An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by human beings in trust. Zakat is an obligatory form of charity and one of the five pillars of Islam. Literally translated as “purification”, Zakat is a means to purify both the believer’s wealth and soul from greed and selfishness by setting aside a proportion for those in need. It is also a means of encouraging community and understanding.

Besides the obligatory Zakat, an individual may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary charity, and does so preferably in secret, for the man who gives in charity secretly will be shaded on the Day of Judgement!

Zakat al-Fitr, specifically, is one of the two types of obligatory Zakat, and is to be paid during the month of Ramadan before Eid prayers at the latest. It is an obligation on any Muslim who has enough food for himself for one whole day, and is paid by the head of the household on behalf of all family members. It generally equals to the price of one meal. Specifically, it is equal to 2 kg of wheat, barley, rice or flour, around $10.

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