The word “Zakat” has been derived from Zaka which means to grow, to increase, to flourish and to spread. It also means to remove Impurities of an impure matter and material. But in its Islamic sense, the term carries the meaning to pay fixed amount on money, Ornaments, gold, silver and produce on which a period of one year has elapsed.
In importance it is next to “Saiat”. That is why in most Quranic verses, these two Institutions have been mentioned together—”And observer prayer, and pay the poor rate and bow down with those who bow” (Holy Quran). Zakat is obligatory upon every Muslim who is capable of paying it.
Zakat has been described as wealth which is taken from the rich and returned to the poor. It is so said because by giving to the poor the wealth of the community definitely Increases and at the sometime giver’s heart is purified from inordinate love of wealth. Zakat money is to be collected by the state. It is to be spent upon the poor and disabled for their maintenance; may be given to new converts to Islam who fall in financial distress due to their conversion; may be spent for the Liberation of slaves; may be given to those who are In debts; may be given to those travelers who become short of funds while on their journey. The amount so collected may also be spent upon the salary of the establishment employed for collecting and distribution of Zakat and also upon defence and propagation of Islam.
Zakat is the backbone of the economic system of Islam. It helps amelioration of the condition of poor. It gives economic security to the Muslim Community. Zakat sweeps away avarice. The main purpose of Zakat is to discourage accumulation of wealth by a group of society and also impair the tendency of uneven distribution of wealth in society.
Zakat intends to maintain the balance between Luxury and poverty. Economic panty is maintained by Zakat. The Levy of Zakat on the capital and savings at flied rates and on the produce of lend and articles of trade and cattle is Intended to distribute wealth in society.
Zakat fosters fellow-feeling and brotherhood. It gives a strong blow at the root of capitalism. This system sets not only as a leveling influence but also as a means of developing the higher sentiments of man namely, the sentiments of love and sympathy towards Na fellowmen.
This shows that although Zakat is concern of an individual but being a member of society it also becomes the concern of the society. Since the state is the manifestation of a civilized society as such it becomes the duty of the state to realize this tax from the individuals and spend it under prescribed items to the deserving people.