Important Issues on Zakat
This treatise aims at exhorting and reminding the significance of the Zakât towards which most of the Muslims are very careless as they are not particular in giving it out, in spite of the fact that it is one of the five pillars of Islam and that without it Islam cannot be firmly established.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Islam is based on five (pillars): To testify that there is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; To offer Salât (prayer); To pay Zakât (obligatory charity); To observe Saum (fasts during the month of Ramadan) and; To perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).”
It is obligatory upon every Muslim, in possession of wealth, to pay Zakât (obligatory charity). This Islamic command possesses plenty of advantages of which some are mentioned below:
- It meets the needs of the poor of the society.
- It strengthens the good relation between the rich and the poor, as everyone is naturally inclined towards the one who does good to him.
- It purifies one’s self and sanctifies it; and it purges one’s moral of covetousness and miserliness; as is stated in the Qur’ân:“Take Sadaqa (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it” (9:103).
- It promotes open-handedness, generosity and sympathy in a Muslim towards the needy persons.
- It draws Allah’s blessing; causes increase in wealth and the replacement of spent out; as Allah describes:“And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s cause), He will replace it. He is the Best of those Who grant Sustenance.” (34:39).
And also the Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated in an authentic Hadith that Allah says:
“O Children of Adam! If you give (in Allah’s cause), We shall give you.”
And there are many more benefits in it.
On the contrary, a severe punishment would incur upon those who act miserly and are negligent in paying out the Zakât. Allah describes regarding them:
“And those who hoard up gold and silver (Al-Kanz––the money, the Zakât of which has not been paid), and spend it not in the Way of Allah,––announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver, etc., the Zakât of which has not been paid) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs: (and it will be said unto them): ‘This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard’.” (9: 34, 35)
The above verses clarify that the wealth of which Zakât has not been paid, is a hoarded treasure for which its owner would be punished on the Day of Resurrection. The same has also been described by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the following Hadith:
“If any owner of gold or silver does not pay what is due on him, when the Day of Resurrection would come, plates of fire would be beaten out for him; these would then be heated in the fire of Hell, and his sides, his forehead and his back would be cauterised with them. Whenever these cool down, (the process is) repeated during a day the extent of which would be fifty thousand years, until judgement is pronounced among slaves, and he sees whether his path is to take him to Paradise or to Hell.”
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed of the owners of the camels, cows, and goats; who do not pay their Zakât, that they would be punished on the Day of Judgement.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakât of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection, his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes (or two poisonous glands in its mouth). The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure’.”
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the noble verse:
“And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them (and so they do not pay the obligatory Zakât). Nay, it will be worse for them; the things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on the Day of Resurrection.” (3:180)
Zakât is obligatory on the following four types of property:
- The produce of earth, like grains and fruits.
- The grazing animals.
- Gold and silver.
- Commercial commodities.
For all types of properties, Nisab (minimum amount of property liable to the payment of Zakât) is fixed, below which no Zakât would be imposed on them.
The minimum quantity for the first category i.e. grains, fruits, (wheat, rice, dates, grapes, barley, etc.) is 5 (five) Wasq and one Wasq (approx. 135 kgs.) is 60 (sixty) Sâ‘ according to the Sâ‘ of the Prophet, and one Sâ‘ is equivalent to nearly four times of both handsful of a man of average built.
Moreover, if in cultivation, irrigation was made through rains or canal or fountain and like this without any effort, one-tenth of the total produce is due to be paid as Zakât.
If the field was irrigated by waterwheels, and other devices for irrigation which involved labour; twentieth part of the total produce is to be paid as Zakât.
And regarding the Zakât of animals, detailed study of it may be had from the authentic Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or from scholars of Ahadith, as we intend in this booklet only a brief account of the subject.
And the minimum amount (Nisâb) of silver for the Zakât to be due on it, is 140 (one hundred and forty) Mithqâl, which is equivalent to 56 (fifty-six) Saudi Riyals.
And the Nisâb of gold is 20 (twenty) Mithqâl which is equivalent to 113/7 (eleven and three-seventh) Saudi Junaih or 92 (ninety-two) grams.
Now, the Zakât due on both gold and silver is one-fortieth (1/40 or 2.5%) of the total amount (quantity) provided one is in possession of at least the minimum amount (Nisâb) as mentioned above, of both or any one of them, and a year has passed over them.
But as regards Zakât on the benefit derived from the capital (i.e. original amount), the condition of passing over one year on it, does not apply. The benefit would be included in the capital (original amount) at the time of calculation for payment of Zakât; and likewise the new births in grazing animals will be added to the original number of animals for the payment of Zakât, if the original number reaches the Nisâb and completes a year without any consideration of time passed over the new births.
The same ruling, as in gold and silver, holds good in the case of currency notes, coins or bills also, whether be it dirham or dinar or dollar or others, provided its value reaches the minimum amount (Nisâb) of either gold or silver; and a year has passed over it. When the above conditions are fulfilled, one-fortieth part (1/40 or 2.5%) of the total value would be given out as Zakât.
The same would apply to the ornaments of the women, made from gold or silver for personal use or lending as loan, when these reach the Nisâb and one year has passed over them, in line with the opinions of authentic scholars in the light of Prophet’s saying:
“If any owner of gold or silver does not pay the Zakât due on him, when the Day of Resurrection would come, plates of fire would be beaten out for him; these would then be heated in the fire of Hell and his sides, his forehead and his back would be cauterised with them. Whenever these cool down, (the process is) repeated during a day the extent of which would be fifty thousand years, until judgement is pronounced among slaves, and he sees whether his path is to take him to Paradise or to Hell.”
It is narrated that once the Prophet (peace be upon him) :
On seeing a woman with two bracelets of gold in her hands, asked her whether she gave out the Zakât of it. When she replied in negative, he (peace be upon him) said, “Would it please you if Allah puts on you two bracelets made of fire.” On hearing this, she put off these and said, “These are for Allah and His Messenger.” (Abu Daud, Nasâi)
Also it is narrated by Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her):
While she was wearing an anklet of gold, she asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) , “O Messenger of Allah! Is it a Kanz (a hoarded wealth).” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “If it has been purified (by paying Zakât of it), it is not a Kanz (hoarded wealth).”
This command is also supported by other Ahadith.
As regards the Zakât on commercial commodities, its value would be assessed at the end of one year and one-fortieth (1/40 or 2.5%) part of the present value would be given out as Zakât, no matter its present value is equal to the purchase value or it is more or less. It is in accordance with the Hadith narrated by Samurah (may Allah be pleased with him) :
“Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) enjoined us to give out Sadaqah (Zakât) from whatever we prepare for sale.” (Abu Daud)
This includes lands for sale, buildings, cars, machinery for deriving water or any other article obtained for sale.
As for buildings constructed for rent but not for sale, Zakât should be paid on the rent after a year passes over it; but the building itself is not liable for Zakât as it is not an item for sale. Likewise, personal cars and those for hire are not liable for Zakât since they are not meant for sale as the owner has purchased it for his use. And if the owner of the rental cars accumulates the returns up to the amount that is liable for Zakât, then he should pay Zakât if one year passes over such money whether he had kept it for personal expenses, or for expenses in marriage, or for such as settling debts or buying real estate or for any other purpose; this is in accordance with the evidence of Shariah on the obligation of Zakât. According to the authentic views of scholars, debt can not be an excuse for nonpayment of Zakât.
Similar is the case for the wealth or money of orphans and mentally retarded people; when it reaches the Nisâb and a year passes over it the Zakât must be paid, and their guardians should give out the Zakât on their behalf when a year passes over the goods. According to the Hadith narrated by Mu‘adh, when he was sent to Yemen, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him:
“Verily Allah imposes upon them Sadaqah (alms) on their wealth to be taken from the rich and then given to the poor.”
Zakât is Allah’s right and so it is not allowed to give it to someone not deserving with the intention to gain his favour; nor a person, who doesn’t deserve it, is allowed to use it for making gains or saving himself from harm. Rather a Muslim should give out Zakât to those who deserve it on grounds that they are among the people entitled to it and not with any other intention; it should be given out with good faith and solely to please Allah and in this way he will get Allah’s reward and replacement.
Allah categorizes those who deserve Zakât in His Noble Qur’ân:
“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqara (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds) and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debts; and for Allah’s cause (i.e. for Mujahidun––those fighting in the holy battles) and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (9:60)
From this glorious verse ending with the two great attributes of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) we get the warning that He, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) is aware of the state of His slaves and of those among them who deserve or do not deserve Zakât. In this verse Allah further tells us that He is Wise in His Shariah and so he does not put anything except in the right position; and hence if anything about His Shariah is not clear to anyone, even then he should be satisfied with it and obey its commands.
May Allah grant us knowledge in His religion and sincerity in implementing it, and help us in the performing of deeds leading to His Pleasure, and save from the deeds leading to His Anger. Verily, He is All-Hearer and Nearer.
May Allah bless His slave and His Messenger and his family and his Companions.