Zakat: Charity

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12855

You've heard people complain about paying taxes. Not many enjoy that obligation, but taxes pay for building societies. Early Islam needed to build a community, part of which meant caring for the poor!


World Cultures, World Religions

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


How can we deal with the problem of poverty? Is it even our responsibility?

The money derived from taxes is used to pay for many different things.

Some of those things we may agree with and appreciate, and others not so much. While we think of paying taxes as a modern inconvenience, it seems that it was nearly as unavoidable centuries ago as it is today.

Watch the short video on the history of taxation below; as you watch, write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What did they collect taxes on?
  • What did taxes pay for?
  • How have taxes changed over time?

Now, watch the video, Tax 101: A Brief history of taxation, from USA Today:


Once you have finished watching the video, reflect on the following questions and record your responses in your notebook or journal:

  • What role do taxes play in building and maintaining society?
  • What do you think taxes should or should not be used for?
  • What connection, if any, do you see between religion and taxation?

You may be surprised to know that a major religion, Islam, requires its followers to pay a tax.

  • What is this tax, where does the money come from, and what does it pay for?

Learn more about the third Pillar of Islam, Zakat, in the Got It? section.

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