Zakah is the third pillar in Islam. The arabic word Zakat means “to purify or cleanse”. Zakat is a compulsory payment and is neither charity nor a tax. Charity is optional and taxes can be used by the state for any other purpose, but Zakat has to be spent under fixed headings like helping the poor, the needy, and the cause of Allah (9:60).
Payment of Zakah is a means of keeping our wealth clear of greed and selfishness. It also encourages us to be honest in our earnings and expenditure. Zakah provides us with the opportunity of sharing excess wealth with those less fortunate than ourselves.
We and our wealth belong to Allah. He is the real owner and we are merely trustees of His wealth.