I’ve been paying zakat diligently and imperfectly for years, learning along the way. It’s time for me to compile what I know in an article for everyone to learn. Disclaimer: Not a zakat expert. If any info is wrong, please help us learn and add your comments below
This article covers:
#1 – Types of zakat in Malaysia – did you know there are over 10 types!
#2 – How to pay zakat in Malaysia – which zakat to pay, how to calculate zakat, who to give zakat to
#3 – 2 tips to save money and time
Let’s start with,
#1 – Types of Zakat in Malaysia
According to Lembaga Zakat Selangor page, there are 9 types of zakat in Malaysia – Zakat Fitrah for the individual, plus 8 types of Zakat Harta:
Zakat Wang Simpanan
Zakat Emas & Perak
However, you have to know that different religious bodies may use different categorisation. For example, Pusat Pungutan Zakat MAIWP listed 11 types of zakat, which overlaps with some of the above and also:
I know, that is a LOT. There are SUBtypes too, but let’s not go there (Zakat Pelaburan includes ASB, REITs, Bonds, realised profit, unit trust, etc). I am aware there is a lot of confusion when it comes to paying zakat in Malaysia, even though people WANT to pay, so let’s cover the basics and head over to the next section.
#2 – How to pay Zakat in Malaysia
The basics of paying zakat are:
Find out which zakat(s) is applicable to you
Calculate how much you owe (if you do)
Make the payment(s) to zakat beneficieries
That’s the super-simplified version. Beyond that the rules are quite relaxed – there is no LHDN version of zakat authority to double-check your calculations or catch you if you don’t pay.
(Although let me remind you paying zakat is wajib, so do you really want to stay in hell for a few thousand years just to save money.)
Let’s expand on each of them a bit more:
1) Which zakat is applicable to you
Finding out which zakat is applicable to you is easy enough:
Make the payments to zakat beneficieries through online or offline channels
Note: Calculations on specific zakat can get incredibly complex. Some people simplify it and pay 2.5% on their income, savings and investment and just halal-kan the overpayment.
Zakat Fitrah is the easiest to pay among all the different types of zakat – there is no calculation, you are given the amount to pay. For example, this was the rate for 2021:
You’ll see a lot of reminders to pay Zakat Fitrah in Ramadhan, the most sunat time to pay. Last time it was quite common to pay Zakat Fitrah in person, at the booths they set up in public places, but nowadays it’s very easy – you can even pay through ewallets!
3) Who are the zakat beneficiaries
People/bodies who are eligible to receive zakat are:
(1) the poor,
(2) the needy,
(3) new converts,
(4) the debt-ridden,
(5) those in bondage (it used to refer to slaves, but now interpreted figuratively),
(6) Islamic causes (build mosques, etc),
(7) the wayfarers (people traveling and without resources, like refugees fleeing a country), and
(8) zakat administrators (people who distribute)
From what I’ve learned, it is okay to just give it directly to people in one of those eight categories. It is permissible. However it is better to sedekah what you can instead and channel your zakat to (8) zakat administrators.
That brings us to the next section-
#3 – 2 tips to save money and time when paying zakat in Malaysia
If you have to pay zakat anyway, why not optimise it right?
Tip #1: Claim zakat as tax rebate in Malaysia
For practical reasons, I pay my zakat to zakat administrators because they can do the distribution on my behalf… and also because I can claim the zakat payment as tax rebate.
If this is new info for you, I just want to confirm that yes, you can. So let’s say your payable Zakat amount was RM800, and your income tax was RM1000. After deducting zakat payment, you only pay the remaining RM200.
The most efficient way to do this is:
Pay zakat in December, after you added up your income for the whole year (also works if you pay zakat on monthly basis, via automated salary deduction or manually)
Get and keep the receipt
Deduct the amount from your payable tax amount when you file for income tax in the following year
Example: the receipt for zakat paid in 2020 can be claimed as tax rebate during income tax submission in 2021
Take note though, not all zakat beneficiaries can provide a receipt for zakat payment, so you need to check. As a general rule, zakat administrators at state level like Lembaga Zakat Selangor and Pusat Pungutan Zakat MAIWP will issue receipt upon zakat payment.
Other options that give receipt upon zakat payment includes UNHCR Zakat Fund (reader-suggested; I’ve never tried myself) and Global Sadaqah (pick the one tagged Zakat Eligible; I’ve done this option)
Tip #2: Choose investments that pay zakat on your behalf
Tip #2 is for those of you who want to pay Zakat Pelaburan perfectly but find the calculation confusing.
If you wish, you can make it easier on yourself by using two investment platforms in Malaysia:
Tabung Haji, and
Wahed Invest (I covered this in a section in my Wahed Invest Review article; use ‘surbin1’ to get RM10 when you open an account)
Both options automatically pays zakat on your behalf, without you having to manually calculate and pay.
Do you pay zakat? What other tips and advice can you add?
As a Muslim, I’m generally OK with paying zakat in Malaysia. I was told early on that as much as I try to generate halal income, some of my money will not be halal due to imperfections in the system. Therefore I accept it as a responsibility, plus I believe it’s a way for me to ‘cleanse’ my earnings.
However, my methods and knowledge here are in no way perfect, so I’d like to ask the more enlightened among you for additional tips and advice that can make zakat payment easier and more convenient.