A lot of the media in the United States associates Islam with violence and acts of terrorism. What a lot of people never get exposed to is the humane and peaceful side of the religion. One of the five pillars of Islam is called Zakat, the Arabic word for charity. Being the third pillar, it is required of all practicing Muslims. It is the process of donating a minimum of 2.5% of one’s wealth to charities that help people in need (The Guardian). One dimension of the purpose of this is to remove oneself from the greed of wealth and the attachment to world possessions. Another reason why is to observe humanity and learn to help one another in a time of need.
This is a core belief of Muslims throughout the world and is a pillar that they live by. In addition, Ramadan is a holy month in Islam where Muslims fast for thirty days. As a part of that sacred month they perform a special kind of charity, known as Zakat Al Fitr. This is when Muslims donate money to feed others who might not have the same access to food during Ramadan that they do. The head of the household usually pays on behalf of their whole family. These acts of year-round charity and kindness are a central part of Muslim’s lives. Each year these donations add up to millions and benefit lots of causes and needy people throughout the world (Voanews). It is an act that Muslims pride themselves in and a part of their faith that they cherish.