This year, Shuroi Ulamo (Council of Ulamo -- an Islamic council that issues fatwas (religious rulings) and religious guidance to Islamic religious organizations) has set the contribution for zakat for Muslims having annual salary income above 20,400 somoni (TJS) at TJS510.00.

Zakat is based on income and the value of all of one's possessions.  It is customarily 2.5% (or 1/40th) of a Muslim's total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as nisab, but Islamic scholars differ on how much nisab is and other aspects of zakat.  The collected amount is paid first to zakat collectors, and then to poor Muslims, to new converts to Islam, to Islamic clergy, and others.

Today, in most Muslim-majority countries, zakat contributions are voluntary, while in a handful (Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen), zakat is mandated and collected by the state. 

The rate of Sadaqat al-Fitr, which is a duty which is required of every Muslim during the holy month of Ramadan, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so has been set this year at 5.00 somoni.

A source at the Shuroi Ulamo says the amount of Sadaqat al-Fitr is equivalent to the value of two kilograms of wheat.  

This year, the holy Islamic month of Ramadan started in Tajikistan on May 17. 

The fourth pillar of Islam, which is fasting, is practiced during the month of Ramadan.  Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat and sun-scorched ground.  It is the ninth month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, established in the year 638 CE.  It is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually-beneficial month of the Islamic year.  Prayers, fasting, charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting practiced by observant Muslims.  Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the predawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer.  They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.  Purity of both thought and action is important.  The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty.  The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm.  Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm.  It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.  Muslims can eat after the sun has set.  Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill, travelers and children who have not reached puberty are all exempt from fasting as lack of food and liquid in these situations could be detrimental to health.