English: religious tax

Alternate spelling: Zakah

Definition: An obligatory contribution which every wealthy Muslim is required to pay to the Islamic state, or to distribute amongst the poor.

According to Islam, zakat – the third pillar of Islam – purifies wealth and souls. Zakat is levied on cash, cattle, agricultural produce, minerals, capital invested in industry and business.

There are two types of zakat:
Zakat al Fitr, which is payable by every Muslim able to pay at the end of Ramadan. This is also called Zakat al Nafs (poll tax).
Zakat al Maal is an annual levy on the wealth of a Muslim above a certain level. The rate paid differs according to the type of property owned.