Frequently asked questions

When can I pay my Zakat?

Zakat should be paid as soon as possible prior to or at the time you’ve earned the requisite amount of nisab each lunar year, or one year after you last paid it.
Tip: A good way to ensure zakat is paid in a timely fashion is to pay your zakat during Ramadan.
Who can receive zakat among relatives?
Zakat can be given to one’s brother, sister, nephew, niece, paternal or maternal uncle, paternal or maternal aunt, father-in-law, mother-in-law, step-grandfather, or step-grandmother provided they do not have nisab. According to some narrations, relatives have more rights on you.
Do I have to pay zakat on my home?
One does not have to pay zakat on a primary place of residence. if the house qualifies as a secondary residence that sometimes gets rented out, however zakat is due on its income after subtracting necessary expenses.
Do I have to pay zakat on my stocks?
Yes. You should use the current value on stocks.
I normally give a lot of money in charity throughout the year, do I still have to pay zakat?
Zakat must be paid with the intention of paying zakat. if one gives any other charity, it cannot be counted as zakat as they did not have the needed intention, thus you would still have to pay zakat.
Do I have to pay my zakat on jewelry?
Yes, on jewelry you do not regularly wear and that you own for investment purposes. 
What is the difference between zakat and Zakat Al-Fitr?
Zakat al-Mal (commonly called zakat) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is about 3 kilograms of wheat, rice or dates its equivalent in value, estimated at $7 in 2021.

CAIR-CA’S GUIDELINES FOR ZAKAT ALLOCATIONS

Several scholars, including Sheikh Ahmad Kutty and Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, agree that all of CAIR-CA’s work is zakat-eligible because it collectively advances the services that are provided to the community, fi Sabilillah. However, there are other scholars with a more restrictive definition of zakat eligibility. To accommodate the vast range of religious opinions on this matter, CAIR-CA adheres to specific guidelines to ensure the strictest allocation of zakat funds.

Donors may designate their zakat funds to be allocated towards a specific area of work (e.g., Civic Engagement, Legal Services, and Youth Empowerment). Where a donor does not restrict their zakat donation, CAIR-CA will allocate those funds to programs and services which directly help protect the rights of Muslims. They will be allocated as follows:

  • Funds will be allocated to the Legal Department (Civil Rights & Immigration) and the Policy, Advocacy, Government Relations work. This consists of all expenses related to the departments (i.e., program costs, communications, salaries, benefits, management, etc.)
    • Justification:
      • Legal work provides direct services and programs to the community, especially for those with no financial means to receive it otherwise.
      • Policy, Advocacy, Government Relations work leads to the creation of laws that protect the rights of Muslims to freely practice their religion in America.
  • Funds will not be allocated toward:
    • Fundraising expenses (i.e. banquets, direct mail, etc.)
    • Administrative expenses (i.e. office rent, utilities, etc.)
  • Funds received between January 1st to December 31st will be allocated in the same year.
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