Basic Issues Concerning Zakat
“The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
(The Holy Qur’an 9:60).
Zakat is the 3rd Pillar of Islam after Testimony of Faith and Prayers.
The word Zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need. .
Zakat is mentioned along with Salat (prayer) in 30 verses of the Holy Quran.
Every person should be knowing basic issues concerning Zakah as it may become applicable in our lives
Learning Objectives of this blog include:
- What kind of things requires paying Zakat on them?
- Is Zakat necessary on Gold?
- Who are entitled to give Zakat?
- What is Nisab?
- How to calculate Zakat on gold?
- Who Has to Pay the Zakah in the Family?
- What kinds of things do NOT require paying Zakat on them?
- Who are entitled to receive Zakat?
- Who are NOT eligible for Zakat?
- Consequence of giving Zakat on the Economy
What kinds of Things Require Paying Zakat on them?
- Gold and Silver
- Cash (including loans, funds, trusts etc)
- Business commodities (merchandise & stocks for sale etc)
- Property (plots, cars, shops etc) intended for sale
- Rent received from house, shops, car etc (not on whole house, but on rent)
- Livestock Animals: Cows, Camels, Goats including sheep
- Wheat, Barley, dates and raisins and other
- Agricultural Produce (1 lunar year does not need to pass, give at harvest)
Note: Zakat will be calculated on total worth of lunar year savings in Gold, silver, cash etc
Is Zakat necessary on Gold?
According to Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), Zakat has to be given on Gold whether it is being worn or not. This is considered as the more correct opinion.
- Holy Quran:
- “And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.” (9: 34-35)
- Hazrat Asma bint Yazid reported: “My aunt and I, while wearing gold bracelets went to the Prophet (PBUH). He asked: ‘Did you pay their Zakah?’ She related that they had not. The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Do you not fear that Allah will make you wear a bracelet of fire? Pay its Zakah.“(Ahmed)
- Hazrat Aisha RA narrated: “The Messenger of Allah came to me and saw me wearing silver rings, whereupon, he asked: ‘What is this, Aisha?’ I replied: ‘I made them to adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘Did you pay their Zakah?’ I said: ‘No, or what Allah wishes.’ Then he said: ‘Their punishment in Hell is enough for you.’“(Abu Dawood)
Who are Entitled to Give Zakat
For Zakat to be fardh (due) on a person he has to own the nisab value.
‘Minimum amount saved in a lunar year upon which Zakah becomes obligatory.’
- Savings maybe in form of cash, gold etc
- Year may be from Muharram to Muharram or Ramadhan to Ramadhan, depends in which month or better which day of the Islamic calendar a person takes yearly account of his savings and pays Zakah.
- Is taken as 7.5 tola gold (87.48 grams) or 52. 5 tola (612.36 grams) silver (some scholars take as 7.5 tola gold or 85 grams gold and 595 grams silver)
- If a person owns gold, the Nisaab should be taken as 7.5 tola or 85 gm gold
- In terms of currency, according to majority of scholars, Nisab is equivalent to the price of 52.5 tola silver or 595 gm silver (the lower value as opposed to higher value of 7.5 tola Gold)
- 1 tola silver now a days is 700 Pakistan rupees. So 52. 5 tola silver is around 36, 750 rupees (depends on its rate day to day)
- There is different Nisab on Animal stock (camels, goat, sheep and cows) and dates, barley, and other agricultural produce (Not discussed in this blog)
- If total amount of all commodities combined (gold, silver, cash etc) reaches the equivalent in cash to the Nisab of gold in a country, then Zakat has to be given according to most scholars.
These figures are ONLY valid in Pakistan. For others please check rates of Gold & Silver and the Nisab fixed by local scholars of your country for the specific year. If not sure of Nisab fixed by scholars, find out rate of silver. 52.5 Tola or 595 grams silver equivalent in cash will be the Nisab.
1st Opinion: 7.5 Tola Gold Taken as Nisaab
Nisaab is taken as 7.5 tola gold (85 gm) or its equivalent in cash.
Reason: The gold: silver ratio (7: 1) described below, has been disturbed so as the price of silver has not risen as rapidly as the price of gold)
At the time of the Holy Prophet, the price of a good camel was around 85 gm of gold, (today 375,000 PK rupees), and the price of such a camel today is around about the same. The value of 52.5 tola of silver has not risen that much and is about 36-37 000 PK rupees.
And a poor person cannot afford to buy a camel worth 3-4 lakh rupees.
Also with this opinion, any one having less than this amount in gold or its equivalent in cash or combination of gold, silver, cash or other savings, can receive Zakat.
2nd Opinion: 52.5 Tola Silver Taken as Nisaab
This is around 36750 Pakistani Rupees with current rate of 700 Rs/tola of Silver
How can Nisab be 36750 when this amount is not even worth 1 tola of gold (which is 50,000 rupees); it was stated above that Nisab is 7.5 tola of gold?
Zakah on Gold in Current Paper Money System with Proofs:
1. The answer is because of yet another evil of paper currency
The value of gold has increased tremendously relative to price of silver. Value of dinar (gold) in Islamic history has always been 7 Times the value of dirham (silver).
Hence the 7: 1 ratio (7.5 – 52. 5 or 87.48 gm: 612.36 gm ratio or 85 to 595 gm)
Islamic dinar is a coin of pure gold weighing 4.25 grams. The Islamic dirham coin is 2.975 grams of pure silver. Again ratio is 7: 1)
This ratio has been disturbed by fraudulent paper money
Read the following article before proceeding further:
The above issue does not absolve oneself of paying Zakah on gold savings
Thus if one has e.g. 5 tola of gold saved with him/her since 1 lunar year, 2. 5% Zakah is now due on him
First evaluate lowest price of 1 tola gold in last lunar year i.e. about 50000 rupees
So 5 tola gold worth = 250000
Zakah due = 250000 x 2. 5 % = 6250 rupees
This is besides the Zakah due on cash and other items
Further Proofs of the 2nd Opinion
2. If Nisab is taken as 7.5 tola gold, this would imply:
7.5 tola of gold would be about 375000 rupees today which would make most people ineligible to pay Zakah.
(However if they have 52.5 tola silver equivalent to 36, 750 rupees, they are eligible for Zakah; looks very illogical)
3. Also it sounds illogical that a person who has 370,000 rupees or even 37,000 rupees in cash has to give Zakah but if he has 350,000 rupees worth of Gold ( 7 tola of gold), he does not have to pay Zakah!
4. Gold as means of Investment
A person can avoid paying most of the zakah by transferring his money into assets that do not fall under “money” or “medium of exchange” like gold or diamonds or other precious stones (mentioned below).
As some scholars including Dr. Zakir Naik state that diamonds or other precious stones are liable for Zakah if intended for investment or has a market value. So same should apply to gold as well.
“Assets subject to zakah are those that either fall within the definition of money or are items having a market value”. This means that any item that can be acquired for “trade and resale” is subject to zakah even if it is not actually acquired for that purpose, for such an item necessarily has a market value.
5. Also proved by the fact that if someone has even 1 tola of gold, he/she CANNOT RECEIVE zakat!
6. More Proof
If someone has gold less than 7.5 tola and some cash for a whole lunar year, whose combined worth is more than Nisab of 52.5 tola/595 gram silver, then Zakat also becomes compulsory on the net worth .
Zakat on Buying or Selling Price of Gold and Silver?
Zakat is on current selling price of gold or silver after one year of its saving, irrespective of its buying price.
Who Has to Pay the Zakah in the Family?
- Each member of family is considered individually
- Zakah is to be paid by each owner or on behalf of owner if above Nisab i.e father, mother, children if they all own and save above Nisab level
- If wife/child owns but does have the money to pay Zakah and the husband/father is not willing to pay it, she will have to give from her own money or sell off some of the gold etc to pay the Zakah or pay off Zakah by some other means
How to Pay Zakat on Salary, other sources of income?
- If a person has already reached nisab of zakat, and he earns more money/income during the year, he or she has to pay zakat on TOTAL amount of wealth on the due date of paying zakat.
What kinds of things do NOT require paying Zakah on them?
- Savings in cash, gold etc (individually or in combination) that do not reach amount of Nisab
- Some things that are of personal use e.g.
- Car, motorcycle etc
- Household items like Crockery, Fridge, Computer, TV etc
- No Zakah on Machinery e.g. in factories etc
- However, if one has excess of above items e.g. two homes, two cars etc, then Zakah will have to be paid if the extra home, car etc is used for commercial purposes, like putting on rent or intended for sale.
- If intended as investment for sale, then Zakah is on whole house or car. If put on rent, then zakat will be on the rent (if it reaches level of nisab)
Who are Entitled to Receive Zakah?
“The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.”
(The Holy Qur’an 9:60).
Zakah is distributed among 8 asnaf (categories) of people, mentioned in the Holy Quran in the verse above, namely:
- Fuqaraa: (The Poor): Those who own valuables (gold, silver, cash etc) in excess of basic necessities but below the value of Nisab (even if owns a house, car, household furniture, utensils, clothes or other similar things). The two opinions on amount of Nisab given above.
- Masakeen: (The Needy) Persons of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
- Aamileen: (Zakah collectors): Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakah. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
- Muallafatul Quloob (Reverts to Islam): Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakah with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
- Ar-Riqaab: slaves whose masters have agreed to set them free on a payment of a fixed amount. Zakah may be used to purchase their freedom.
- Ibnus-Sabeel: A traveler, who, whilst wealthy at his residence, is stranded and in need of financial assistance.
- Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceed his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.
- Fi Sabeelillah: Those who are away from home in the path of Allah. Those in Jihaad, those seeking knowledge or a stranded Haji may be assisted with Zakah if they are in need.
Zakah can be given in cash or in the form of clothes, etc
Zakah can be given in installments throughout the year or as a wholesome.
- If a person especially of the first two categories mentioned above has wealth (in cash, gold etc) above the level of Nisab, Zakah cannot be given to that person.
Who Do NOT Have to Give Zakat
- Those who do not have savings up to Nisab level
- Non-Muslims do not have to give Zakah. They have to pay Jizya (a special tax in Islam for Non-Muslims residing in an Islamic estate)
Who are not Eligible for Receiving Zakah?
- Descendants of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
- Non-Muslims (Islamic state responsibility, if they are poor or needy)
- A person who has accumulative wealth (cash, gold etc) of more than the Nisab
- A person who is a dependent e.g. wife, children, parents (however can be given to poor, needy brothers or sisters and even better)
Consequences of Giving Zakah on the Economy
- From the discussion above, it can be concluded that almost everyone is either eligible to receive Zakah OR give Zakah.
- One has to be very careful while calculating his/her Zakat and be careful to give Zakat on only whom it is due.
- If each and everyone in the country annually gave the right amount of Zakah to those who deserve it, this will reduce poverty to a great extent.
- There will be less public uprising or unrest
- There will be less financial corruption, thefts, robbery etc
- Remember how strictly the first Caliph of Islam Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) dealt with those refused to pay Zakah. He waged WAR against them. Beware!
- And Allah knows Best
If there are any questions, one may ask.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is difference between Zakah and taxes? Do we have to pay Zakah if we are paying taxes?
Zakah is ordered by Allah
Taxes ordered by state (which may be Islamic or Non-Muslim country)
Zakah is given to the specific eight categories of people mentioned above
Remember Zakat is on one year savings and this includes deduction of taxes paid. So if a person still has enough money to give Zakat even aftet paying taxes, why should he be exempt from paying zakat?
Taxes in general terms are a financial obligation imposed by the state on people, from which the state spends on the public interest, such as transportation, health, education and so on.
How does one know for guarantee that his/her taxes reach those 8 category of people?
Taxes come under the heading of man-made systems, and are not prescribed by Allah, may He be exalted. As for Zakah, it is divinely ordained and it is one of the greatest acts of worship in Islam.
Some people do not pay Zakah on their wealth, because they think that the taxes they pay to the state are sufficient, but this is not permissible, because taxes are one thing and Zakah is something else altogether.
The scholars Fatwa says:
“It is not permissible to regard the taxes that the owners of wealth pay on their wealth as coming under the heading of the Zakah on that on which it is obligatory to give Zakah. Rather it is obligatory to give the Zakah ordained by Allah to those who are entitled to it according to shari’ah, as Allah, says in the Holy Quran (9: 60)(to the eight categories of people)”
Therefore, with regard to the taxes that are decreed by the state and imposed on the people, they have nothing to do with what Allah has enjoined upon them of giving the zakah of their wealth.
Besides even the poor deserving people are indirectly paying taxes.
As far as imposing taxes by the state, whether it is permissible or not, that is a different discussion.
2. Is there Zakah on Diamond Jewelry or other Precious Stones?
The majority of scholars are of the view that no zakah is due on precious stones unless they are for trade.
Some scholars have added that because of the rocket high prices of diamonds, sometimes even being more costly than gold, Zakah is necessary on diamonds if used as an investment. Explanation has been given above.
And Allah knows best.
Misconceptions about Zakaah!
Misconception # :
I pray, dont I? Whats the big deal if I dont give Zakaah?
Zakaah is one of the PILLARS of Islam and NOT an option. It is just as important to ones faith as Salaah. In fact, anyone who denies it is a Kaafir and the Prophet (pbuh) and his Sahaba waged war against such persons even though they uttered the Shahadah and prayed Salaah.
About such people Abu Bakr said:
“By God! I shall certainly wage war against the people who discriminate between Salaah and Zakaah.” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
Misconception # 2: But it will decrease my wealth!
Abu Hurayra said that the Prophetﷺ said,
“Whoever is given wealth by Allaah and does not pay the Zakaah due thereupon shall find that on the Day of Arising it is made to appear to him as a hairless snake with two black specks, which chains him, and then seizes him by his jaw and says, -I am your wealth! I am your treasure!’
Then he recited the verse, ‘Let not those who are miserly with what God has given them of His bounty think that this is good for them. Rather, it is bad for them. That which they withhold shall be hung around their necks on the Day of Arising. [3:180] (Bukhaari) 💵💷💶💴
Misconception # 3: I dont have to pay Zakaah every year.
Zakaah is an obligation that must be paid each year.
The Prophet ﷺ used to send the zakaah-collectors to the tribes and cities, and they did not differentiate between those who had paid their zakaah the previous year and those who had not, rather they used to take the zakaah that was due on all the “zakaatable” wealth that people possessed.
Misconception # 4: I never paid Zakaah before, I will just repent and that should be enough
The one who never paid Zakaah before should repent to Allaah first. Then he should estimate the amount of Zakaah that was due on him over the years as best he can, and pay it as soon as possible
Misconception # 5: I dont have to pay Zakaah if I owe a debt
The one who has any “zakatable” wealth must pay zakaah on it, when one year has passed since he acquired it, even if he has debts, according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. The Prophet ﷺ used to command his agents to take zakaah from those who owed zakaah, and he did not tell them to ask them whether they had any debts or not. (Majmoo Fataawa -Abd al-Azeez ibn Baaz)
Misconception # 6: I will waive my debt and count that as Zakaah
The Prophet ﷺ said to Muaadh ibn Jabal, when he sent him to Yemen : “Teach them that Allaah has enjoined upon them zakaah on their wealth, to be taken from their rich and given to their poor.”
He ﷺ explained that zakaah is something which is to be taken and given, so on this basis it is not permissible to let off someone who owes you money and count that as zakaah, because letting someone off a debt does not involve taking and giving.
(Fataawa Manaar al-Islam by Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen)
Shaykh al-Islam said: “letting someone off a debt does not relieve one of the obligation of zakaah, and there is no scholarly dispute on this matter. But you can give this needy person some of your zakaah and he can meet his needs using what you give him as zakaah; and Allaah will help him to pay off his debt in the future, inshaAllaah.”
Misconception # 7: I have lent someone some money. I dont have to pay Zakaah on it.
In this situation, there can be two scenarios;
1. If the borrower is rich and is known to repay debts promptly: The lender has to pay Zakaah annually on the money lent, because it is possible to recover the money readily and it is like money that is in ones possession.
2. If it is unlikely that the lender will get his money back or the borrower is known to delay repayment: Then the lender does not have to pay zakaah before he gets the money back, because it is not readily accessible and is not like money that is in ones possession.
Misconception# 8: I pay my taxes so I dont have to pay Zakaah!
The taxes we pay are to govt , not to Allah to Whom the Zakaah is due. And this Zakaah money is to be only spent according to the rules of Shareeah in certain specific ways. Thus, it is not permissible for the taxes we pay on our wealth to be counted as part of Zakaah. The obligatory Zakaah must be paid separately.
Misconception # 9: I will use the money that I receive from my bank as interest to pay off Zakaah
First of all, putting money in the bank in return for interest is a kind of riba which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and it is a major sin. The Prophetﷺ cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it. (Muslim)
This money cannot be used to pay Zakaah or other kinds of charity since it is impure and a haraam form of wealth
Misconception # 10: I will pay Zakaah on whatever is OVER the Nisaab
If ones wealth surpasses the amount of nisaab, then Zakaah is due upon it ALL, and not upon the surplus only.
Misconception # 11: Zakaah is due on precious gems, stones and diamonds
No zakaah is due on gems, precious stones, diamonds, etc. unless they are prepared for trade, in which case they come under the same ruling as all other trade goods
Misconception # 12: I will buy diamonds so that I dont have to pay Zakaah
Some people try to get out of Zakaah by investing in diamonds, since no Zakaah is due on them, and think they can outsmart Allah. Doesnt Allaah know whats in our hearts and minds?
They forget that Zakaah is due on them if they are prepared for trade.
“They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive none except themselves, though they do not sense it.“ (Surah al-Baqarah: 9)
Misconception # 13: The husband HAS to pay Zakaah on the wifes jewelry and wealth!
It is NOT the husbands duty to pay Zakaah on his wifes jewelry, wealth, etc. Rather, it is her responsibility, since she is the possessor of the wealth. If her husband or someone else pays zakaah on her behalf with her permission, that is o.k., and he will be rewarded for this voluntary action.
Misconception # 14: I only have gold, but I do not have any money. So, I dont have to pay Zakaah….
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said: “Zakaah must be paid on jewelry if it reaches the nisaab (minimum threshold), which is 85 grams. If it reaches this amount, zakaah must be paid on it. If she has other wealth and pays from that, there is nothing wrong with it. If her husband or one of her relatives pays it on her behalf, there is nothing wrong with that. If neither of these options is available to her, then she should sell some of it and pay zakaah with that money.”
Misconception # 15: I will use my Zakaah money on my immediate family
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “The Muslim cannot give his zakaah to his parents or to his wife and children; rather he is obliged to spend on them from his wealth if they need that and he is able to spend on them.”
Misconception # 16: I cannot give Zakaah to my poor relatives
It is actually preferable for a person to give their zakaah to a brother, sister, paternal uncle, paternal aunt or to any other relative, if they are poor. This is because, giving zakaah to them is both an act of charity and upholding family ties.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Charity given to the poor is charity and charity given to a relative is charity and upholding of family ties.” (Ahmad, al-Nasaa’i)
Misconception # 17: A woman cannot give Zakaah to her Husband
It is okay for a woman to give zakaah to her husband, if he is qualified to receive zakaah, because she is not obliged to spend on him. Also, the Prophet (pbuh) gave permission to the wife of Abd-Allaah ibn Masood to give her zakaah to her husband. However a wife is not qualified to receive zakaah from her husband because he obliged to spend on her from his wealth.
Misconception # 18: Zakaah can be given to Non-Muslims if they are poor
It is not permissible to give Zakaah to non-muslims except the one who is inclined towards Islam, in the hope that he will become Muslim if you give him zakaah (al-Tawbah:60)
However paying sadaqah and charity to them is permissible.
Misconception # 19: I will use Zakaah to build hospitals, masjid and orphanages
That is not permissible, because this is not included in the eight categories on which zakaah may be spent.
Allaah tells us that Zakaah may be spent on the following:
“As-Sadaqaat (Zakaah) are only
for the Fuqaraa (poor),
and Al-Masaakeen (the poor & needy, who prefer to hide their poverty from public)
and those employed to collect (the funds);
and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam);
and to free the captives;
and for those in debt;
and for Allaah’s Cause (Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle),
and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything)” [al-Tawbah:60]
But if the intention in giving the money to an orphanage is so that this money will be spent on the poor orphans, then this is permissible, if the orphans are poor.
Similarly, Zakaah cannot be used to print Quraans and other Dawah material.
Misconception # 20: Zakaah is the same as Zakaat ul-Fitr
Zakaat al-Fitr is NOT the same as obligatory Zakaah. These are two separate entities and whoever paid Zakaah is NOT relieved of paying Zakaat al-Fitr and vice-versa.
Misconception # 21: I have to inform the one I am giving, that it is Zakaah
You do not have to tell the recipient that it is zakaah.