The Requirements of Islam
The five “pillars” of Islam make up the framework of a Muslim’s life, they are:
3. ‘Zakah’ or Obligatory Annual Charity
The word “Zakah” means purification and growth. An important principle of Islam is that all things belong to Allah. Muslims are enjoined to earn and spend their wealth in ways that are acceptable to Allah. The divinely ordained system of Zakah is the right of Allah within His dominion. It is neither a charity nor a tax, but an obligation due from Muslims who possess wealth in excess of their basic needs. Thus, the difference between Zakah and tax is that a Muslim pays Zakah willfully and on their own accord; they are the ones who supervise its payment.
Zakah is only due when a person has the minimum required amount, which varies with the type of wealth.
Zakah cleanses a Muslim of greed, selfishness, base covetousness, and the love of this temporal world. Allah () says:
And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful. [59:9]
It is the ideal way to meet the needs of the poorer sections of society without causing hardship to the wealthy.