Fiqh Jurisprudence

The Zakah of Fitr, Gold, Silver and Money

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, 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, 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 one and one’s Muslim dependants if on the day of the Feast of Fitr (^Id-ul- Fitr) and the night after it one has enough to meet one’s debts, clothing, lodging, and sustenance, and the sustenance of those whom one must support.

The man must pay the Zakah of Fitr for his wife, non-pubescent children, and poor Muslim parents. He may not pay for his pubescent children or solvent parents without their permission. It is permissible to pay the FitrZakah any time during Ramadan, even on the first night. However, it is recommended to pay it during the day of the Feast and before the ^Id Prayer, because this mends the hearts of the poor people before the Prayer. It is prohibited to delay paying the Fitr Zakah until after the sunset of the day of the Feast without an excuse.

Zakah on Gold and Silver

The Nisab (quotum) of Gold is 20 mithqal (1440 grains of barely) which is 84.875 grams of pure gold, so about 85 grams for pure gold.

This is evaluated to 86 grams for 24karat gold, and 97 grams for 21karat gold, and 114 grams for 18karat gold. And for other karats, one needs to evaluate how much of pure gold it pertains and based on that will give the zakah if there is about 85grams of pure gold or more.

The Nisab of Silver is 200 dirham (10080 grains of barely) which is 594.125 grams of pure silver, and some evaluated it as 595 grams of pure silver.

The Zakah is due after the elapse of one lunar year on the full Nisab. One has to give in as zakah from that 1/4 of 1/10 of the market value of these, i.e., 1/40th which is 2.5% of the market value. And according to some renowned scholars, one may evaluate the %2.5 of the nisab with monetary value and give the money as Zakah to any of the 8 types of people mentioned in al-Qur’an.

Zakah on Curreny – Zakatul-Maal

According to Imam Abu Hanifah, 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.

Recipients of Zakah

For all types of Zakah, the intention is obligatory upon setting one’s Zakah portion aside or paying it to the deserving people. Zakah must be paid to the eight categories of Muslims deserving of Zakah 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 what meets all their basic needs (al-masakin);
  3. The Zakah workers who are assigned by the caliph (al-^amiluna ^alayha);
  4. The new converts to Islam whose hearts are to be reconciled (al-mu’allafatu qulubuhum);
  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-gharimun);
  7. The volunteer fighters (fi sabilillah);
  8. The travelers 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 Muslims specifically mentioned above.  Hence, it is not valid to pay Zakah to any charitable project, hospital, or the like.

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