Zakat is the practice of taxation and redistribution, imposed upon Muslims on their income and wealth. It is a form of obligatory alms giving, and the collected amount is paid to poor Muslims, to zakat collectors, to new converts to Islam, as income to its clergy, and others.
The practice is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it is the only pillar which enjoins Muslims to submit to Islamic statism.
One must give zakat for the sake of one’s salvation: while those who give zakat can expect reward from God (Allah) in the afterlife, neglecting to give zakat can result in damnation. The giving of the zakat is considered a means of purifying one’s wealth and soul. Zakat is part of the covenant between God and a Muslim. Non-Muslims are not required to pay zakat, but must pay a tax called Jizyah tax with different characteristics.
Qur’an makes zakat as one of three prerequisites as to when a pagan becomes a Muslim, through verse 9.5: “but if they repent, establish prayers, and practice zakat they are your brethren in faith”
The Qur’an lists the beneficiaries of zakat.
The hadiths admonish those who do not give the zakat. According to the hadith, refusal to pay or mockery of those who pay zakat is a sign of hypocrisy, and God will not accept the prayers of such people.The sunna also describe God’s punishment for those who refuse or fail to pay zakat. On the day of Judgment, those who didn’t give the zakat will be held accountable and punished.
The hadith contain advice on the state-authorized collection of the zakat. The collectors are required not to take more than what is due, and those who are paying the zakat are asked not to evade payment. The hadith also warn of punishment to those who take zakat when they are not eligible to receive it (see beneficiaries of zakat).