate to zakat. Meanwhile, according to the Fatwa of the Federal Territory after it was decided by the Consultative Committee on Sharia Law, zakat on income refers to the compulsory payment on income that covers any wages, salaries, allowances, remunerations and bonuses (Subsection 34(1) of the Islamic Law Administration Act (Federal Territories) 1993 [Act 505]).
There are three conditions that render an individual eligible and obliged to pay zakat on income or wealth:
However, this does not mean that you are automatically obliged to pay the zakat if your income is equivalent to 85 grams of gold or RM23,532 per year. This is because the amount that zakat on income is obliged on is only for the amount left after all necessary spending has been subtracted. The zakat will then be obligatory only on what’s left and if it meets the minimum threshold.
In Malaysia, payment of zakat on income is eligible for tax rebate when it comes to paying annual taxes. This provides relief to Muslims as they are not burdened with having to pay double the taxes. Moreover, it is understood that the zakat collected will be used for the betterment of society as a whole so it serves the same purpose as annual taxes.
When one files in their income tax, the rebate for zakat on income takes place before any offsets under Section 110 and any credit under Section 132 or 133 of the Income Tax Act (ITA) 1967. Zakat rebate on income tax is granted only under the following conditions:-
If you are unsure of how to calculate your income on zakat, we hope you find our calculator useful for helping you figure out the minimum amount.
Thank you for paying the zakat on income and may you be blessed with good fortune and rezeki for your generosity.