ZAKAHAll things belong to Allah, including wealth, which is considered as a trust. The prescribed charity (zakah) is an obligation on every Muslim who meets certain criteria (e.g. attained maturity, is sane, has wealth above a certain threshold). A small portion of wealth (includes 2.5% monetary and may include other assets) which must be paid annually to those who are eligible, as prescribed in the Qur’an (e.g. the poor and needy). The Prophet (peace be on him) said: “Allah has made zakah obligatory simply to purify your remaining wealth.” The meaning of the word “zakah”, is both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. This is similar to the pruning of plants, whereby regularly trimming provides balance and encourages growth. By fulfilling this obligation, Muslims purify their remaining wealth, as well as ensure both financial and spiritual growth. Some benefits of zakah: Purifies one from selfishness, arrogance and a greedy heart. Trains one to be sympathetic and compassionate towards the poor and needy. Reminds one of the blessings from Allah and encourages one to be grateful. Bridges the gap between different socio-economic classes and groups, and is a form of social security. Reduces poverty and ensures equality by making it obligatory upon the rich to share some of their wealth with the less fortunate “...so that this (wealth) may not circulate solely among the rich from among you.” Qur’an 59:7 A person may also give as much as they please as additional voluntary charity.