Fiqh Jurisprudence

Details on Zakah (Almsgiving Charity)


All praise is due to Allah The Exalted, and may Allah raise the rank of our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, his kind relatives and companions, and protect his nation from that which he feared for them thereafter.

It is obligatory for one to pay Zakah on:

1. Camels, cattle, sheep and goats;

2. Dates, raisins, and staple crops;

3. Gold, silver, the gold and silver ores, and the golden and silver treasure-troves (rikaz);

4. Trade articles;

5. The Fitr.

6. Zakah on currency (According to Abu Hanifah)

Zakah of Fitr

The Zakah of Fitr is due on every Muslim who is alive part of Ramadan and part of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan.)

According to Imam ash-Shafi^iyy (Radiallahu ^Anhu), the due Zakah for each is a “sa^” or four “mudds” (the fill of a pair of average-sized hands cupped together) of the most common staple food of one’s area.

However, according to Imam Abu Hanifah (Radiallahu ^Anhu), the due Zakah is three “mudds” of wheat or six “mudds” of dates, barley or raisins. Alternatively one may pay the value of these “mudds”. In the USA, it is estimated to be about $ 6.00.  One intends that any amount in excess of the due Zakah is given as a charitable donation.

It is an obligation upon the Muslim to pay the due Zakah for himself and his Muslim dependents if on the day of the Feast of Fitr (^Id-ul-Fitr) and the night after it he has enough to meet his debts, clothing, lodging, and sustenance, and the sustenance of those whom he must support.

Zakah on Currency – Zakatul-Maal (According to Abu Hanifah)

According to Imam Abu Hanifah (Radiallahu ^Anhu), Zakah is due on money currency. If one’s own money has the full Nisab (quotum), and a full year had lapsed on that amount, then the due Zakah is 2.5%. The nisabe of money would be similar to the value of the nisab of Gold or Silver.

We know that the value of gold and silver changes. Hence, we can say that the minimum nisab is 3 oz = 86 grams of gold or 21 oz = 595 grams of silver. One has to check the dollar value and pay it after they have had this gold (or silver) for a whole lunar year. The Hanafiyys have a certain way of calculating this Zakah. However, if one pays 1/40 = 2.5% one will be paying MORE than required. Hence, the person intends the extra amount to be Sadaqah – charity.

The hanafiyy say that one evaluates by what is more beneficial to the poor people. If your money constitutes a nisab of silver but not gold, then you must pay zakah according to the value of silver.

Zakah on Animals

The first quotum (nisab) of camels is five (5). The first quotum of cattle is thirty (30). The first quotum of sheep and goats is forty (40). No Zakah is due before having that first quotum. Once the quotum is established, a lunar year must lapse on it. The animals must have been grazed by the owner or any person authorized by him in a pasture not owned by anyone; and they must not be working animals. Animals which are put to work, like plow animals, are not subject to Zakah.

The obligatory Zakah for the first quotum of camels is a she-sheep which lost its baby teeth. The obligatory Zakah for the first quotum of sheep or goats is a she-sheep which lost its baby teeth or a two-year old she-goat. The obligatory Zakah for the first quotum of cattle is a one-year old bullock.

If one’s animals exceed that first quotum, it is one’s obligation to learn the amount of Zakah Allah has ordained one to pay on these animals.

Items Subject to Zakah

Zakah on Dates, Raisins, and Staple Crops

The first quotum of dates, raisins, and staple crops is five (5) wasqs which are equivalent to three-hundred sa^s,1 according to the sa^ of the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, whose measure is kept in al-Hijaz. Crops of the same type harvested in the same year are to be combined to check if a quotum is formed. Crops of different types are not required to be combined, like barley with wheat. Zakah is due upon:

1. The ripeness of the fruits i.e., when they are ready to be eaten; hence, no Zakah is due on unripe grapes or dates;

2. The hardening of the seeds of the crops.

The due Zakah is one-tenth of the harvest if one did not irrigate, and half of that if one irrigated at an expense. Proportionate Zakah is due upon what exceeds a quotum. No Zakah is due on what is less than a quotum. One can volunteer paying on what is less than a quotum, however.

Zakah on Gold and Silver, Gold and Silver Ores, and Golden and Silver Treasure-Troves (Rikaz)

The quotum of gold is twenty dinars,2 and the quotum of silver is two-hundred dirhams.3 After a lunar year has passed on the gold and silver, the due Zakah is one-fortieth of those amounts, and proportionate Zakah is due upon what exceeds the quotum. When gold and silver are extracted from the place where they were originally created, one-fortieth is the due Zakah. When gold or silver is found as a treasure-trove (rikaz), one-fifth is due. In these two cases the Zakah must be paid immediately.

Zakah on Trade Articles

The quotum of trade articles is the quotum of whichever they were bought with of gold and silver, and the Zakah is due at the end of the lunar year. The due Zakah is one-fortieth of the market value of these trade articles. Regarding the quotum and the Zakah due when the conditions of mixing have been satisfied, the mixed money of two or more persons is the same as that of one person.

Recipients of Zakah

For all types of Zakah, the intention is obligatory upon setting one’s Zakah aside. Zakah must be paid to the Muslims among the eight categories of people deserving of Zakah, who are in the town where the money is. The eight categories deserving of Zakah are as mentioned explicitly in the Qur’an (at-Tawbah, 61):

﴿ إنما الصدقاتُ للفقراءِ والمساكينِ والعاملينَ عليها والمؤلفةِ قلوبهم وفى الرقابِ والغارمينَ وفى سَبيلِ الله وابنِ السبيلِ ﴾

1. Those who are poor who earn less than half their basic needs (al-fuqara’);

2. Those who are poor who earn half but less than all their basic needs (al-masakeen);

3. The Zakah workers who are assigned by the caliph (al-^amilun ^alayha);

4. The new converts to Islam whose hearts are to be reconciled (al-mu’allafatu quloobuhum);

5. The slaves who are short in satisfying their contract for purchasing their freedom from their owners (ar-riqab);

6. Those who are unable to pay their debts (al-gharimoon);

7. The volunteer fighters (fi sabeelillah);

8. The travellers who do not have enough to enable them to reach their destination (ibn-us-sabil).

It is neither permissible nor valid to pay Zakah to other than those eight types of people specifically mentioned; that is why it is not valid to pay Zakah for every charitable project.

We humbly ask Allah to enlighten us with the light of Knowledge, and keep us steadfast to the path of truth and righteousness. Ameen.

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