Zakah is a portion of ones wealth that must be given to the poor or to other specified causes. The word zakah comes from the verb intending to purify or cleanse. It is the third Pillar of Islam and is compulsory for all those who are financially able.
Zakah is of the pillars of Islam and is an obligation performed on a regular basis. Zakah is not an option it is a compulsory act for all Muslims. It is a contribution paid four times a year on savings of and a half percent. This giving is to cleanse your money and possessions from excessive desire for them or greed. The idea is, that by giving this money you learn not to place much importance on material wealth (money and possessions).
Zakah means the giving of a specific share of ones wealth and savings to persons or causes that Allah (God) mentions in the Quran. The normal share to be paid is and a half percent of ones saved earnings. This is applicable to money, bank savings and jewelry. The rate for cattle and agricultural produce is different. The Quran mentions zakah, together with salat (ritual Prayer), as a type of worship; and in that respect it differs from ordinary charity, which is optional, and from tax, which a government imposes from time to time at variable rates and for various makes use of. The money from zakah can be used only for specific purposes under fixed headings - like helping the poor, the needy, to pay the salaries of those collecting it, to free captives and debtors, for travelers in require, to win over hearts and for the reason for Allah (God) (Quran 9: 60).