All things belong to God, and wealth is therefore held by

human beings in trust. The original

meaning of the word zakat is both

‘purification’ and ‘growth.’ Giving

zakat means ‘giving a specified percentage

on certain properties to certain

classes of needy people.’ The

percentage which is due on gold, silver,

and cash funds that have reached

the amount of about 85 grams of gold and held in possession for

one lunar year is two and a half percent. Our possessions are

purified by setting aside a small portion for those in need, and, like

the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages

new growth.

A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as

voluntary alms or charity.