What is Zakat?
Zakat is an obligatory act ordained by Allah to be performed by every adult and able bodied Muslim. It is an important pillar among the five pillars of Islam. Zakat is a part of the wealth and property that Muslims must pay annually, to help the poor of their community. One of the main purposes of Zakat is to keep those who are wealthy clean, monetarily, from sin. It is a form of Sadaqah (charity) which is obligatory on Muslims.
Zakat literally means "to be clear, to grow, to increase." It comes from the root letters za, kaf, ya, which has several meanings: to be clean [Al-Quran Chapter 24: Verse 21, Chapter 23: Verse 4], to pay the obligatory charity [Al-Quran 2:43], to be pure, innocent [Al-Quran 19:19, 18:74], to be better in purity [Al-Quran 18:81, 19:13], and to praise oneself, to justify [Al-Quran 53:32]. It has been used in the Quran to mean all of these things. It can also be considered a form of sadaqah (charity), given to the poor.