Zakat (Charitable Giving)
In various parts of the Holy Qur'an great stress is laid on the Zakat, that is, almsgiving to those who deserve it. Each able Muslim should give a certain percentage of his annual income, either in money or kind, to the poor and the indigent. In Saudi Arabia, the religious obligation of Zakat has been officially recognized by the establishment of the Department of Zakat under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance. Zakat on the individual's annual income from any legal source amounts to almost 2.5%, subject to strict conditions.
It is believed that one of the reasons for the imposition of Zakat is that Islam calls for the purity of both the soul and the body. (Zakat means purification, and the payment of Zakat is regarded primarily as an act of worship of God.) Since it is required of the rich that they satisfy the needs of the poor, the paying of Zakat no doubt enhances amity and caring within society and strengthens the relationship between the wealthy and the indigent. It reflects fulfillment of an early concept of social justice, as it is taken from each person according to his capacity. The Book of God, the Holy Qur'an, says "Take of their wealth a portion (as charity) to purify them by it".