Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is Zakat covered by income tax, especially in Scandinavia?


Aslam-U-Ali-Kum. I live in Sweden and my question is simple. In Sweden income tax is very high in general. For me in particular I pay minimum of 30 % on major part of my salary and upto 50% on rest. Should I still pay Zakat?

My reasoning for not paying Zakat is that I understand that purpose of Zakat is so that everyone donates money according to their wealth, especially rich people so that the poor can afford basic needs like food, medical care, roof over their head, etc. Sweden is one of the best examples of that. The more you earn, the higher percentage of tax applies to you. Richest people in Sweden end up paying close to 55 %. This income tax is used to finance most of the social welfare structure in Sweden. Consequently, any resident, citizen or non-citizen, is entitled to highest quality of medical care for free. Their (citizens and non-citizens, despite religion) children are entitled for free education from daycare to university, and I mean totally free. You could be a citizen born from swedish parents or a refugee from Syria, both are entitled to same facilities FOR FREE. This to me is the true purpose of Zakat. That is why it seems a bit unfair if I have to pay Zakat on top of these high taxes. Only argument I have heard against this is that income tax in Sweden goes to providing free necessities for muslims as well as non-muslims and that is the reason I can't count it as Zakat. To me that sounds as a very strict interpretation of Zakat.

In many muslim countries, there are no or very little taxes but people pay Zakat regularly. However, you are not provided with basic medical care and education for free unless you are a citizen. If you are a poor muslim immigrant in such countries with very low paying job, you have no health insurance at all to support you are your family. I feel in such countries the purpose of Zakat is not fulfilled completely.


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2 Responses »

  1. Assalaamualaikam

    My understanding is that Zakat is separate from taxes. Taxes are a secular obligation in many countries, and go towards the maintenance of government infrastructure, etc., but may not reach the people most in need. In most countries, taxes tend to help the rich get richer, and don't really do much to help people in poverty improve their lives.

    Zakat is more than just giving some money. When we give Zakat, we think about where the money we give is going, and it is a personal connection and commitment to the people to whom we give it - this reminds us in a very real way, that we are fortunate and should give thanks to Allah for the good things in our life, as well as making us more aware that there are people in desperate need.

    Rather than thinking about Zakat as a burden, think of it as sharing the advantages you have been given, with brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. When we are calculating what to give, it's easy to think "but that's so much money - I could buy those new shoes/that new TV/those books I've been wanting" and give grudgingly. But the people who receive the money we give may well not have ever had a pair of shoes, or a roof over their head.

    Think for a moment about the people in the war-torn countries of the world - our brothers and sisters are fleeing for their lives, losing loved ones, not knowing if they will find a safe place to sleep tonight or food to eat tomorrow. When I think of what they're enduring, suddenly those new shoes don't seem nearly as important as they did.

    Zakat isn't a huge amount of money, and it isn't meant to financially cripple us. If we each give Zakat according to our means, inshaAllah we can help our brothers and sisters rebuild their lives, find shelter, have food to eat and to feed their families. We are one Ummah, so let's give from what we have earned to help those of us who are in need.

    Midnightmoon editor

  2. This is not our area of expertise. I suggest that you submit your question to They answer questions of this sort.

    Wael Editor

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