Category Archives: Zakaat/Charity/Sadaqa

Fitrah and Merrymaking

Question: Can we use Fitrah money to prepare meals for the poor on Eid day? They will be invited to a feast.

Answer (By Mujlisul Ulama):

Fitrah has to be incumbently given in cash or kind t o t he Fuqara and Masaakeen. The objective of Fitrah is not feasting. Give the money to the poor to buy food for their families, and give them bit extra.

This feasting and merrymaking craze of Muslims nowadays is indeed a poor commentary of the moral condition of people. Why do they derive pleasure from the takleef (inconvenience) of preparing meals and from the other paraphernalia which accompany feasting. They derive fun from feasting because the motive is riya whereas in silently and unosetnsibly giving the money to the poor, there is no show and fun.

Fitrah must not be used for feasting. It must be given to the poor.

The Concept of Zakat in Islam

[By Mufti Mohammad Nadeem uddin Qasmi]

Islam is the perfect and complete religion. And the religion of Peace and love, it emphasizes that Muslims should live in peace, love and harmony with each other. Therefore, the importance of the charity was mentioned many times in Qur’an and Hadith, and it was obliged on every Muslim those who are wealthy enough in the form of Zakat. We all should know about its importance, benefits and misconceptions about it.


The Literal meaning of Zakat is: to grow and purify.

Zakat in the context of the Shariah means: A fixed amount of to be paid at a specified period to certain groups of people.

The Importance of Zakat

It is mentioned alongside Salah in 82 verses of the Qur’an. Allah the Almighty said: “those who collect and withhold the Zakat and don’t give the right of poor. O Prophet! Inform them of a bad agony (Tawbah 34)

It is third pillar of Islam, as the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five pillars:

1. Bearing witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Mohammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is his servant and Messenger.

2 & 3. Performing Salah and Sawm

4. Paying Zakat

5. Performing Haj (Muslim)

Not only that but many times, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) emphasized on it:

• It is Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu), the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “every day, the two angels come down from heaven, and one of them says: O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in your cause, and other says: Destroy every miser (Bukhari)

• Narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu): Allah’s apostle said: “who ever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the zakat 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 eye, the snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheek and say “I am your wealth ,and I am your treasure. (Bukhari)

• Narrated by Abu Dhar (Radhiyallahu Anhu): Once I went to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and he said “By Allah in whose hands my life , whoever has camels or cows or sheeps and didn’t pay their zakat, those animals will be brought on the day of resurrection far bigger and fatter than before and they will trample him under their hooves and will poke him with their horns, when the last does its turn, the first will start again and this punishment will go on till Allah has finished the judgment among the people (Bukhari)

• Abu Bakr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said “By Allah, if they pay me Zakat and withhold even which they used to pay during the life of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) I will fight with them for it, ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said “it was nothing but Allah who opened Abu Bakr’s chest towards the decision to fight, and I came to know that his decision was right.” (Bukhari)

There are many evidence to show that the Muslim must pay zakat to take care of needy people around the world.


The usual amount donated is 2.5% of total cumulative wealth in one lunar year.

What is Purpose of Zakat?

• The purpose of zakat is to create in society and never let a poor and needy to suffer or die.

• The basic purpose of zakat is to maintain economic balance in society so that circulation of wealth continues from rich to poor and never stay in one hand. In this way, we can overcome poverty and other evils from our society.


The benefits of Zakat apart from obligation, it has many spiritual and worldly benefits, some are as follows:

1. It makes one reaches rank of perfect believer, The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. he generally loves his wealth, he should also love to give it to his needy brothers. By doing so he will have perfect faith .

2. It is one of the cause of entering the Paradise, this is because, the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Paradise is for those who use soft speech, spread the greeting of the Islam, feed the people and spend the night in voluntary prayer while the peoples are a sleep.” (TIRMIDHI)

3. It is a salvation from the intense heat of the day of resurrection. The prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Every man will be the in the shade of his Charity on the day of Resurrection.”(AHMAD)

4. It wards off an unpleasant death (TIRMIDHI)

5. It brings a servant close to his lord and increase his faith .

6. Allah removes the minor sins by giving Zakat as the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallan) said giving charity wipes away sins just as water extinguishes the fire .

7. It helps in purification of the heart .

8. It helps Muslims to follow the honorable faith .

9. It helps in reducing the poverty from the society

10. Most important benefit of zakat is purification of halal money.

11. It cleans one’s character from being miser.

12. It makes Islamic society a single family in which rich helps the poor.

13. Sacrificing beloved thing (wealth and life etc) on the command of Allah and Prophet and obeying them.

Who is eligible to receive Zakat?

There are eight categories of people eligible to receive zakat they have been specified in the the Quran:

• Zakat is for the poor

• For miskin whose basic needs are met but their income does not take care of other important needs.

• For distributers and collectors of zakat .

• Muallaf: to come closer one who recently become Muslim.

• Riqab: one who wants to free himself from the bondage and shackles of slavery

• Gharimin: one who is in debt.

• Fi-Sabilillah: one who fights for cause of Allah.

• Ibnus sabil: one who is stranded in journey.

Misconceptions about Zakat

1. People often think that zakat is only to be paid in the month of Ramadan. it is not correct. Although, Ramadan is the month of blessings but after lapse of Islamic year zakat must be paid , whether it is month of Ramazan or any other month.

2. Another misconception is that it is only liable for gold or silver. it is wrong. The gold and silver are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith as a standard of a unit of measurement, therefore anything , whether it is cash, silver property or other assets worth the same amount as the gold mentioned by Islam is liable for Zakat.

Another misconception is that some people are making noise that the madaris are not liable to receive and be given zakat, it is only right of poor. This  is incorrect, because many poor and needy students study in it. And Islamic teachings are published and studied day and night. Those who are against madaris, they should think and imagine about themselves, they are going against Islamic teachings.


We all Muslims must pay Zakat in every year and in this way we can eradicate poverty from our society. In the era of caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (Rahmatullahi Alayh), it is said that the Zakat distributers travelled far and wide, but were unable to find anybody poor enough to receive the Zakat. This shows the true power of Zakat, therefore we must pay Zakat. May Allah give us tawfeeq. Aameen!

Islamic Refutation of Capitalist Economic System


Economic Justice In Islam


Two major economic systems have dominated the world arena in the last 100 years, namely Capitalism and Socialism. Socialism collapsed before the end of the 20th century with a complete failure, and hence will not be a subject in this discussion. Capitalism continues to dominate the entire globe, with different flavors and varieties implemented in different parts of the world. The dissatisfaction of people under socialism, and the accompanying pain and suffering have ended, but been replaced by yet another type of pain and sufferings.

After the collapse of Socialism, Capitalism entered an era of global economy, Globalization, thus impacting most of the people in the world. Therefore, this discussion explores the impact of capitalism on the world and the plight of people in poor and rich countries. On the other hand, it introduces an economic system that the world is yet to explore, understand, and implement. This system is based on Islam.

The Economic System

Economic system is a set of rules and regulations, which define how to distribute the wealth, how to possess it, and how to spend or dispose of it. This system (set of rules) is based upon a particular viewpoint in life, or ideology. Therefore, the economic system of Islam is different from that of Socialism/Communism and that of Capitalism, since each of these systems follows its own ideological viewpoint. For example, the rules of possession and ownership under Capitalism differ from the rules of possession under Socialism, and from those under Islam.

Economic science deals with the production, its improvement, invention and improvement of its means. Economic science, as is the case with other sciences, is universal to all nations and is not associated with a particular ideology. For example, the improvement of production is a technical issue, which is purely scientific, and does not depend on a particular ideological viewpoint.

In addition to the essential understanding of the difference between the economic system and economic science, it is critical to understand the factors of success for any system. The success or failure of an economic system is measured by the direct impact on the humans who live under it. Measures of such impact are the level of security provided and satisfaction of needs. Security and satisfaction of needs are further measured in terms of:

⚫ Food security
⚫ Health security
⚫ Educational security
⚫ Conviction and trust in the economic foundation

In the next section we will address Capitalism as the dominating economic system today, its truth, reality, applicability and consequences.

The Capitalist Economic System

Theoretical Foundation

Capitalism addresses the materialistic side of life; it addresses the human needs and the means of satisfying those needs. It is established on three principles:

1. Relative scarcity of goods in relation to needs.

2. The economic value of a product

3. Pricing role in production, cons consumption, and distribution.

Relative Scarcity:

Man has needs that require satisfaction. Capitalism views the human needs as purely materialistic, such as the need for food, clothing, medicine, education, and security. As for the moral needs such as pride and honor, or spiritual needs such as the sanctification of God’s will, they are not recognized economically, and are therefore disregarded and have no place in economic studies within the capitalist system.

The capitalist looks at the means of satisfaction, that is, the commodities and services, from the viewpoint that they satisfy a need, without taking any other factor into consideration. This system considers, for example, wine as an economically beneficial product because it satisfies the need of some, and perceives the wine maker as service provider. Because wine and wine providers satisfy a need it is considered as having an economic value. Since the need in the capitalist view means a desire, then anything desired, whether it is essential or not essential, beneficial or harmful, it is considered economically beneficial. Products may be considered beneficial from an economic viewpoint even if the public opinion considers them of no benefit, or even harmful. Thus wine, tobacco, drugs, guns, and apples are beneficial things since there are people who desire them. Stocks, interest based loans are also beneficial as long as there is someone who would benefit from their use.

As such, capitalism does not concern itself with the societal values other than materialistic ones. Therefore, the capitalist economic system’s primary function is to supply goods – commodities and services – that is, to provide the means of satisfying man’s needs, irrespective of any other consideration. Capitalism recognizes that man has basic needs, which must be satisfied, and wants which increase in number as man proceeds to a higher level of urbanization.

Relative scarcity foresees the economic problem as the relative shortages of commodities and services towards the unlimited and constantly growing human needs (wants). This basic principal of capitalist economic philosophy provides the basis for the definition of the economic problem under capitalism. In particular, the problem that capitalism attempts to resolve is the satisfaction of an ever growing human needs using insufficient resources and means of satisfaction. This is the essence of relative scarcity of products. An economic dilemma that cannot be resolved no matter how much commodities and services are produced, thus setting unrealistic goal to be achieved.

The inevitable consequence of relative scarcity is that the focal point of a capitalistic society is the increase production of products and services. However, the distribution of the products over the needs is fully dependents upon the individual ability to obtain it. It should be noted that in a capitalistic society the problem is to make the resources available so as to satisfy the needs in a society, but not necessarily the needs of every individual. It is not surprising therefore, that the main focus of the economy under capitalism is the increase in the national production emphasized by the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and Gross National Products (GNP). Capitalism views economic growth, the increase in GDP and GNP, as the mean of solving the problem of poverty. There are serious flaws in these principals:

1. Correlation between the needs and the means of satisfaction

Under Capitalism, production and distribution are considered to be one major subject. Capitalism holds one view towards the economic science and the economic system without differentiating between them. However, there is a major difference between the economic system and economic science as previously defined. The integration between production of the economic material and the manner of its distribution, is a fundamental fault in the capitalist system which is bound to cause failure in the economy.

2. The human needs are not materialistic only

The reference to the needs, which require satisfaction as being purely materialistic, is wrong, and contradicts the natural reality of human needs. Human beings have moral, spiritual, and ethical needs that require satisfaction, which in turn require commodities or services for their satisfaction.

3. Commodities and services relation to the society

Man is viewed by capitalists as a purely materialistic creature, with no relevance to his spiritual needs, ethical thoughts, and moral objectives. Thus, Capitalism does not give weight to Societal values, except to the materialistic value of the product and its profitability. Cheating in the economic sense is valuable as long as it leads to profitability (Enron and Arthur Anderson). Monopoly is feasible economically, while it can be maintained and supported (Microsoft). Under Capitalism, feeding a poor (wealth distribution) may be done only if it brings a material benefit, such as tax break (non profit organizations). The Capitalist economy focuses on the satisfaction of needs and wants irrespective to the societal values and needs. Societal values and needs are protected as much as it does not limit the individual pursuit of satisfaction.

The exchange of resources and efforts among people creates relationships according to which the structure of the society is formed. Thus, viewing the economic commodity as a mean of fulfilling a need, without caring for the societal values, violates a fundamental rule of society structure. The effect on society should be perceived when considering the economic commodity. Therefore, it is incorrect to consider a thing as beneficial just because there is somebody who wants it, whether it affects the relationships among people or not, and whether it is prohibited or permitted in the belief of the people. Rather things should be considered beneficial if they are really beneficial in respect to what the society should be.

Therefore, it is incorrect to consider alcohol, cannabis, opium, explosives, guns, tobacco and the like as beneficial commodities and to consider them economic commodities just because there is somebody who wants them. Instead, the effect of these economic commodities on the relationships between people in society must be considered when considering the benefit of things i.e. when considering the goods as an economic commodity or not. It is a system fault to look at a product merely as it is, regardless of what the society should be.

4. Poverty of individuals is the main economic problem

Capitalism concentrates on production of wealth more than distribution of wealth. The importance of distribution of wealth to satisfy the needs has become a secondary issue. Therefore, the capitalist economic system main aim is to increase the country’s wealth as a whole, and it strives to achieve the highest possible level of production. The achievement of the highest possible level of satisfaction for the members of society is viewed as a result of increasing the national income, the gross national product. In the capitalist view this can be achieved by raising the level of production in the country, and by enabling individuals to acquire the wealth as they are left free to work and produce.

So the economy does not attempt to satisfy the needs of the individuals and to facilitate the satisfaction of every individual in the community, rather it is focused on raising the level of production and increasing the national income. Only then the distribution of wealth among the members of society occurs, by means of freedom of possession and freedom of work. So it is left to the individuals to acquire what they can of the wealth. Everyone strives to get his/her share of the wealth using whatever means, skills, or tools he/she can afford. Whether the individual is or is not able to satisfy his/her needs is not of concern to the economy, as long as the production of goods continues to grow, and the wealth continues to grow.

This is the major principal of the capitalist economy. It is inherently faulty, and contradicts reality and does not lead to an improvement in the level of livelihood for all individuals, and does not fulfill the basic needs of every individual. It does not resolve the issue of poverty for the individuals, despite the massive increase in the production of goods and services.

The hard fact in this reality is that the needs, which require satisfaction, are individual needs. They are needs of particular people such as George, Maria, Hessian, Muhammad, and the like. The fact that the needs of George, for example, are satisfied does not make Maria any better, unless her needs are also taken care of. So these are needs of individuals and not needs for a group of human beings, a group of nations, or a group of people. Therefore, the economic problem must focus on distributing the means of satisfaction for all the individuals of a society. In other words, the distribution of the funds and benefits must reach every member of the nation or people. It is not sufficient to increase the wealth of the group, irrespective of the plight of every individual.

Consequently, the study of the factors that affect the size of national production differs from the study for satisfying all the basic needs of all individuals personally and completely. The subject of study must be the basic human needs of man, as a human being, and the study of distributing the wealth to the members of society to guarantee the satisfaction of all their basic needs while allowing them to pursue the satisfaction of their wants & luxury needs. This should be the subject of study, and should be undertaken in the first place. Moreover, resolving the poverty of a country does not resolve the problem of poverty for individuals. On the contrary, resolving the poverty of the individuals, and the fair distribution of the wealth of the country, motivates all the people of the country to work towards increasing the national income and resolving poverty of the country. Yet, the study of factors that affect the size of production and the increase of the national income should be discussed within the framework of economic science, rather than in the discussion of the economic system.

5. Scarcity of resources is not the problem and human needs are limited

Capitalism views the economic problem, which faces any society to be the scarcity of commodities and services. It claims that the human needs are steadily increasing, and the products continue to be too scarce to satisfy the growing needs of the people. This view is erroneous and in fact contradicts with reality. This is because the needs, which must be met, are the basic needs of the individual as a human (food, shelter, education, health and clothing), and not the luxuries, although they too are sought. The basic needs of humans are limited, and the resources and products, which they call the commodities and services, are certainly sufficient to satisfy the basic human needs. It is possible to satisfy all of the basic needs of mankind completely.

The economic problem is, in reality, the distribution of these resources and services enabling every individual to satisfy all basic needs completely, and after that helping them to strive for attaining their luxuries. The basic needs of man as a human do not increase. Only the luxurious needs that may increase and vary due to higher urbanization.

Practical Implementation

The discussion of the capitalist economic system leads to the conclusion that the implementation of this system over a period of time should lead to a profound poverty and severe dissatisfaction for any society. In this section, we will examine actual data from the contemporary world that lives under the domination of capitalist economic systems. The data shows without any doubt that the theoretical errors of the major economic principals have led to serious failures that cause huge catastrophic effects on a very large number of the population in the world.

Hunger under capitalism

Growing out of a Harvard School of Public Health conference on hunger, The Physician Task Force on Hunger in America was established in early 1984. The major findings and
conclusions of the Task Force include:

⚫ Hunger is a problem of epidemic proportions across the nation
⚫ Hunger in America is getting worse, not better
⚫ Malnutrition and ill-health are associated with hunger
⚫ is the result of federal government policies
⚫ Present policies are not alleviating hunger in America

Conclusion: Resolution of hunger and poverty require fundamental change at the level of the economic system. Capitalism is designed to produce poverty not to resolve it.

Globalization is the newer form of global capitalism. It is capitalism across nations. Capital flows between nations without serious constraints. Products move from the producing origins to consuming destinations without the feel of borders or national
barriers. Again, the production of resources and wealth increase and multiply. But the impact of the tremendous growth of wealth does not find its way to satisfy the needs of the people. Consider this report on globalization:

“The Scorecard on Globalization 1980-2000: Twenty Years of Diminished Progress”

By Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, Egor Kraev and Judy Chen

For economic growth and almost all of the other indicators, the last 20 years have shown a very clear decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades. Among the findings:


The fall in economic growth rates was most pronounced and across the board for all groups or countries. The poorest group went from a per capita GDP growth rate of 1.9 percent annually in 1960-80, to a decline of 0.5 percent per year (1980-2000). For the middle group (which includes mostly poor countries), there was a sharp decline from an annual per capita growth rate of 3.6 percent to just less than 1 percent. Over a 20 year period, this represents the difference between doubling income per person,versus increasing it by just 21 percent. The other groups also showed substantial declines in growth rates.

Life Expectancy:

Progress in life expectancy was also reduced for 4 out of the 5 groups of countries, with the exception of the highest group (life expectancy 69-76 years). The sharpest slowdown was in the second to worst group (life expectancy between 44-53 ears)..

Infant and Child Mortality:

Progress in reducing infant mortality was also considerably slower during the period of globalization (1980-1998) than over the previous two decades. The biggest declines in progress were for the middle to worst performing groups. Progress in reducing child mortality (under 5) was also slower for the middle to worst performing groups of countries.

Education and literacy:

Progress in education also slowed during the period of globalization. The rate of growth of primary, secondary, and tertiary (post-secondary) school enrollment was slower for most groups of countries.

Globalization and Inequality Among Nations

According to this “old fashioned – three worlds partition” partition, 76 percent of world population lives in poor countries, 8 lives in middle income countries (defined as countries with per capita income levels between Brazil and Italy), and 16 percent lives in rich countries. Now, if we keep the same income thresholds as implied in the previous division, and look at “true” distribution of people according to their income (regardless of where they live), we find a very similar result: 78 percent of the world population is poor, 11 percent belongs to the middle class, and 11 percent are rich.

Economic health or illness?

The most important index of economic well being under capitalism is the index that monitors the growth of the nation’s health as a whole. DOW Jones, NASDAQ, NIKO, NYSE and other indexes monitor the status of the nation’s most powerful companies. A steady increase of these indexes does not record, reflect or impact the status of the poor in the nation. In fact, the overwhelming data shows that poverty and hunger persist despite the steady increase of economic indexes over the years. The daily report of the economic indexes prove one more time that capitalism is inherently concerned about the growth of products, rather than the satisfaction of the needs of people.

Virtual Wealth

The obsession of product and wealth growth under capitalism has resulted in the removal of the boundaries between the products and services and money. The monetary system existed in the first place to represent the values of products and services in a mobile transferable format. For centuries, gold and silver provided a solid base for measuring the exchange value of products and services. Under the pressure of growing economic product growth, the US capitalist economists canceled Briton Woods treaty which establishes a fixed exchange rate for gold, thus making gold one more commodity. The devastating result of this action is the creation of a new environment where wealth has become virtual wealth. By virtual wealth, I mean the growth of money independent of the growth of products and services. The two major factors that lead to the unlimited growth of money are the interest (usury) and stock investments. Interest allows money to grow without the involvement of product and services. The values of stocks increase or decrease quite often based on circumstances, politics, stability, and other factors not directed to the products and services provided by the stock holding company. The phenomenon of DOT.COM in the 1990’s is a clear example.

Islamic Economic System

Before nudging in the discussion of the economic systems and their impacts on us as
people, I would like to lay down a foundation regarding Islam.

Islamic Sources

Islam is a religion in the sense that it is based on a belief in God (the creator) and in the accountability to God on the Day of Judgment. Islam is also an ideology in the sense that it comprises an ideological foundation and a system of laws for the individual and the society. The Islamic systems cover the political, economic, and social systems. Islam is founded upon the fundamental principal that man, life, and universe are all the creations of the eternal, one and only one God whose main name in Islam is Allah. Allah possesses many attributes, all of which are considered to be eternal and unbounded.

The belief in the existence of God, the Eternal Creator, is a rational process in Islam and an obligation upon the reasoning facility of the human. The belief in God under Islam requires also the belief in all His attributes and functions. Belief in God, as such, requires the belief that there needs to be a channel through which God communicates to the people the means and ways to worship. This channel is what is known as Prophethood and/or the Messenger. Worshipping Allah, under Islam, is the process of following the guidance revealed by God through His Messengers and/or Prophets. Islam considers the belief in the Prophethood an essential principal of Islam. The Prophets include Adam, Ibraheem, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Them All) and many others. Islam, as a religion and ideology, is based entirely on what is revealed to Mohammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The revelation to Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam) has two forms. One form is the Quran, which is the actual word of Allah the creator. The wording and the meanings of the verses are written into the Quran exactly as revealed to Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The Quran was compiled and completely written during the life of the Messenger Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The other format of the revelation is what is known in Arabic as the “Sunnah” of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The Sunnah comprises statements, actions, and endorsement of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The Sunnah is also a revelation from God to Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam), except that the wording of the Sunnah is left to Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam). The Sunnah was compiled and authenticated after the death of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam) based on written statements and verbal narrations.

For a view to be considered an Islamic one, it has to be validated through the Qur’an and the Sunnah. In this lecture, I will trace the Islamic economic system through the verses of the Qur’an and the statements of the Sunnah.

The View of Islam towards the Economy

Allah created all resources in the world

In the Qur’an, Allah states that all the resources in the world are created by Him, and made usable to the humans:

“It is He who created for you all that exists on earth.” [Al-Baqarah: 29]

“Allah is He Who put at your disposal the sea so that the ships may sail by His command, and so as you may seek His bounty.” [Al-Jathiyah: 12]

“He put at your disposal that which is in the heavens and that which is in the earth, all from Him.” [Al-Jathiyah: 13]

“And We sent down iron, in which is great might, as well as many benefits for mankind.” [Al-Hadid: 25]

“Let man consider his food. How We pour water in showers. Then split the earth in fragments. And cause the grains to grow therein. And grapes and fresh vegetation. And olives and dates, and enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees. And fruits and grazes. Provision for you and your cattle.” [Surah Abasa: 24-32]

These examples indicate that technical means of production is left to the people. It is apparent that Islam focuses on the economic system (distribution of wealth) and not economic science (technical production).

Economic Policy in Islam

The economic policy is the objective of the laws, which deal with the management of human basic needs (food, shelter, education, health, security). The Islamic economic policy could be understood from the statement of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam):

“Whom who wakes up secure at home with healthy body and food for his day as if he acquired the whole life”.

The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also states:

“Allah breaks covenant with any group of people living in a close vicinity, whereby one of them goes to bed while hungry”.

The economic policy in Islam aims at securing the complete satisfaction of all basic needs for every individual, and to enable each individual to purse the satisfaction of their luxuries. Islam looks at every individual as a human being whose basic needs to be satisfied completely, then it looks to him in his capacity as a particular individual, to enable him to satisfy his luxuries as much as possible.

On the other hand, Islam views the individual as part of a whole society that lives according to certain rules and regulations that have to be taken into consideration.Therefore, the purpose of the economic policy in Islam does not address how to raise the standard of living in the country without securing the rights for every individual. Nor is it just to provide the means of satisfaction in the society without setting wealth distribution processes.

The Islamic economic objective is achieved through multiple laws and regulations:

First, defining property ownership as being of three kinds:

1. Individual ownership
2. Public ownership
3. State ownership

The individual can own anything except that of what is public property or prohibited materials such as alcohol or pigs. The public owns all minerals of the earth that are not limited by nature such as gold and silver mines, oil fields, natural gas fields, etc. or all things that are publicly shared such as seas, rivers, roads etc. The state owns certain revenues including land taxation called (Kharaj). Such laws allow for fair distribution of wealth and allow the state to provide public services, security, healthcare, education and others.

Second, Islam prohibits any kind of Usury and interest based loans, on the other hand it encourages partnership in different ways (but not Joint Stock Companies) and interest free loans. Also, Islam prohibits monopoly allowing for true competition and opportunity.

Third, Islam obliges each capable person to work, so as to achieve the basic needs for himself and his dependants.

Fourth, through the unique Islamic social structure based around protecting the family,Islam obliges adult males to support their parents once the father is not able to work or passed away. If there are no one in the family who can support then the State Treasury (Bait ul-Mal) has to step in. As such, Islam requires that the individual secure for himself and his dependants the satisfaction of the basic needs i.e. adequate food, clothing, education, medication and housing. Islam then encourages the individual to secure the luxuries of life as much as he can.

Fifth, Islam prevents the government from the imposition of taxes, except in cases of public disasters such as famine, and where the state funds are unable to cover expenses. Tax then is imposed for a limited time and taken only from the wealthy.
Through the combination of spiritual, social and economic drives, the Islamic economic system achieves the right of livelihood for everyone individually, and facilitates the securing of the luxuries.

To achieve the societal values within which the individual lives, Islam sets certain rules and regulation within which the individual is to behave while striving to secure his/her needs. For example, Islam prohibits the production and consumption of wine by Muslims, and it does not consider it an economic material. Islam prohibits the taking of riba (usury, interest, etc.) and its usage in transactions for everyone who holds Islamic citizenship. It does not consider riba as an economic commodity, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims. Islam considers what the society ought to be when utilizing any property.

Islam did not detach the individual from being human, nor the human being from being a particular individual. Furthermore, Islam does not consider what the society ought to be separate from the issue of securing the satisfaction of the basic needs for every individual, and enabling him/her to satisfy the luxuries. Rather, Islam makes the satisfaction of the needs and what the society ought to be, as two inseparable issues.For the sake of satisfying all the basic needs completely, and to enable satisfaction of the luxuries, the economic commodity should be available to people, and it will not be available to them unless they strive to earn it. Provided that there is a system that protects the basic integrity of the human being. Therefore, Islam urges people to earn,seek the provision and strive without the fear of not finding food to eat or secured home to return back to at the end of the day. Islam made striving to earn the provision compulsory upon Muslims thus creating a productive society.

Allah said:

“So walk in the paths of the earth and eat of His sustenance which He provides.”  [Al-Mulk: 15]

Many Ahadith came to encourage the earning of property. In one Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad _ shook the hand of Sa’ad ibn Muadh (ra) and found his hands to be rough. Sa?ad said: “I dig with the shovel to maintain my family.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam kissed Sa’ad’s hands and said: “(They are) two hands which Allah loves.”

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Nobody would ever eat food that is better than to eat of his own hands work.”

It was narrated that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (Radhiyallahu anhu) passed by some people who were consistently in the Mosque reading the Qur’an (meaning not working). He asked who they were. He was told: “They are those who depend upon Allah (Al-Mutawwakiloon).” ‘Umar replied: “No, they are the eaters who eat the people’s properties. Do you want me to describe those who really depend upon Allah (Al-Mutawwakiloon)? He is the person who throws the seeds in the earth and then depends on his Lord The Almighty,
The Exalted (Azza wa jall).”

Thus we find that the verses and the Ahadith encourage striving to seek provision, and working to earn property, just as they encourage the enjoyment of the property and eating of the good things.

Allah said:

“Say: who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of Allah, which He has provided for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (that He has provided)?” [Al-A’raf: 32]

“O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you.” [Al-Baqarah: 267]

“O you who believe! Do not prohibit the good things which Allah made halal for you.” [Al-Ma’idah: 87]

These verses, and the like, denote clearly that the divine rules (Ahkam Shari’ah) related to the economy, aim at acquiring property and enjoying good things. So, Islam obliged individuals to earn, and ordered them to enjoy wealth that they earned, so as to achieve economic growth in the country, to satisfy the basic needs of every person, and to enable the satisfaction of his luxuries.

However, the economic progress through motivating every capable individual to work, assigning properties to the State and the investing of public property, all are means to satisfy the needs in the best possible manner. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Whosoever sought the life (matters) legitimately (halal) and decently he will meet Allah with his face as a full moon; and whosoever sought it arrogantly and excessively will meet Allah while He is angry at him.”

The Prophet also said: “Do you have, son of Adam, of your property except that which you ate and consumed, that which you wore and exhausted, and that which you donated and preserved (for yourself in the hearafter)?”

Allah the Supreme said:

“Don’t commit Israaf (spending or going beyond the limits imposed by Islam); surely He (Allah) does not like those who condone Israaf.” [Al-A’raf: 31]

Islam made the aim of owning properties a mean towards satisfying the needs and not for the purpose of boasting. It required managing the economy according to Allah’s orders and made it obligatory. It ordered the Muslims to seek the Hereafter and the pleasure of the creator through what they earn and spend by their own well, without ignoring the goods of this worldly life.

Allah said:

“But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah has given you, and do not neglect your portion of worldly life, and be kind as Allah has been kind to you, and seek not corruption in the earth.” [Al-Qasas: 77]

Islam secured the observance of the rules in two ways complementing each other. First,Islam motivated the Muslims to adhere to this economic policy through the fear of Allah (Taqwa). Second, Islam legislated laws which the State implements upon the people.

Allah said:

“O you who believe! observe your duty to Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from riba, if you are (in truth) believers.” [Al-Baqarah: 278]

Analysis of the divine rules related to the economy, shows that Islam addresses the
issue of enabling people to utilize wealth. Islam addresses the initial acquisition of wealth, its disposal and its distribution amongst the public. The rules that deal with the economy are thus based on three principles:

1. Initial ownership,
2. Disposal of the ownership, and
3. Distribution of wealth amongst the people.

With regard to the issue of ownership, it belongs to Allah, since He is the Owner of all the Dominion (Malik al-Mulk). Allah stated in the texts that property (Maal) belongs to Him.

Allah said: “And give them from the property of Allah, which He gave to you.” [An-Nur: 33]

Property, therefore, belongs to Allah alone. However, He has put mankind in charge of property, provided them with it, and has given them the right of owning it.
Allah, the Exalted said:

“And spend from what He put you in charge of.”  [Al-Hadid: 7]

“O you who believe! observe your duty to Allah and give up what remains (due)”

“And He has provided you with properties and offspring.”  [Nuh: 12]

Islam also defined three types of ownership (as mentioned earlier):

1. Individual ownership
2. State ownership
3. Public ownership

Through the management of these types of ownership, the economy of both the society and the individuals are completely satisfied.

Zakat and Poverty

Islam has waged a war on poverty by all means. It is the poverty of the individual people that Islam is concerned with, in addition to the poverty of the nation as a whole. Islam has instituted the charity, called in Islam the “Zakat” in a manner that eliminates the poverty altogether. “Zakat” in Islam is a mean of worship. It is one of the pillars of Islam as much as the prayer is. The Islamic system aims at eliminating poverty from the society, rather than managing the poor. One of the companions of the Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and also one of the Guided Successors of Him, Ali Bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) stated:

“If poverty were a man, I would certainly kill him”.

Practically, after few years of implementing Islam in the Islamic society, the notion of poverty was gone altogether. It is narrated in  history that during the era of the Khalifah ‘Umar Bin Abd al-Aziz, there was no single poor person within the Islamic  State who would accept the charity of the “Zakat”.

In a statement by Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he says:

“Allah breaks covenant with any group of people living in a close vicinity, whereby one of them goes to bed while hungry”.

The Islamic economic system defines the main problem to be solved by the system as the poverty of the individuals. The economic index, thus in the Islamic State, would be the percentage of people who live below poverty line. The economic strength and growth will be measured by the actual well-being of the individuals rather than by the well-being of NASDAQ or DOW JONES. What good would it do to the stomach of a poor person, if the NASDAQ gains or loses points? The Islamic Economic Index is based on the food that is available to each and every human soul in the society.

The Islamic economic system reserves the vital resources of the state for the well-being of the people. One or more companies under Islam for example, will not own the oil fields.The fact that a certain company was able to drill and exploit oil fields in Texas does not give it the right for the oil. The oil exists in fields that go beneath the houses and lands of millions of people. In Islam, the oil belongs to all the people in the state. This is not to be mistaking with socialism that dictates that all means of productions belong to the people. Thus, the Islamic system ensures that the vital resources that belong to the people be actually returned to the people. As such, poverty will never exist in any society that has vital resources.

Usury – Interest – Riba

Islam categorically prohibited the use of money to grow money, i.e., usury. Loans in Islam are given to others and considered a mean of worship. Allah declares that whoever gives a loan (no interest) to another person is indeed giving a loan to Allah. In return, Allah multiplies the reward for the loan giver.

Allah stated:

“Whoever gives a good loan to Allah; and Allah will multiply it to him many folds”

Islamic Economy: Reality

The harsh reality is that Islam as described in the Qur’an and Sunnah has been removed from the real life of the people (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) for almost a century. The Islamic State has been the responsible entity for implementing the Islamic systems during and after the death of the Messenger Mohammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Islamic Nation continued to function (with ups and downs) until 1924, when Mustafa Kemal of Turkey with the help of western European capitalists managed to abolish the Ottoman Islamic state (Khilafah). Since then, the Muslims and non-Muslims in the entire world have been living under various secular systems, implementing capitalism in the economic life.

Muslims continued to believe in Islam and practice those parts of Islam that pertain to the individual. However, for Islam to produce the results and objectives set forth in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the full implementation of Islam is necessary. Without full implementation of Islam, the results could be counter productive. As a result of the absence of Islam, the Muslims resorted to national bonds, ethnic traditions and values. Quite often and after decades of intentional misguiding, the Muslims mix their national values, national aspirations, and methods with those of Islam. The truth of the matter though is that Islam was revealed as a set of laws, regulations and systems to guide and manage the behavior of the society as well as the individuals.

The history of the life of Mohammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) shows that the objectives of Islam, the resolutions of Islam, and the values of Islam started to materialize only after the establishment of the Islamic State in Medinah, 13 years after the beginning of Islam. In fact, most of the laws, regulations, and systems were not revealed to Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) except after his migration to Medinah where the state was established. The laws of the Zakat, riba (usury), ownership, and wealth distribution were revealed after the state was created.


Islam as a religion and ideology needs to be revisited by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a religion that should be looked at as a continuation of previous religions and inheritor of them as well. As an ideology, Islam should be viewed as one that provides economic, political, and social systems that do not belong to the ideologies of materialism (both capitalism and socialism). After the fall and collapse of socialism, the people of the world resorted to capitalism as their only alternative. The collapse of capitalism is eminent as a natural consequence to its inability to address the human needs in a satisfactory manner. It is the responsibility and the duty of the people of the world to examine Islam with serious and sincere scrutiny, in order to consider it as the only viable alternative to capitalism.

Zakaat – A Perpetual Investment

Every person’s heart’s desire is to earn an everlasting fortune -a fortune that never diminishes nor depletes at any time. Instead, its profits and returns continue to grow every second. How can such a fortune be acquired? The answer to this vital question is: invest in a perpetual investment -the investment ofthe Aakhirah (Hereafter). This investment is the ideal investment which never diminishes at anytime. It perpetually goes on growing till eternity. No loss. Only profit and growth. The only condition is sincerity. Any person who has a rand to spare should invest in such an investment. Every cent given in charity is invested in the investment of the Aakhirah. Such money is in reality saved. What is not invested in the Aakhirah is either spent or left behind for others.

While the immense rewards for spending in the path ofAllah Ta’ala are attained for even optional charity, the greatest rewards are for fulfilling the Fardh (compulsory) duties. Thus the greatest rewards would be for discharging one’s zakaat correctly, together with inculcating the true spirit offulfilling this great ibaadah. There are many verses ofthe Qur’an as well as Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) which explain the great rewards promised for discharging one’s zakaat.

Hazrat Hasan (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Protect your wealth by discharging zakaat, treat your sick by discharging sadaqah and combat the waves ofcalamities by resorting to dua and humility.” (Majma’uz Zawaaid #4336)

Important Aspects to be Borne in Mind when Discharging Zakaat

Zakaat must be given with complete sincerity to fulfil the command of Allah Ta’ala and earn His pleasure.

Zakaat must be given happily and wholeheartedly. It should not be regarded as a burden.

If zakaat is given in kind (stock, etc.), then at least something of average quality should be given. It is against the spirit of discharging zakaat to give something which cannot sell or is of inferior quality.

Zakaat must be discharged on the basis of proper calculation. Enquire from the Ulama to ensure that you have not underpaid.

Zakaat should be given to those who are eligible to receive it, otherwise the obligation will not be fulfilled.

Zakaat is payable upon the expiry of one lunar year from the time one became the owner of nisaab (the minimum amount of wealth upon which zakaat is compulsory).

When discharging the zakaat, one should ensure that the zakaat is given from pure Halaal earnings.

One should not discharge the zakaat for show nor publicize the amount of zakaat one has discharged. Doing actions for show and ostentation destroys the rewards of zakaat.

One should not cause any pain to the recipients of zakaat, nor express his favour upon him.

Serious Consequences for Neglecting the Obligation of Zakaat

By discharging one’s zakaat with care and with the true spirit of zakaat, one will receive immense rewards in the Hereafter and one’s wealth will be protected in this world. On the contrary, by not discharging the zakaat one becomes sinful and deserving ofpunishment in the Hereafter. Severe warnings and admonishments have been sounded in the mubaarak Ahaadith for the one who neglects the obligation of zakaat.

Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: He who, despite being given wealth by Allah Ta’ala, does not discharge his zakaat, his wealth will be made into a poisonous, bald-headed snake with two black spots over the eyes. It will coil itself around his neck on the Day of Qiyamah and then bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure!’ (Bukhari #1403)

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Amr (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), upon seeing gold bracelets on the wrists of two women, enquired from them as to whether they had discharged its zakaat? They replied in the negative. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Do you wish that in place of these gold bracelets you be made to wear bracelets of fire?’ They replied, ‘No.’ Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said, ‘Then hasten in discharging their zakaat.’ (Tirmidhi #637)

Zakaat Masaail

Upon whom is Zakaat Waajib?

Q: Upon whom is zakaat waajib? A: Zakaat is waajib upon every Muslim, baaligh, sane, free person who possesses the nisaab amount for an entire lunar year. (Shaami 2/258)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on a person who possesses the nisaab amount but also has unsettled debts?
A: The principle of shari’ah is that after evaluating one’s zakaatable assets one will deduct all liabilities and debts. If the remaining amount reaches the nisaab, zakaat will be waajib. (Shaami 2/260, Fataawaa Mahmoodiyyah 14/36)

When will Zakaat be Obligatory?

Q: When will zakaat be obligatory?
A: The first day a person acquires wealth which equals the nisaab and the wealth remains with him for an entire lunar year, zakaat will be waajib on that wealth.

E.g. Zaid acquired R3, 000 (which is the nisaab amount) on the first day ofthe lunar year (1st of Muharram 1434). This wealth remained with him for an entire lunar year. On the 1st of Muharram 1435 zakaat will be waajib upon the wealth. It should be noted that if the amount decreased during the course ofthe year e.g. R3,000 decreased to R1, 000 but at the end of the zakaat year (1st of Muharram 1435) the amount returned to R3, 000 or more, zakaat will be waajib. However, if during the year all the money was spent, then despite the full amount (R3, 000) being possessed at the end of the lunar year, zakaat will not be waajib. Instead one year will be calculated from the date that he once again acquired the nisaab amount. (Shaami 2/302)

Increase or Decrease before the Zakaat Date

Q: What is the shar’ee ruling regarding a person who received some wealth prior to the completion ofthe zakaat year? E.g. Zaid’s zakaat year ends on the 1st of Ramadhaan. Afew days before the 1st ofRamadhaan he received a lump sum ofR1, 000, 000 in inheritance. Will Zaid have to pay zakaat on the R1, 000, 000 as well?
A: Zaid will have to include the R1, 000, 000 in his zakaatable assets. (Shaami 2/288)

Q: What is the mas’alah (ruling) regarding a person whose wealth decreased before the zakaat date? E.g. Bakr possessed R1, 000, 000 throughout the year. Just before the end of his zakaat year i.e. 1st of Ramadhaan, he suffered a loss of R900, 000 in his business. Will Bakr now have to pay zakaat on R1, 000,000 or R100, 000?
A: Bakr will have to pay zakaat on R100, 000. (Shaami 2/267)

Zakaatable Assets

Q: Upon which wealth does a person have to pay zakaat?
A: Zakaat will be paid on the following:

Cash (including cash in the bank)
The market value of the merchandise contained in the share of the company
Face value of the financial papers like bonds loaned to the government, etc.
The market rate of the balance of stock in trade (including raw materials)
Receivable amounts i.e. debts owed to a person, monies loaned to people, etc.
Foreign currencies
Gold and silver (Shaami 2/273, 288, 295, 305)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on properties, flats, etc?
A: Zakaat is not waajib on properties, etc. which are not purchased with the intention of resale. One will pay zakaat on the rentals received. However, ifthe properties were purchased with the intention of resale, then zakaat will be waajib on the market value of the properties. (Shaami 2/265, 2/267)

Zakaat on Gold and Silver

Q: What is the nisaab amount of gold and silver?
A: If a person possesses gold to the weight of 87,479g or silver to the weight of 612,35g, then zakaat will be waajib. (Shaami 2/295)

Q: How will zakaat be paid on gold and silver?
A: If a person possesses the amount of gold or silver which equals the nisaab i.e. 87,479g of gold or 612,35g of silver, then zakaat is waajib on him. If he discharges his zakaat from the actual gold and silver, then one fortieth of the gold or silver will be obligatory on him. However, if he discharges his zakaat in value i.e. rands/dollars or any other currency, then two and a half percent of its entire value (market rated value) will be compulsory upon him. (Shaami 2/297)

Zakaat on Stock in Trade

Q: Is zakaat waajib on goods?
A: Zakaat is waajib upon those goods which are purchased with the intention of resale and an entire lunar year passes upon it. (Shaami 2/267)

Q: Zaid purchased a consignment of goods from Pakistan with the intention ofresale. The goods were thereafter shipped to South Africa. The shipment has not yet reached the port of South Africa and Zaid’s zakaat year ended. Will Zaid have to pay zakaat upon these goods which he has not as yet taken possession of?
A: Since Zaid purchased the goods before his zakaat year could end, he will have to include these goods under his zakaatable assets i.e. stock in trade. However, he will only be obligated to discharge the zakaat of these goods once it reaches him. (Shaami 2/263)

Q: Is zakaat waajib upon the medication which the doctor administers to his patients or dispenses to them?
A: Since the medication is purchased with the intention of resale, zakaat is waajib upon it. (Shaami 2/267)

Q: If a person purchases raw materials with the intention of manufacturing products to be sold, then will zakaat be waajib on such raw materials?
A: Since the raw material was purchased with the intention ofmanufacturing products to be sold, zakaat will be waajib upon it. (Shaami 2/267)

Q: Does one pay zakaat on the cost price of trading stock or on the selling price ofthe trading stock? E.g. I sell cars. I paid R10,000 for the car but I am selling the car for R25,000. The book value ofthe car is R20,000. Do I pay Zakaat on R10,000, R20,000 or R25,000?
A: One will pay zakaat on the market value of the stock of trade. Market value refers to the price that the consumer (i.e. the public) generally pays to obtain the item regardless of whether one purchased it for a higher price or lower price and regardless of whether one is selling it for a higher price or lower price. This law applies to all mechandise. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah 14/130)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on redundant stock?
A: If redundant stock refers to that stock which one is unable to sell quickly but is kept with the intention ofresale, then zakaat is waajib on such goods. However, if redundant stock refers to that stock which one no longer intends to sell, then this wealth no longer remains stock oftrade. Hence, zakaat will not be compulsory upon it. (Shaami 2/272)

Q: A person purchased an item for resale purposes but thereafter cancelled his intention. After some time, he decided to once again sell the item. Will zakaat be waajib on the item?
A: Zakaat will not be waajib upon the item. However, zakaat will be waajib upon the money received after selling the item. (Shaami 2/272)

Zakaat on Debts Owed to a Person
Q: Is zakaat payable on outstanding debts owed to a person in lieu of merchandise sold? If the debt is paid after few years, will zakaat have to be paid for the previous years?
A: Zakaat is waajib upon debts owed in lieu of merchandise sold. Ifthe debt is paid after few years, the zakaat will have to be discharged for the previous years. (Shaami 2/305)

Q: Is zakaat payable on outstanding debts owed to a person in lieu of services carried out e.g. accountants fees, lawyers fees, etc? If the debt is paid after few years, will zakaat have to be paid for the previous years?
A: If the outstanding debts are in lieu of some services carried out, then zakaat is not payable until one receives it even though the debt is paid after few years. (Shaami 2/305)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on rent owed to a person? In the case where the rent was received after few years, will zakaat be waajib on the rent for the previous years?
A: Zakaat is waajib upon the rent once it is received. Zakaat is not waajib for the past years. (Shaami 2/305)

Q: If the creditor waived off the debt, will zakaat be compulsory upon him for the previous years? A: If the credit or waived off the debt of a poor person, then since the wealth reached a recipient of zakaat, zakaat will not be waajib upon the debt, neither for the current year nor for the previous years. However, if the creditor waives off the debt of a wealthy person, zakaat will not be waajib for the current year, but zakaat will be waajib for the previous years. (Shaami 2/307)

Q: What is the shar’ee ruling regarding a debt that is owed to a person who has no hope ofreceiving the money?
A: If the debtor blankly denies owing the creditor and there is no way to retrieve the money, then zakaat will not be waajib upon the debt. However, ifthe debtor is unable to pay the debt due to financial constraints and wishes respite, then zakaat will be waajib on the debt. (Shaami 2/266)

The Recipients of Zakaat

Q: Which people are not eligible for zakaat?
A: The following people are not eligible for zakaat:

A non-Muslim
A Sayyid (descendent of Nabi Alaihis salaam’s family the Banu Haashim) even if he is poor. (The Banu Haashim include the descendents of either Hazrat Abbaas, Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Jafar, Hazrat Aqeel or Hazrat Haarith bin Abdil Muttalib (Radiyallahu Anhum))
The donors ascendants e.g. his parents, grandparents, etc. and descendents e.g. children, grandchildren, etc.
The donors spouse (husband or wife)
A minor whose father is wealthy A wealthy person (A person who possesses that amount of wealth which equals the nisaab after deducting all his liabilities and debts.) (Shaami 2/344-350)

Q: Will zakaat be discharged by giving it to a poor child?
A: Ifthe child’s father is wealthy then the zakaat will not be discharged by giving it to him. However, if the child’s father is poor or the child is an orphan then through giving him the zakaat money, the zakaat will be discharged on condition that the child has reached the age of understanding. (Shaami 2/344-350 ; Aalamgiri 1/190)

Q: A person gave zakaat to a muslim whom he regarded to be eligible for zakaat. However, after giving him the zakaat he discovered that he was not eligible for zakaat. Is the zakaat discharged?
A: If a person discharged the zakaat to a muslim regarding whom he felt was eligible for zakaat, then the zakaat will be discharged. (Shaami 2/352)

Zakaat on Previous Years

Q: What is the Shar’ee ruling regarding a person who did not discharge the zakaat ofhis jewellery, wealth and stock in trade for many years? How should he discharge the zakaat of the previous years?

A: It is compulsory upon one to discharge the zakaat during the year the zakaat became compulsory. If one delays in discharging the zakaat until the following years zakaat became compulsory, one will be sinful. The law pertaining to zakaat of the missed years is that one will evaluate his zakaatable assets and discharge 2 ½ % of the total for each missed year.

E.g. A persons zakaatable assets are evaluated at R100 000. He will discharge 2 ½ % of R100 000 (R2 500) for the first year. He will be left with R97 500. Thereafter he will discharge 2 ½ % of R97 500 (R2 437,50) for the second year. He will be left with R95 062, 50. He will discharge 2 ½% of that amount for the third year. In this manner he will discharge the zakaat of the remainder years. This is in the case where one did not spend the wealth.

In the case where the person spent the wealth or sold the stock in trade and he is unable to ascertain the exact amount ofwealth he possessed for each year of the ten missed years, then he will apply his mind to the best of his ability in trying to work out the amount which he possessed for each year and accordingly pay 2 ½ % of that amount for the respective years. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah 14/153)

Conditions for the Validity of Zakaat

Q: Is it permissible to use zakaat funds to purchase hampers and feed the poor? Similarly, is it permissible to provide iftaar for the poor in the month of Ramadhaan using zakaat funds?
A: It will be permissible to use zakaat funds to feed the poor provided the requirement of tamleek is found. Tamleek means to transfer ownership ofthe wealth to someone who is eligible for zakaat. Therefore if the poor were given the zakaat hampers, the zakaat will be discharged. If the poor were not given the zakaat hampers but were merely invited for a meal and were allowed to partake of it, then zakaat will not be discharged since the requirement of tamleek was not found. Similar is the case regarding the iftaar food in the month of Ramadhaan. If the poor were given an iftaar hamper, the zakaat will be discharged. If the poor were not given the zakaat hampers but were merely invited to partake of the food provided, then the zakaat will not be discharged since the requirement of tamleek was not found. (Shaami 2/344)

Q: Will zakaat be fulfilled ifit is used to purchase an item for a school?
A: The zakaat will not be fulfilled unless a poor student is made the owner of the item. (Shaami 2/344)

Q: Is it permissible to build Masaajid with zakaat funds?
A: In order for ones zakaat to be discharged, the basic requirement oftamleek is necessary i.e. to transfer ownership to someone who is eligible for zakaat. Since this requirement is not fulfilled in the case ofthe Musjid, zakaat will not be discharged. (Shaami 2/344)

Q: Will zakaat be discharged by paying a poor person’s light or water account?
A: The fundamental requirement in the discharging of zakaat is the aspect of Tamleek i.e. to transfer ownership of the wealth to the recipient of zakaat. Since this requirement is not fulfilled in the case where the person paid the water or light account, the zakaat will not be discharged. However, if one fears that if he gives the money to the poor man, then instead ofhim paying his water or light account he will misuse the wealth, then in this situation he may ask the poor man for permission to pay the account on his behalf. In this way the zakaat will be discharged. (Shaami 2/344)

Zakaat on Shares

Q: Is zakaat waajib on shares? If yes, then how will it be calculated?
A: Zakaat is Waajib on shares. However, it should be noted that zakaat is not Waajib on the entire share. Rather zakaat is only Waajib upon the zakaatable assets ofthe company (i.e. the market value ofthe merchandise contained in the share ofthe company). As far as the non-zakaatable assets ofthe company are concerned e.g. fixtures, fittings, transport vehicles, etc. which are not part of the merchandise ofthe company, the value of all these things will be evaluated in the share and will not be taken in account when discharging the zakaat. If it is difficult to differentiate between the zakaatable and non-zakaatable assets of the company, then as a precaurionary measure one should discharge the zakaat on the market value ofthe entire share.

If a person purchased shares in a company that hires out vehicles, e.g. a trucking company or leases out properties, estates, flats, etc., zakaat will not be Waajib on this type of share. Instead, zakaat will only be Waajib on the profits accrued from the share. (Shaami 2/265, 2/267)

Miscellaneous Masaail

Q: Is zakaat waajib upon platinum, gems, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, etc?
A: Zakaat is not waajib on all precious stones besides gold and silver unless they were purchased with the intention of resale. (Shaami 2/273)

Q: A person purchased a car or house with the intention of resale. Since he does not have any other mode oftransport or residence, he is using the purchased car or house till he finds a buyer. Will zakaat be waajib upon the house and car?
A: In principle zakaat is waajib upon those things which are purchased with the intention of resale. However, in the above mentioned situation, since the person does not have any other mode oftransport or residence, zakaat will not be waajib on the house and car. This law will apply to all those things which relate to the hawaaij-e-asliyyah ofinsaan (the basic needs of man without which living becomes difficult). (Shaami 2/282)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on the payout received from a provident-fund, pension-fund or retirement-fund? A: If the employee willfully invests his money in the fund or commanded the company to invest it on his behalf or consented to the investment, then in all these situations zakaat will be waajib on the payout received. Zakaat will be waajib for the current year as well as the previous years. However, if the employer deducted a certain percentage ofthe employee’s salary without his consent, then zakaat will not be waajib on the payout received for the previous years. (Shaami 5/59)

Q: Is zakaat waajib upon life insurance which matures after the death ofthe policy holder?
A: Zakaat is not waajib upon wealth received from the insurance company after the demise of the policy holder since the wealth did not form part of his estate at the time of his demise. However, if the wealth was received during his lifetime, then he is obligated to pay zakaat ofthe current year as well as the previous years. (Shaami 5/59)

Q: Is zakaat waajib on the payout received from an insurance company for the previous years?
A: Zakaat is waajib on the payout received from the insurance company for the previous years. However, it should be known that it is only permissible for one to take back the amount he had given to the insurance company. The extra amount is impermissible and must be given in Sadaqah without the intention ofreceiving reward. (Shaami 5/59)

Note: It is impermissible for a believer to involve himself in any insurance policy as the elements ofgambling and interest are found in it. If a person has taken out an insurance policy of any kind, then he should sincerely repent and cancel the contract.

Ahadith On [Giving] Zakat on Jewellery

Aḥādīth On [giving] Zakāt on Jewellery[1]

By al-Ḥāfiẓ Jamāl ‘l-Dīn ’Abdullāh b. Yūsuf al-Zayla’ī [d. 762 AH]  الله همحر 

Translated by Abū Ḥumayd 

Translator’s Preface:

The following short piece translated from Ḥāfiẓ Zayla’ī’s book, Naṣb ‘l-Rāyah fī Takhrīj Aḥādīth ‘l-Hidāyah (see footnote 1), covers the issue of giving Zakāt on Jewellery, more importantly on gold and silver. It serves as a response to a group of people who have weakened this opinion and paid no attention to scholarly discourses upon it. It will also, Insha’Allah, serve as a reminder to instil the importance of giving Zakāt on gold and silver to the Muslims.


Regarding this issue [of giving Zakāt on Jewellery], there are general narrations and specific narrations.  

Of the general narrations; the narration of Abū Sa’īd al-Khudrī (may Allāh be pleased with him), “…Sadaqah (Zakāt) is payable on less than five Awāq (of silver).” Al-Bukhārī[2] and Muslim narrated it in their Ṣaḥīḥayn (two authenticated collections), whereas Muslim[3] narrated it from Jābir with similar wordings. The narration of ’Alī: “…you must pay a Dirham [of Zakāt] for every forty (Dirhams).” Then the authors of the four Sunan have narrated it.[4] Ibn Qutaybah said: “Al-Raqqah is silver, whether they are Dirhams or other than it,” Ibn ‘l-Jawzī has narrated this in his ‘Taḥqīq’.[5] In the letter of ‘Amr b. Ḥazm: “…and in every five Ūqiyyahs of silver you give five Dirhams, and in every forty Dīnār you pay one Dīnār,” al-Nasā’ī, Ibn Ḥibbān and al-Ḥākim narrated it,[6] and the other aforementioned narrations all of which have passed. 


As for the specific narrations, then from them is the narration related by Abū Dāwūd and al-Nasā’ī[7] from Khālid b. ‘l-Ḥārith from Ḥusayn al-Mu’allim, from ’Amr b. Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather:  “A woman came to the Prophet ﷺ, who was accompanied by her daughter who wore two heavy gold bangles in her hands. He said to her: ‘Do you pay Zakāt on them?’ She said: ‘No.’ He then said: ‘Are you pleased that Allāh may put two bangles of fire on your hands on the day of judgement?’ Thereupon she took them off and placed them before the Prophet ﷺ saying: ‘They are for Allāh and His Rasūl’.’ 

Ibn ‘l-Qaṭṭān said in his book: “Its chain is authentic,” al-Mundhirī said in his abridgment: “The chain has no problems in it, indeed Abū Dāwūd narrated it from Abū Kāmil al-Jaḥdarī and Ḥumayd b. Mas’adah, and they are both from the authentic narrators (Thiqāt), both of whom Imām Muslim has utilised. [Then there is] Khālid b. ‘l-Ḥārith who is a Imām and Jurist, al-Bukhārī and Muslim both have utilised him. Similarly, Ḥusayn b. Dhakwān al-Mu’allim was utilised in the ‘Ṣaḥīḥ’. Ibn ‘l-Madīnī, Ibn Ma’īn and Abū Ḥātim did his (Ḥusayn) Tawthīq (authentication). [As for] ’Amr b. Shu’ayb then he is known. So, this chain stands as evidence God-willing.”[8]


Al-Nasā’ī also narrated from al-Mu’tamir b. Sulaymān from Ḥusayn al-Mu’allim from ’Amr that he said: “A woman came…” and he (Mu’tamir) mentioned it in Mursal form. Al-Nasā’ī said: ‘Khālid is more established according to us than Mu’tamir. The narration of Mu’tamir is preferred according to the correct opinion.”[9]


Another route is narrated by al-Tirmidhī from by Ibn Lahī’ah from ’Amr b. Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, he said: “Two women came to the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ and in their hands, were bracelets made of gold, so he ﷺ said to them: ‘Has Zakāt been given for that?’ They replied: ‘No.’ So he ﷺ said: ‘Do you like that Allāh places two bracelets of fire on your hands?’ They said: ‘No.’ So he ﷺ said: ‘Then give it’s Zakāt’”. 

Al-Tirmidhī said: “…and al-Muthannā b. ‘l-Ṣabbāḥ narrated it from ’Amr b. Shu’ayb similarly, Ibn Lahī’ah and al-Muthannā b. ‘l-Ṣabbāḥ have been weakened in Hadīth. Hence there is nothing authentic in regarding this chapter from the Prophet ﷺ.”[10] Al-Mundhirī mentioned: “Maybe al-Tirmidhī intended to mean the two routes which he mentioned (are weak), except the route of Abū Dawūd has no problems in it (the chain).”[11]  

Ibn ‘l-Qaṭṭān said after his authenticating of the narration of Abū Dāwūd: “Indeed al-Tirmidhī only weakened this narration because according to him there were two weak narrators; Ibn Lahī’ah and al-Muthannā b. ‘l-Ṣabbāḥ.”[12]


Those that narrated it with the same chain as al-Tirmidhī are Aḥmad, Ibn Abī Shaybah and Isḥāq b. Rahwayh in their Musnads. And their wording is: “He ﷺ said to them; ‘So give Zakāt on that which is on your hands,’ and this wording removes the possibility of the interpretation of those who have said that the Zakāt mentioned in the narration is only legislated for what is beyond the necessity, and Allāh knows best. 

Another route narrated by Aḥmad (May Allāh be pleased with him) in his Musnad,[13] is from al-Muthannā b. ‘l-Ṣabbāḥ from ’Amr b. Shu’ayb etc., which is the route indicated to by al-Tirmidhī [as mentioned earlier], another route also narrated by Aḥmad and by al-Dāraqūṭnī in his Sunan from al-Ḥajjāj b. Arṭāh etc although al-Ḥajjāj is not utilised as proof.


Another ḥadīth narrated by Abū Dāwūd in his Sunan[14] [with his chain]: Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Rāzī related to us, who said: ’Amr b. ‘l-Rabī’ b. Ṭāriq related to us, who said: Yaḥyā b. Ayyūb related to us, from ’Ubaydullāh b. Abī Ja’far that Muḥammad b. ’Amr b. ’Aṭā’ informed him that ’Abdullāh b. Shaddād b. ‘l-Hād who said: “We entered upon ’Ā’ishah, [the wife of the Prophet ﷺ]. She said; ‘The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ entered upon me and saw two silver rings in my hand. He asked’: ‘What is this ’Ā’ishah?’ ‘I said: I had them made to adorn myself for you, Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.’ ‘He asked: Do you pay zakat on them?’ ‘I said: No. He said’: ‘This is sufficient to take you to the Hell fire.’”  

And al-Ḥākim narrated it with his chain in al-Mustadrak through Muḥammad b. ’Amr b. ’Aṭā’, and said: “Authentic upon the conditions of the two Shaykhs, and they did not narrate it.”[15] Al-Daraqūṭnī also narrated in his Sunan through Muḥammad b. ’Aṭā’ through the lineage of his grandfather and not his father. Thereafter he (al-Daraqūṭn) said: “Muḥammad b. ’Aṭā’ is unknown (majhūl).”  

Imām al-Bayhaqī said in al-Ma’rifah: “…and he is Muḥammad b. ’Amr b. ’Aṭā’, because his lineage went to his grandfather as al-Daraqūṭnī thought that he is unknown, whereas this not the case.”[16]


[1] From the author’s book; Naṣb ‘l-Rāyah fī Takhrīj Aḥādīth ‘l-Hidāyah [2/439-441, Dār ‘l-Ḥadīth; 1995 ed.]. The translator also took the title of translation from this author’s text.

[2] Ṣaḥīḥ ‘l-Bukhārī [#1413].

[3] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim [#1635].

[4] Jāmi’ ‘l-Tirmidhī [#563], Sunan Abū Dāwūd [#1437], Sunan ‘l-Nasā’ī [#2442], Sunan Ibn Mājah [#1780].

[5] Gharīb ‘l-Ḥadīth, Ibn ‘l-Jawzī [1/411] 

[6] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān [14/501 #6559], Mustadrak ’alā ‘l-Ṣaḥīḥayn, al-Ḥākim [#1377].

[7] Sunan Abū Dāwūd [#1563], Sunan ‘l-Nasā’ī [#2479].

[8] ’Umdat ‘l-Qāri, Badr ‘l-Dīn al-’Aynī [13/456].

[9] Sunan ‘l-Nasā’ī [#2479].

[10] Jāmi’ ‘l-Tirmidhī [#637].

[11] ’Umdat ‘l-Qāri, Badr ‘l-Dīn al-’Aynī [13/456].

[12] Fatḥ ‘l-Qadīr, Ibn ‘l-Humām [2/216].

[13] Musnad Aḥmad [2/178 #6667].

[14] Sunan Abū Dāwūd [#1565].

[15] Mustadrak ’alā ‘l-Ṣaḥīḥayn, al-Ḥākim [3/468 #1388]. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-’Asqalānī said in al-Talkhīṣ ‘l-Ḥabīr [2/494 #859]: ‘It’s chain is upon the conditions of the Ṣaḥīḥ’.

[16] Muḥammad b. ’Amr b. ’Aṭā’ is known, and is an authentic narrator, please refer to: Siyar A’lām ‘l-Nubalā’, al-Dhahabī [5/225] who said: ‘…one of the trustworthy narrators’, and Taqrīb ‘l-Tadhīb, Ibn Ḥajar [1/499 #6187] who said: ‘trustworthy’, also refer to Tahdhīb ‘l-Tahdhīb [9/384 #8616] for a full discussion on the narrator.

How Much Is Sadaqah Fitr??

[Mujlisul Ulama]

There  is  some  unneeded,  superfluous  difference  of  opinion regarding  the  Sadqah  Fitr  amount.  One  Molvi  Sahib  stating  his opinion says:

“One  of  the  purposes  of  Sadaqatul  Fitra  is  that  the  less fortunate  be  enabled  to  enjoy  some  of  the  same  benefits  of  Eid  as  their  more  entitled  Muslim  brethren.”  

The  Molvi  Sahib  has  misunderstood  the  objective  of  Sadqah  Fitr.  Primarily,  Sadqah  Fitr  consists  of  a  measure  of    the  staple  food  of  the  poor.  Thus,  the  Shariah  has  explicitly  ordered  that  Sadqah  Fitr  be  primarily  paid  with  grain  –  wheat,  rice,  or dates  and  the  like. 

Sadqah  Fitr  is  not  to  provide  a  sumptuous  meal  of  meat,  pies,  samoosas,  biryaani,  cakes,  deserts,  etc.  This   is  not  the  objective  of  Sadqah  Fitr.  The  Maqsad  is  to  ensure  that  every  poor  Muslim  has  sufficient  food  on  the  Day  of  Eid.  The  fact  that  it  is  permissible  to  distribute  one  Sadqah  Fitr  amount  to  more  than  one  Faqeer  adequately  nullifies  the  contention  of  the  Molvi  Sahib.

The  Shariah  has  stipulated  one  Sa’  (a  measure  of  approximately  3.5  kilograms)  of  grain  (Shaafis)  or  half  a  Sa’ (Hanafis)  as  the  Sadqah  Fitr  amount.  This  is  a  Mansoos  Alayh  Hukm.  This  measure  has  been  explicitly  confirmed  by  all  the  Math-habs  and  it  has  been  in  operation  in  the  Ummah  since  the  age  of  Rasulullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  As  far  as  we  are  aware,  it  is  only  in  South  Africa  where  some    Molvis  have  differed  with  this  14  century  Ijmaa’i   law  of  the  Shariah. It  is  indeed  most  audacious  to  venture  an  opinion  which  conflicts  with  a  law  on  which  there  has  been  Consensus  of  the  entire  Ummah  for  more  than  fourteen  centuries.

The  insistence  on  giving  only  specific  grain,  not  flour,  not bread,  not  money,  etc.  as  Sadqah  Fitr  is  remarkable  in  the Hambali  and  Shaafi’  Math-habs.  The  Sadqah  is  not  discharged  if  cash  or  biryaani  or  rice  or  meat  or  samoosas  or  any  other  type  of  food  is  given  even  if  the  monetary  value  is  in  excess of  any  value/amount  suggested  by  the  Molvi  dissenters  who  have  broken  from  the  Ijmaa’ of  the  Ummah.

The  Molvi  Sahib  avers: “The  amount  touted  this  year  is  the  lowly  sum  of  R22.  How  can  this  figure  be  justified,  especially  when  comparing  it  against  our  laden  tables  on  Eid  day?”  

The  Molvi  Sahib  has  missed  the  bus.  He  is  way  off  the Shar’i  track.  This  erroneous  conclusion  is  the  product  of  his  primary  erroneous  premiss  which  has  been  rebutted  above.  Comparison    with  the  laden  tables  of  the  wealthy  is  not  the  standard  for  calculating  Sadqah  Fitr.  The  Shariah  does  not  debar  anyone  from  contributing  such  funds  to  the  poor  which  could  procure  for  them  the  sumptuous,  albeit  physically  and spiritually  ruinous  dishes  which  Muslims  devour  nowadays.  People  are  free  to  give  voluntary  Sadqah  in  any  amount  they  desire.  But  to  tamper  with  the  laws  of  the  Shariah  is  neither  permissible  nor  acceptable.  In  the  attempt  to  provide  luxury  food  items,  it  is  highly  improper  to  seek  a  re-interpretation  of  the  fourteen  century  law.  Rather,  the  Molvi  Sahib  should encourage  and  exhort  Muslims  to  open  up  their  hearts  and  to contribute  Sadqah  generously.

If  people  contribute  even  a  small  percentage  of  the  huge amounts  which  they  squander  in  unnecessary  luxuries,  haraam  functions,  etc.,  then  there  will  be  ample  funds  available  to  feed  the  poor  with  the  type  of  sumptuous  dishes  mentioned  by  the  Molvi  Sahib.  To  say  the  least,  it  is  indeed  peculiar  to    seek  a  re-interpretation  of  a  law  of  the  Shariah  cast  in  rock.  It  is essential  to  remember  that  the  objective  of  Sadqah  Fitr  is  not  biryaani,  samoosas,  pies,  carrion  chickens  and  the  mounds  of processed  flotsam  ‘foods’  with  which  Muslims  are  destroying  themselves  physically  and  spiritually.  The  Shariah  has  selected  for  the  poor  their  staple  diet  which  is  best  for  their  general  health.

The  Molvi  Sahib,  campaigning  for  a  change  to  the  Shariah’s  ruling,  cries:  “I  appeal  to  all  Muslim  brothers  and  sisters  to  do  some  introspection  –  per  portion  of  what  your  Eid  meals  cost.”   The  Molvi  Sahib   has  calculated  that  for   their  ‘huge  breakfasts,  biryani,  braais  and   suppers”  it  costs  about  R100  per  person,  hence  this  is  his  criterion  for  determining  the  Waajib  Sadqah  Fitr.  

Payment  of  Sadqah  Fitr  is  Waajib.  Non-payment  is  sinful,  and  the  fasts  of  Ramadhaan  are  suspended  between  the  earth  and  heavens  as  long  as  the  Fitrah  remains  unpaid.  Now  if  someone  does  not  pay    R100,  will  he  be  sinful?  Will  he  be  perpetrating  a  major  sin,  the  consequence  of  which  is  Hell-Fire?  If  the  answer  is  no,  then  the  imposition  of  R100  is  a  stupid  futility.  If  the  answer  is  yes,  then  we  ask:  Did  the Molvi  Sahib  receive  Wahi  to  fix  this  amount?  Has  he  solid Shar’i  substantiation  to  impose  his  R100  as  a  Waajib  obligation  on  the  Ummah?  It  is  quite  obvious  that  the  R100  is  the  Molvi’s  personal  opinion  unbacked  by  any  Shar’i  daleel.

Furthermore,  the  Molvi’s    determination  is  in  flagrant  conflict  with  the  Shariah’s  ruling  of   one  or  half  Sa’  of  grain.  The  biryani  and  braai  aspects  play  absolutely  no  role  in  the determination  of  Sadqah  Fitr.    The  criterion  is  the  measurement   and  the  staple  food  of  the  Fuqara  in  particular.  The  measurement  is  the  Sa’,  and  the  staple  food  is  generally  wheat  or  rice,  etc.  Any  conflicting  view  is  to  tamper  with  the  Shariah.

In  our  environment,  there  are  hardly  any  Fuqara  who  qualify  for  Sadqah  Fitr.  While  there  are  many  who  qualify  to  accept Zakaat,  there  are  almost  none  for  Sadqah  Fitr.  Genuine  Fuqara  and  Masaakeen  are  in  other  lands  where  a  single Fitrah  amount  is  greatly  appreciated  and  where  it  can  feed  a  family  for  the  day  with  their  staple  food.  Even  the  ‘poor’  here  own  cell  phones    for  savouring  pornography.  The  R22  Fitrah  will  suffice  for  a  couple  of  cell  phone  cards.  The  ‘poor’  here  are  not  in  need  of  staple  food  for  which  R22  is    more  than  adequate.  Yes,  it  is  not  adequate  for  haraam  braais  and  carrion  chickens, but  such  issues  are  unrelated  to  Sadqah  Fitr.

The  Molvi’s  mention  of  the  ‘Pleasure  of  Allah’  in  the  context  of  Sadqah  Fitr  is  misplaced.  Muslims  are  always  encouraged  to  spend  on  the  poor  generously.  This  is  not  reliant  on  Sadqah  Fitr  nor  restricted  to  the  Day  of  Eid.  There  is  absolutely  no  need  to  tamper  with  the  Sadqah  Fitr  law  for  exhorting  people  to  be  kind,  generous  and  helpful  to  the  poor  and  destitute.  Such  kindness  is  Waajib  all  year  round  and  is  unrelated  to  Sadqah  Fitr.

Unthinkingly,  the  Molvi  Sahib  says:  “For  anyone  objecting  to this  (i.e.  to  the  R100  fitrah  opined  by  the  Molvi  Sahib),  there  is  also  a  mention  in  the  Hadith  about  one  Sa’a  of  dates (approximately  2  kilograms). How  much  is  that  today?”  

If  the  Molvi  Sahib  had  applied  his  mind,  he  would  not  have  made  this  futile  observation.    The  Sa’  of  dates  is,  firstly, optional.  The  Ahaadith  allow  several  options.  Payment  of  Fitrah  is  not  fixed  with  dates  or  wheat  or  barley,  etc.  It  is  the  staple  food  of  a  community.  Secondly,  dates     for  South  African  Muslims,  including  the  very  poor,  is  not  a  food  consumed  to  fill  the  stomach.  It  is  not  their  staple  food.  In  fact,  even  in  Arabia, it is  no  longer  the  staple  food.    Thirdly,  there  is  no  Shar’i  obligation  to  compute  the  Sadqah  Fitr  amount  with  the dates  yardstick.  The  criterion  is  the  staple  food  of  a  people.

In  South  Africa,  during  every  Ramadhaan,  tons  of  dates  are  distributed  to  the  poor,  apart  from  Sadqatul  Fitr.  Half  a  kilogram  is  not  used  by  most  people  over  an  entire  month. Towards  the  middle  of  Ramadhaan,  we  hand  boxes  of  dates  to  brothers  to  seek  out  takers.  While  people  will  devour  many  kilograms  of    halaalized  diseased  carrion  chickens,  they  consume  dates    frugally  in  South  Africa.  It  is,  therefore,  not  a  standard  for  the  calculation  of  Sadqah  Fitr.

A  campaign  to  encourage  Muslims  to  contribute  money  for  the  needs  of  the  poor  is  always  welcome  and  an  act  of  great  merit.  But  the  basis  for  such  campaigns  should  not  be  mutilation  of  the  Shariah’s  ahkaam  by  self-opinion  and  baseless  interpretation  stemming   from  fancy  and  whim.  Today  the  desire  is  to  tamper  with  the  Shariah’s  stipulated  Fitrah  amount.  Tomorrow  this  satanic  re-interpretation   will  be  extended  to  Zakaat.  Instead  of  2.5%,  some  Molvi  Sahib  will  suggest  that  it  should  be  5%.

Let  us  now  see  what  the  Fuqaha  of  Islam  say  regarding  Sadqah  Fitr.

“Regarding  that  which  is  Waajib:  The  Waajib  amount  is  half  Sa’  of  wheat  or  one  Sa’  barley  or  one  Sa’  of  dates according  to  us  (i.e.  the  Hanafis).”  Ash-Shaafi  said:    One  Sa’ of  wheat…….The  flour  of  wheat  and  barley  is  the  same  according  to  us  (Ahnaaf).”     [Badaaius Sanaa’] 

If  the  Sadqah  is  paid  with  raisins,  the  ruling  according  to  the  Ahnaaf  vacillates  between  a  Sa’  and  half  a  Sa’.  The  reasoning  underlying  the  half Sa’  of  raisins,  is:

“The  price  of  raisins  is  normally  more  than  the  price  of  wheat,  hence  half  Sa’  raisins  suffices……..It  is  possible  to  reconcile  the  two  different  views  (Imaam  Abu  Hanifah’s  view  and  the  view  of  Saahibain  regarding  raisins)  by  means  of  determining  the  Waajib  amount  on  the  basis  of  the  price.  During  the  era  of  Imaam  Abu  Hanifah  the  price    (of  raisins)  was  the  same  as  that  of  wheat,  and  during  the  time  of  Saahibain  the  price  was  as  the  price  of  barley  and  dates.”  [Badaaius Sanaai’]

The  wheat  standard  adopted  by  our  Fuqaha  is  most  significant  in  understanding  the  wisdom  underlying  the    obligation  of  Sadqah  Fitrah.    In  terms  of  value,  a  Sa’  of  raisins  was  higher  than  the  value  of  a  Sa’  of  wheat.  Despite  payment  of  Fitrah being  of  greater  merit  in  terms  of  money  than  grain  according to  the  Ahnaaf,  and  despite  the  value  of  a  Sa’  of  raisins  being having  a  higher  monetary  value,  our  Fuqaha  reduced  the   quantity  to  the  equivalent    of  the  value  of  wheat.  Although    it  would  have  been  in  the  interests  of  the  Fuqara  to  have  retained  a  Sa’  for  raisins,  this  principle  of  Anfa’lil  fuqara  (That  which  is   more  beneficial  for  the  Fuqara),  which  is    utilized  for  calculating  the  Zakaat  Nisaab,  has  been  discarded  for  determining    Sadqah  Fitr.  It  is  thus  clear  that  the  standard  is  the  staple  food  of  a  community  and  the  Sa’  measure.

The  Shaafi’  Math-hab  has  an  even  narrower  and  more  rigid  concept  of  Sadqah  Fitr

“That  which  is  Waajib  is  a  Sa’  according  to  the  Sa’ of Rasulullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam)  because  of  the  Hadith  of  Ibn  Umar  (Radhiyallahu  anhu)……….Abul  Abbaas  and  Abu  Ishaaq  said  that  it  is  incumbent  with  the  staple  food  of  a  community…..  If  in  a  city  there  is  no  specific  staple  food,  then  it  (Sadqah  Fitr)  shall  be  paid  with    the  staple  food  of  the  nearest  city. …..

Our  Ashaab  (i.e.  the  Shaafi’  Fuqaha)  say  that  the  condition (for  the  discharge  of)  of  Sadqah  Fitr  by  means  of      the  staple foods  (of  communities)  is  that  it  should  be  (such  products)  in which  Ushri  is  Waajib.  Therefore  anything  besides  this  will  not be valid…….
Al-Maawardi  said  that  similarly  (i.e.  will  not  suffice  for  Sadqah  Fitr)  fish  and  eggs  even  if  these  are  the  staple  food  of some islanders.  In  this  there  is  no  difference  of  opinion.

With  regard  to  meat  (as  Sadqah  Fitr),  the  correct  view  is  that  As-Shaafi’  has  stated  explicitly    thereon  and  the  Ashaab  in  all  narrations  have  emphatically  said  that  it  is  not permissible…….. Similarly,  even  if  the  staple  food)  of  some  community  is  fruit  on  which  there  is  no  Ushri  such  as  figs,   etc.,  then  this  will  not  suffice  (for  Sadqah  Fitr).

Ash-Shaafi’  and  the  Ashaab  said  that  flour  and  saweeq  (barley  cereal)  will  not  suffice  just  as  the  value  (monetary value)  will  not  suffice.”  [Kitaabul Majmoo’]

The  above  is  a  very  brief  summary  of  the  Shaafi’  viewpoint.  There  is    considerable  elaboration  and  differences  regarding the  details  of  Sadqah  Fitr  in  the  Shaafi’  Math-hab.  However, the  differences  all  pertain  to  the  ‘staple’  food  and    the  measure of  the  Sa’.  But  the  staple  food  and  the  Sa’   are  the  two fundamentals  of  Sadqah  Fitr.

In  terms  of  the  Hambali  Math-hab  too,  the  criterion  is  the  Sa’  and  the  staple  food.

“(It  is)  the  Sa’  according  to  the  Sa’  of  Nabi  (Sallallahu  alayhi wasallam).  One  Sa’ is  Waajib  for  every  person….

Sadaqatul  Fitr  is  discharged  by  means  of  the  dominant staple  food  of  the  city….It  is  (also)  fulfilled  by  means  of  every  type  of  grain  which  is  the  staple  food  when  the  mansoos alay  types  are  not  available  (i.e.  wheat,  barley,  dates,  etc. mentioned  by  Rasulullah  –  Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  From this  it  is  apparent  that   (other  items)  besides  this,  is  not  sufficient,  e.g.  meat  and  milk  (do  not  suffice  for  Sadqah  Fitr).

If  one  is  able  to  give  dates  or  raisins  or  wheat  or  barley  or iqat  (a  kind  of  cheese),  and  he  gives  something  else  besides (any  of  these  mansoos  alay  items),  then  it  will  not  suffice  (for  the  discharge  of  Sadqah  Fitr)  according  to  the  Zaahir  Mathhab.  Diverson  from  these  kinds  (mentioned  in  the  Hadith)  is  not  permissible  when  one  has  the  ability  to  (discharge  the  Sadqah)  with  it  regardless  of  the    ma’dool  ilayh  (the  other  item)  being  the  staple  food  or  not……..

Maalik  said  that  it  should  be  paid  with  the  dominant  staple food  of  the  city,  and  Ash-Shaafi’  said  that  any  staple  food  which  is  dominant  for  a person….

It  is  permissible  to  pay  (Sadqah  Fitr)  with  flour  and  saweeq  (a  cereal    of    barley).    Maalik  and  Shaafi’  said  that  it  is  not  permissible  with  these  two  items……………….

It  is  not  permissible  to  pay  Sadqah  Fitr  with  bread,  hareesah  (a  biryani  kind  of  dish),  kaboola  (oats)  and  their  like  (such  as  the  Molvi’s  biryaani,  braai,  pies,  carrion   chickens,  etc.)  because  it  (Sadqah  Fitr)  is  paid  by  means  of  measure  (i.e. the  Sa’)  and  items  which  are  not  perishable.  Nor  can  it  be  paid with  vinegar  and  dabs  (molasses)  because  these  are  not  staple  foods.

Imaam  Ahmad  said  (regarding  paying  Sadqah  Fitr    with money):  “I  fear  that  it  will  not  suffice  because  it  is  in  conflict with  the  Sunnah  of  Rasulullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  ……Maalik  and  Shaafi’  held  the  same  view.”  [Al-Mughni – Ibn Qudaamah]

There  is  likewise  difference  of  opinion  on  the  details  of  staple  food,  nevertheless,   the  criterion  according  to  the Hambali  Math-hab  is  also  Sa’  and  staple  food,  not  biryaani,   braai  meat  and  carrion  chickens  which  has  become  a  kind  of  ‘staple  food’  for  the  Molvis  of  this  era.

According  to  the  Maaliki  Math-hab,  the  fundamentals  are  the same,  namely,  Sa’  and  the staple  food.

“The  dominant  staple  food  from  wheat,  barley,  rice,  corn, dates,  raisins,  and  cheese,  is  Waajib………. Paying  (the  Sadqah  Fitr)  with  that  which  is  not  the  dominant  staple  food  is not  valid  except  if  it  is  of  a  superior  kind,  for  example  if  the  staple  food  is  barley,  and  they  pay  with  wheat,  it  will suffice.”  [Al-Mathaahibul Ar-ba’ah] 

It  will  be   clear  from  the  aforementioned  citations  that  according  to  all  four  Math-habs,  the  determinants  for   Sadqah  Fitr  are  the  Sa’  and  the  staple  food  of  a  community.  In  all  the  Math-habs,  the  differences  centre  around  these  two  essential  requisites.  This  has  been  the  position  of  the  Shariah  since  the  time  of  Rasulullah  (Sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam).  It  is  only  in  our  time  that  some  Molvis  lacking  in  proper  understanding,  are  advocating  a  new  carrion  standard  which  is  in  total  conflict  with  the  Ijma’  (Consensus)  of  the  Ummah.

While  promoting  and  propagating  generosity  for  the  Fuqara   are   most  welcome,    this  should  not  be  at  the  expense  of  interfering  with  the  ahkaam of  the  Shariah.

Some rules of Sadaqah fitr

1.  Sadaqatul  fitr  or  Fitrah  is  waajib  (compulsory)  upon  all Muslims-  male,  female  and  children  who  on  the  Day  of Eid-ul-fitr  are  owners  of  the  Nisaab  of  Zakaat.  I.e. approximately  the  rand  value  of  the  current  price  of 19.6875  troy  ounces  or  612g  of  silver  (Hanafi  Math-hab). According  to  the  Shaafi  math-hab,  Fitrah  becomes  obligatory,  if  one  has  sufficient  food  for  one’s  household for  one  day  and  one  night  (24  hours).  Thus,  if  one  is  not  the  owner  of  the  Zakaat  Nisaab  value,  Fitrah  will  yet  be  compulsory  according  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab.

2.  According  to  the  Hanafi  Math-hab,  the  Fitrah  becomes Waajib  when  the  Day  of  Fitr  dawns  with  the  commencement  of  Fajr  time.  Therefore,  if  someone  died  before  entry  of  Fajr  on  the  day  of  Eid,  Fitrah  will  not  be  paid  out  of  his  (the  deceased’s)  estate,  since  the  Fitrah  is  not  Waajib  upon  him.  And,  if  a  child  is  born  before  the  rising  of  FajrFitrah  will  be  paid  on  his  behalf.  If  the  child  is  born  after  the  entry  of  Fajr  (on  the  day  of  Eid),  Fitrah is not Waajib on his behalf.

3.  According  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab,  Fitrah  becomes incumbent  with  the  commencement  of  the  night  of  Eidul-fitr,  i.e.  the  moment   the  sun  sets  on  the  last  day  of Ramadhaan.  Thus,  if  someone  dies  after  sunset  on  the  last day  of  Ramadhaan  (i.e.  the  first  of  Shawwaal)  Fitrah  shall be  paid  out  of  his  estate.  Fitrah  will  not  be  waajib  upon  a  child  born  after  sunset  of  the  last  day  of  Ramadhaan.

4.  According  to  the  Hanafi  math-hab,  the  father  has  to  pay  the  Fitrah  on  behalf  of  his  minor  children,  i.e.  those  who  have  not  yet  attained  the  age  of  puberty.

5.  According  to  the  Hanafi  Math-hab,  it  is  not  obligatory upon  the  husband  to  pay  the  Fitrah  on  behalf  of  his  wife. If  she  is  the  owner  of  the   Nisaab,  she  shall  pay  her  own  Fitrah.

6.  According  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab,  it  is  obligatory  upon the  man  to  pay  the  Fitrah  on  behalf  of  his  minor  children  as  well  as  his  wife.

7.  If  a  minor  is  the  owner  of  wealth  to  the  amount  of  Nisaab, then  payment  of  Fitrah  on  behalf  of  the  minor  could  be  made  from  his  (minor’s)  wealth.  This  is  according  to  both  Hanafi  and  Shaafi  Math-hab.

8.  The  Fitrah  should  preferably  be  paid  before  the  Eid Salaat.

9.  It  is  not  permissible  to  delay  the  Fitrah  later  than  the  day of  Eid.  However,  if  it  was  not  paid  on  the  day  of  Eid  or  before,  the  obligation  remains  and  the  Fitrah  will  have  to be paid.

10.  It  is  permissible  to  pay  the  Fitrah  in  advance  at  anytime during  the  month  of  Ramadhaan.  This  is  according  to  both  Hanafi  and  Shaafi  math-hab.  However  according  the Hanafi  Math-hab,  Fitrah  could  be  paid  even  before Ramadhaan  whereas  according  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab,  payment  of  Fitrah  before  Ramadhaan  is  not  valid.

11.  Sadaqatul Fitr  is  Waajib  upon  all  those  who  fasted  as  well  as  those  who  did  not  fast  for  some  reason  or  the  other. This  is  according  to  both  Hanafi  and  Shaafi  Math-hab.

12.  Fitrah  amount  is  the  price  of  approximately  1.75kg  flour according  to  the  Hanafi  Math-hab.  According  to  the  Shaafi  Math-hab  it  is  3.5kg  of  Flour.

13. Instead  of  cash,  Flour  may  be  given.

14.  Fitrah  can  only  be  paid  to  the  “poor”.  Those  who  are  entitled  to  accept  Zakaat.

15.  Fitrah  cannot  be  utilized  for  any  charitable  purpose  other  than  the  poor.  Therefore,  if  Fitrah  money  are accumulated  and  then  spent  on  some  other  charitable  cause,  the  Fitrah  obligation  of  the  Fitrah  payers  will  not  be  discharged.



Answer by Jamiatul Ulama, Northern Cape:

The conditions for Zakaat to be Fardh (Obligatory) upon a person are as follows:

➡A person has to be a Muslim. (Kuffaar do not have to give Zakaat)

➡A person has to be free. (Today slavery does not exist. When slavery existed, Zakaat was not Fardh upon slaves)

➡A person has to be sane. (Zakaat is not Fardh on insane people)

➡A person has to be Baaligh. (Zakaat is not Fardh on those that have not yet attained puberty – immature persons)

➡A person needs to be the owner of the Zakaat Nisaab. (Nisaab is the minimum amount which a person must have for Zakaat to be Fardh upon one’s self. One needs to contact the Ulama in order to find out what is the Nisaab amount. A person who has less than the Nisaab amount, does not have to pay Zakaat. The
Zakaat Nisaab is the value of 612 grams silver)

➡The Nisaab must be over and above one’s basic needs and debts. (If a person has the Nisaab amount after deducting his basic expenses, but he has a debt which if deducted, would make him/her have less than the Nisaab amount, then Zakaat is not Waajib upon such a person)

➡After owning the Nisaab amount, a year has to pass for Zakaat to be Fardh upon the owner of the Nisaab amount. (A person got the Nisaab amount, but he did not have it for a full year, for example he had on 1 Muharram the Nisaab amount, but at the end of the year 30 Zul Hijjah, he did not have the Nisaab amount, it is not Fardh upon such a person to discharge Zakaat. Always remember that one’s year begins when one has the amount of Nisaab.)

Further Reading: Guide to Zakah – Understanding & Calculation

Not Paying Zakaat ! Beware Of The Athaab !

THE FOLLOWING episode was narrated by Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh), and it happened in Thana bavan where Hadhrat was resident.

A Mullaji had horded a sum of money which he kept in an earthenware vessel underground. He would almost daily open up the jar and count the money. His extreme love for the money prevented him from paying the compulsory Zakaat. Some youngsters who were his students had observed the daily practice of the Mullaji. One day during the absence of the Mullaji, they stole the money. With some of the money they prepared a lavish meal, and also invited Mullaji. Whilst eating, the Mullaji enquired about the occasion for having prepared such a sumptuous feast. The youngsters said: “Hadhrat this is as a result of your blessings.”

However, the Mullaji asked several times for the reason of the feast. But the youngsters each time responded with the same comment. When one boy sarcastically laughed, the Mullaji became apprehensive. It occurred to him that there was something sinister about the feast. He became so much disturbed that he discontinued
eating and hastened to his room. When he opened the jar, he was so terribly shocked to discover that his money was missing that he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot. The youngsters who had played the prank were remorseful. They informed the people of what had transpired. A pious Aalim, Maulana Sa’duddeen of the town told the people that the money which was the cause for the death of the Mullaji was accursed and that they should bury it with him. Thus the remainder of the money was put in a bag and buried together with  Mullaji.

A robber being apprized of this episode thought the Aalim was a moron hence he advised that such a considerable sum of money be wasted. During the night time, the robber opened the grave to steal the money. When he opened the grave, to his surprise he saw all the silver coins neatly spread out on the kafan of Mullaji. The coins were all sparkling very brightly. As the robber touched a coin, he let out a terrible scream. The extreme heat of the coin was unbearable.

In fear the robber fled. The sizzling pain would not disappear. Nothing could cool his burning finger. He had to keep his finger immersed in a container of cold water permanently. This would give him some relief. Whenever he removed his hand to change the water, the sizzling pain would compel him to scream. The mayyit
(Mullaji) was being tormented with the silver he had horded and whose Zakaat he had not paid.

The Qur’an warns those who do not pay Zakaat that their faces and bodies will be branded with the heated coins which they used to horde on earth.

Related Article: Guide to Zakah – Understanding & Calculation

Zakaat and the Solar Year

[Majlisul Ulama]

Zakaat is an Islamic institution which is a Fardh lbadat of fundamental importance. It is one of the fundamentals of Islam. There is no distinguishing between the two fundamentals, viz Salat and Zakaat, in so far as importance is concerned. Islam has attached a host of laws to this institution of Zakat. Like Salat, it is a great and an independant lbadat which will be discharged only if the Shari rules relevant to it are fulfilled. Zakat being a strictly Islamic lbadat, cannot be hinged onto worldly considerations which interfere with the correct discharge of this obligation. It is not to be made a secondary institution merely because of inconveniences caused to us by the laws of finance and economics of the kuffar. Here we refer to the ‘Nisab Time’. Zakat becomes payable after twelve Islamic months have passed upon the attaining of the Nisab value. Regarding this time-period, we say that the solar calendar or the Christian calendar does not suffice. It is essential that the Islamic calendar – or twelve Islamic months – be counted regarding the time-period of the Nisab.


In certain quarters it has been suggested that the Christian calendar too will be valid providing that 4% is added to the stock-figure obtained from the stock-taking after twelve solar months. Stock-taking is usually effected at the end of the financial year (which is after twelve Christian months) for income tax purposes. Muslim businessmen, therefore, employ these figures in the calculation of their Zakat, the argument being that it is too difficult to have two stock-takings – one for income tax and one for Zakat. The suggested addition of 4% to the stock-figure, is, ostensibly, to ‘rectify’ the discrepency which occurs as a result of the 11 day longer Christian calendar. However, in actual fact, the discrepency is not rectified by adding 4%. In fact, a number of serious discrepencies will result if the Christian calendar is employed for Zakat purposes. Hereunder we explain a few such serious discrepencies.

The Shariah does not apply Zakat tax to a part of the year. Zakat is payable for only full-year units. Hence, if Zakat has not been paid for two years, for example. then the only way of discharging the obligation is to pay Zakat for two years. If after two years and one month (for example) one decides to pay the past Zakat, one will be liable for two years’ Zakat and not for two years and one month, part of the year not being considered.

The addition of 4% resembles a penalty for late payment. But, the Shariah levies no penalty for late payment of Zakat.

Assuming that stock is taken 18 months after having attained Nisab, it will mean that the stock-figure has to be inflated by 50% since 6 months is 50% of the year, but this is at the end of the Islamic twelve months Mr Zaid had stock, cash and other Zakat-taxable wealth for the sum of R 20,000, but as yet he did not effect stock-taking because the financial year for income tax purpose has not yet ended. Eleven days after the expiry of the Islamic year, Mr Zaid takes stock on the 28th February and finds that his stock and other Zakat­ taxable assets amount to R 30,000. Now according to the ‘4% increase’ theory, the amount of R30 000 will have to be increased by 4%, giving a total of R 31,200 on which Zakat have to be paid, i.e. according to the ‘4% increase’ theory. However, according to the Shariah, Zakat should be paid on only the amount owned at the end of the Islamic year, which in this example is R 20,000. The additional R 10,000 by which the R 20,000 was augmented in the succeeding 11 days are exempt from Zakat. Zakat will be payable on the additional R 10,000 only at the end of the next twelve Islamic months, and that too if at the end of that period this amount remains in the form of Zakat-taxable assets. If during the course of the year this amount was lost, utilized or converted into non-Zakat wealth, e.g. motor car, building, furniture, etc., then Zakat will not be payable on it.

At the end of the Islamic twelve months Mr Amr had Zakat taxable assets for the amount of R 2,000, but as yet he did not take stock. Eleven days after (i.e. at the end of the financial year) he takes stock and discovers that due to some misfortune his Zakat-taxable assets were reduced to below Nisab. In this case, Mr Amr will not be liable for Zakat according to those who accept the Christian calendar for Zakat calculating purpose. But, according to the Shariah he is liable for Zakat on R 2,000 because at the end of the Islamic twelve months he was the owner of Zakat wealth for the sum of R 2,000.

At the end of the Islamic year Mr Bakr had Zakat-taxable assets for the amount of R 10,000, but as yet he did not take stock. Eleven days thereafter he takes stock. Within the course of the succeeding eleven days he had incurred debts for Now. according to those who accept the Christian calendar as valid for Zakat purpose, Mr Bakr will have to pay Zakat on only R 6,000 since according to the Shariah debts are deductable from Zakat-taxable assets. But, in actual fact Mr Bakr must pay Zakat on R 10,000 because the debts were incurred only after his Zakat became due on the R 10,000, hence, the debt of R 4,000 cannot be employed to offset Zakat payment in that sum.At the end of the Islamic year Mr Ahman had Zakat­ taxable wealth for the amount of R 100 which is below Zakat. A week thereafter he obtains by way of inheritance R 20,000. At the end of the financial year which occurred eleven days after the Islamic year, Mr Ahmad’s Zakat-taxable assets amounted to R 20,100. According to the ‘4% increase theory, Mr Ahmad has to pay Zakat on R 20,100 plus 4%. However, according to the Shariah he does not have to pay even one cent Zakat. He is not at all liable for Zakat on the R 20,000 since he did not own it at the termination of the twelve Islamic months.

At the end of the Islamic year Mr Qasim had R 8,000 worth of Zakat-taxable wealth but as yet he did not effect stock-taking. At the end of the financial year (which occurred eleven days after the Islamic year) he takes stock and finalises his accounts. During the course of the eleven days following the Islamic year (i.e. prior to stock-taking) Mr Ahmad converts R 6,000 of his Zakat-taxable wealth into non-Zakat assets, e.g. he purchased a motor car. Now according to his final figures realised after stock-taking the sum of R 6,000 will no longer reflect as Zakat ­taxable assets which will be an amount decreased by R 6,000, plus the suggested 4% increase on the stock-figure. But, according to the Shariah he is liable to pay Zakat on the  R 6,000 as well despite it having been converted into a non-Zakat asset because the conversion was effected after the Zakat became due on the amount.

At the end of the first twelve Islamic months Mr Zaid in actual fact had R 25,000 stock, but his debts amounted to R 25,000. Mr Zaid never took stock after the twelve Islamic months nor did he do so at the end of the financial year. The true position according to the Shariah is that Mr Zaid is not liable for Zakat because his debt eliminates his Zakat-taxable At the end of the following financial year Mr Zaid takes stock and finds that his stock is R 20,000 and his debts R 5000. According to the ‘increase’ theory he is liable for Zakat on R 15,000 plus an increase of 100%, i.e. he has to pay Zakat on R 30,000 because now the stock has not been taken 11 days after the Islamic year, but one year after the Islamic year. However, in actual fact, according to the Shariah, he has to pay Zakat on only R 15,000 (if this was the position of his Zakat assets at the end of the second Islamic year).

The theory to be employed in the event of stock being taken according to the solar calendar posits a 4% addition to the Zakat-taxable assets as at the end of the financial year calculated in terms of twelve Christian months. This percentage according to the theory remains constant, i.e. at the end of each successive solar year 4% will be merely added to the figures and Zakat levied on the total sum. This presents an unreal situation, for the percentage remains constant whereas the Islamic year in relation to the Christian year recedes by approximately 11 days (or the approximate 4% posited in the theory). In terms of the theory, the logical conclusion should be a successive increase of approximately 4% (3.1% to be more exact) per solar year since at the end of the first Christian year, the Islamic year would have lapsed by 11 days; at the end of the second Christian year, the Islamic year would have lapsed by 22 days, hence in terms of the ‘increase’ theory, the stock-figure will be inflated by 8% (6.2% to be exact); at the end of the third Christian year, the Islamic year would have receded by 33 days, hence in terms of the theory, the Zakat-taxable figure will have to be inflated by 9.3%, and so on. The percentage increase with which the Zakat wealth has to be inflated will increase with each year. This will provide 100% increase in the Zakat-taxable wealth after about 34 years. But, in no way does this ‘increase’ whether of 4% or 100% solve the discrepencies created by calculating Zakat at the end of the solar year. The ‘increase’ theory has no bearing to reality. It remains a fictitious and a groundless supposition.

Utilizing the solar year for Zakat purposes will magnify the incidence of error with each successive year which produces a constant recession of the Islamic year in relation to the Christian year. In the first year there will be an eleven-day gap between the Islamic and the Christian year; in the second year a twenty-two day gap; in the third year a thirty-three day gap, and so on. The greater the gap, the greater the danger of increased discrepency since more transactions could be effected in the greater time period. Every transaction involving Zakat-taxable wealth effected in this time-gap will affect the Zakat position. Zakat-taxable wealth which had been converted into non-Zakat-taxable items during this time-gap will be exempt from Zakat if the calculation is done at the end of the Christian year. And, all increases in Zakat-taxable wealth during this time-gap will be subjected to Zakat if the calculation is based on the Christian calendar. But, in terms of the Shariah, whatever Zakat-taxable assets have been converted into non­ Zakat-taxable items during the time-gap will be subjected to Zakat and all increases in Zakat-taxable wealth during the time-gap will be exempted from Zakat. Such increases will only be taxed by Zakat at the end of the next Islamic year, if such wealth still remains in one’s possession.

If Zakat is calculated on the basis of the Christian calendar, then one whole year will be missed out after about 33 years, and this ‘escaping’ of a year’s Zakat cannot be rectified or compensated by means of the unrealistic ‘increase’ even if at the end of the 33rd year the increase is 100%. The ‘gap’ between the Islamic and the Chrisitan years after 33 years will be one year, and in one year all one’s wealth may be depleted or lost, this bringing about the total ‘escape’ from Zakat even if 100% increase in the figures is effecteu. At the end of the 33rd Christian year, one may have Zakat-taxable wealth less than the value of Nisab whereas a year before when the time was due for the Zakat calculation one could have possessed a considerable sum of Zakat-taxable wealth.

If, for example, stock is taken only after two years and the figure for the stock is R 5,000 at this stock-taking. But, the amount of stock at the end of the first year was R 2,000. According to the ‘4% addition’ theory, the amount of stock will have to be increased by 100% since the stock was taken after two years. It will follow that Zakat should be paid on R 10,000 whereas in actual fact Zakat will have to be paid on only R 7,000 (R 2,000 for the first year and R 5,000 for the second year).

Guide to Zakah – Understanding & Calculation

[By Dr. Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani & Bilal Ahmad Qazi]

Allah Ta’ala Commands His servants:

Establish regular prayer and give Zakah (Al-Qur’an 73:20)

What is Zakah? 

Lexically, the word Zakah covers two meanings. 

1. Purification 
2. Growth and increase 

In the terminology of the Qur’an and Sunnah, Zakah is the portion of asset that is made mandatory to be spent in the ways specified by Allah Ta’ala. 

Benefits of Zakah 

Zakah has two straightforward benefits.

Firstly, the payer himself gets purified from inner germs of the spiritual diseases.

Secondly, Zakah helps those who are not able to fulfill their needs independently. For e.g. orphans, widows, handicaps, poor people etc.  

Allah Ta’ala says in Surah Taubah:  

 Take sadaqah (obligatory alms) out of their wealth through which you may cleanse and purify them, and pray for them. Indeed, your prayer is a source of peace for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All- Knowing. [At-Taubah 9:103]
This verse has explicitly mentioned the first benefit i.e. purification of inner self. The second benefit is not mentioned in this verse. It points to the fact that the real purpose and objective of paying Zakah is the purification of one’s own self, though the second benefit exists in its inference. (Ma’ariful Qur’an)  

Retribution for not giving Zakah 

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:  َ

As for those who accumulate gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allah, give them the ‘good’ news of a painful punishment On the day it (the wealth) will be heated up in the fire of jahannam, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it: “this is what you had accumulated for yourselves. So, taste what you have been accumulating.”               [At-Tawbah 9:34-35]  

The Holy prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:  Every nation that does not give Zakah, Allah Ta’ala will afflict them with a drought.  

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The person whom Allah has bestowed with wealth, yet does not give its Zakah, on the Day of Judgment, his wealth will be turned into venomous bald serpent with two black spots over the eyes (or two poisonous glands in its mouth) which will wind around his neck and bite his jaws and say: ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’ “Then the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) recited the Holy Verse: “Let not those who covetously withhold….” (to the end of the Verse)._ [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 1315 and 4199]  

Payer of Zakah 

Zakah must be paid by the one who is:
1- Muslim
2- Major (Baligh
3- Sane
4- Sahib-un-nisaab (owner of wealth above the level of nisaab

Above-mentioned four conditions are described respectively in the following lines:

Zakah is not obligatory on a non-Muslim as Zakah is an  ibadah  (an act of pure worship) and a non-Muslim is not obliged to carry out the ibadah of Islam.
(Hashiah Ibn-e-Aabideen pg:  259 vol:2.)

⚫  A person must be major to qualify  as a Zakah payer. Minors are not under a  fard  obligation to perform acts of  ibadah  such as prayers (salaat) and fasting (saum) because they lack legal capacity. They are accordingly exempt from paying Zakah by reason of absence of  legal capacity.
(Badai’us-sanai,  Fatawa  Hashiah  Ibn-e-Aabideen  pg:  258 vol: 2)

⚫  The Zakah payer must  be sane.

In  this regard, two situations  must be distinguished:

      i. The child who at maturity is  insane. In this case, the insane person upon regaining his intellect is exempt from payment of Zakah for the duration of his insanity. Liability for Zakah attaches to him from the time he regains his sanity and accordingly his Zakah year is calculated from such date.

      ii. The person  although sane at the  time of maturity subsequently thereto becomes insane. In this case, if the insanity  lasts for a whole year,  the insane  person  is  exempt from Zakah for this period, and his  Zakah year is  therefore deemed to commence from the date of recovery of sanity. On the other hand, if the insanity remains for a part of the year, then he is liable for the Zakah of that year.
(Badai’us-sanai. Pg: 382, Vol:2)

⚫  Nisaab is described in the following lines.

Definition of Nisaab

Zakah on debts Nisaab  is the threshold or line, which separates those  who are duty bound to give Zakah  from those who are  not. In other words,  Nisaab  is the minimum amount of wealth whose owner is deemed  to be wealthy in the  conception  of Shari’ah and Zakah is obligatory  on him. (Ahkaam e zakaah  pg: 11)
For example, one who owns 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver or its equivalent amount of  cash  or trading assets etc. is called  Sahib-un-nisaab  and it  is obligatory on him to  pay Zakah (i.e. 2.5% of his total zakatable assets) to those who deserve Zakah. A detailed description of those that are eligible  to  receive  Zakah  is described  in the coming topic “Recipient of Zakah

Zakah on Debts

Debts can be classified into two types:

1. Receivables i.e. owed to oneself e.g. Loans given to somebody.

2. Payable to others e.g. Money borrowed from somebody.

Debts receivable from others

There are different types of debt receivables. The ruling of Zakah for each kind of debt receivable is different from the other. It is therefore pertinent to first understand all these types of debts receivable.

Types of Debts Receivable

Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) has  classified debts into three categories, namely:

1. Trade  Debts
2. Non-Trade  Debts
3. Other Debts

1.  Trade Debts are called  dain  qawiyy in the terminology of Islamic Jurisprudence. These debts  are those that arise in respect of:

(a) Trading stock sold and delivered in the ordinary course of business;
(b) Moneys lent and advanced;
(c) The loan of gold and silver.

For example, a trader sells goods (on credit) to another for  purchase price of Rs.5,000/-; or A lends B Rs. 10,000/-. The ruling for  this class of debts is that the creditor, upon receiving the  amount owing to him, is obliged to pay Zakah for the entire preceding period of credit.

2.  Non-Trade Debts are called  dain mutawassit. These debts  are those that arise in respect of the sale  of goods  other than the  trading stock. For example, the purchase price of the sale of personal clothing, or motor vehicle or land. 

The preferable view, which is one of the two views narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah, in the case of such  debts (as mentioned in Imdadul fatawa pg: 46 vol:2) is that Zakah  is not payable for the preceding years but is  only payable for the Zakah year calculated from the time of repayment of the debt.

3.  Other  debts  are called  dain Zaeef . These debts are those that do not arise from the sale of goods or property. For example, debts receivables in respect of inheritance, dowry, rentals, wages, and provident fund payments.

The ruling for this class of debts is that Zakah is not payable unless full amount is paid and one Zakah year passes thereon after payment. No Zakah is payable for preceding years. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:392, Vol:2)

Debts payable to others

Zakah payer, in order to be  sahib-un-nisaab,  must  be  free  of  debts.  If  he is indebted to his creditors, then the  amount of his  debts  must be deducted from the total value  of those assets  on which Zakah is levied. The balance remaining will be subject to Zakah. If there is no balance remaining, no Zakah is obligatory. 

Note: It  should  be  kept  in  mind,  that  the ruling mentioned above regarding the treatment of debts payable is related  to the person who is not a corporate businessman. However, if some one has a  corporate business, then the ruling is that, only those debts  are to  be deducted  from zakatable assets  that have been utilized in purchasing fixed assets such as machinery etc. On the other hand, if debts of a corporate businessman are utilized in purchasing zakatable assets such as inventory etc., then  they  will not be deducted  from the  total value of the assets on which Zakah is levied. ( Islam Aur Jadeed Ma’ishat Aur Tijarat by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Pg: 64)

Recipients of Zakah

The Holy Qur’an has fixed eight categories of recipients in verse 60 of the  Surah Taubah. The verse is as follows:

The Sadaqat (prescribed alms) are (meant) only to be given to the poor, the needy, to those employed to collect them, to those whose hearts are to be won, in  the cause of the slaves and those encumbered with debt, in the way of Allah and to a wayfarer. This is an obligation prescribed  by Allah. Allah is All Knowing, Wise.” (At-Taubah:60)

There is a consensus  amongst the jurists  that the disbursement of Zakah is solely confined to these eight recipients. The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was once asked by a Companion to give the latter Zakah. The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam replied: 

Allah has not assigned the right to distribute Zakah to any Prophet or any body else. He Himself has ordered about it and has fixed eight categories  (of recipients). If you qualify as being from amongst these, I will give you your right.” (Abu Dawood)

In the following lines, each of these eight categories have been described briefly.

The eight categories of Recipients of Zakah

1, 2) The poors, the needy  (Fuqara and Masakeen) The  Fuqara  and  Masakeen (There is  a  difference  between  faqeer  and  miskeen.  The  description  given in  (a) in  the  following  lines is  the definition of  Miskeen  while (b) and  (c) are  defined as  fuqara.  However, the  difference in the definition of faqeer and Miskeen has no relevance to Zakah, as both faqeer and miskeen are eligible to receive Zakah.)  The description  of  the eight  categories that is  written  in  the following  lines is the  summary of a  very detailed elaboration   of  these  categories described in  Ma’ariful  Qur’an  by  Mufti  Muhammad Shafi’  Usmani (rahimahullah) under verse 60  of  Surah Taubah)  are extremely poor persons. The eligibility of receiving Zakah under  this  category is restricted to either of  the  following three kinds:

a. Those who do not own any property or assets at all, or
b. Those who  do not own any property or assets in excess of basic necessity (For e.g. House, furniture and effects, personal clothing, servant, tools of trade), or c. Those who own property in excess of basic necessity, but the excess is below the value of nisaab.

These three kinds of  people can receive Zakah and they are also not obliged to pay it. However, it  must  be kept  in mind that the above  mentioned three kinds are different from the following two classes:

a.  Those who own, in excess of basic necessity, property or assets on which Zakah is levied (such as  gold, silver, cash, inventory) whose value after deduction of debts, equals or exceeds the value of nisaab. They are obliged to pay Zakah, and cannot receive it.

b. Those who own, in excess of basic necessity, property or assets on which Zakah is not levied (such as diamonds, land which is not purchased for trade, etc) which equals or exceeds the value of nisaab.  They are not obliged to pay  Zakah but at the same  time, cannot receive it.

3) Collectors of Zakah (Al-‘Aamileen)

Al-‘Aamileen  are those persons who are appointed by the Islamic Ruling Areas, or Muslim ruler, for the purpose of collecting Zakah. Zakah can be given to them as the salary for their efforts in collecting Zakah, even when they are Sahibun Nisaab or rich.

In regard to the rest of the seven categories of recipients, need is defined as a requirement and a rich person cannot be a recipient of Zakah. This is not the case with  Al-‘Aamileen  because the head of the Islamic governing areas is responsible for the needs and welfare of the poor within his jurisdiction. He is therefore deemed to be their agent. 

The  Al-‘Aamileen, as employees of the head of state, are likewise agents of the poor and needy. It follows that the Zakah obligation is discharged as soon as the Zakah is paid by the Zakah payers to the  Al-‘Aamileen. And the salary  given  to  them  is  as  if,  given  by  the poors themselves. It is exactly like the case when a person, who is  eligible  to receive Zakah, hires  an attorney and pays his fee from the Zakah he received. 

4) Those whose  hearts are to be won  (Al-Mu’allafatu-Al Quloob)

This category of recipients refers  to the poor and needy Muslims (Fuqara and  Masakeen)  who are given Zakah for the express purpose of strengthening their hearts and making them more inclined towards the Islamic practices. Non-Muslims are excluded in accordance with the general principle that they do not qualify as recipients of Zakah

5) The cause of (freeing) the slaves (Ar-Riqaab) 

The word  Riqaab  is the plural of  Raqabah,  which literally means “neck”. In Arabic usage, it is taken as a whole person, therefore refers to a slave.

The majority  of  the jurists are of  the view that  the word  Raqabah mentioned in the verse is confined to the  Mokatab. Mokatab  is  that slave who enters  into a contract with his master in terms of which, the latter undertakes  to free him against payment of a fixed sum of money. The view of the majority of the jurists is for the reason that in paying Zakah, the recipient must be made owner of the Zakah property. In addition, Zakah cannot be paid as consideration for services rendered on the part of the recipient.

In  the  case  of  disbursing  Zakah  to  free a slave, the master becomes the owner of the Zakah in  return for the slave’s freedom. The slave himself cannot own property for want of legal personality.  On the other hand, payment of Zakah to the Mokatab makes the latter owner thereof. 

6) Debtors (Gharimeen)

The word  Gharimeen  is the singular of  Gharim.  It means debtor. The verse refers to a specific type of debtor, i.e.  the one who is poor. A  debtor can only  be  said  to  be  poor  and  thus  eligible  to  be  the  recipient  of  Zakah  if  his net assets  (the difference between his  assets and liabilities) is below nisaab.

7) The way of Allah (fi Sabilillah)

All interpretations narrated by  the  Sahabah and  Tabi’een, regarding the word  fi sabilillah, have expressively defined this  word as either for Mujahideen  or for pilgrims of  Hajj.  Imam  Ibn Jarir  and  Imam Ibn e Kathir, who restricted themselves to interpret  the verses of the Holy Qur’an in the light of  Ahadeeth,  have particularized the word  sabilillah  with those Mujahideen  and pilgrims of  Hajj  who do not have  enough resources to perform their respective deeds.

On the other hand, some  Muslim Jurists such as  Allama Kasani
(The  author  of  Badai-us-sanai)  have generalized the  interpretation and extended  the  meaning of  sabilillah  to all good acts  enjoined by the shariah. However, these Jurists have specifically described that the recipients must be  poor and needy persons. Therefore, the jurists  are unanimous on the point that Zakah cannot be spent on projects that would promote the interests of and be beneficial to the Muslim Community e.g. building of hospitals, roads, bridges and the like.

8) Wayfarer (Ibn-us-sabil)

This category refers to a traveler who,  despite being wealthy at his place of residence,  is  in  need  during  his  journey.  It  is  permissible  to  give  such traveler Zakah to the extent of his needs. It is not permissible for such traveler to take Zakah in an amount which exceeds his needs and requirements. It is preferable for such traveler to borrow funds if he is able to do so than to accept Zakah (Fathul Qadir pg: 269 Vol: 2)

Some Important rules relating to the recipients of Zakah 

⚫  If someone owns cash, trading assets, gold  and silver equivalent to the value of 612.36 grams of silver,  he/she is considered as wealthy in Shari’ah, hence not eligible  to receive Zakah. (Fatawa  Hindiyah Pg: 189,  vol:1 & Bahishti  Zewar pg:225)

⚫  If someone owns, in excess of basic necessity, an asset or property on which Zakah is not levied (such as diamond, vacant land – not for commerce) and the excess is equivalent or  above the value of 612.36 grams of silver, he is  also considered as  wealthy in Shari’ah. He cannot receive Zakah but at the same time,  is not obliged to  pay Zakah. (Bahishti  Zewar pg:  225)

⚫  If one has cloths or crockery that are not used for years but for once or twice, then these  cloths  or  crockery will be considered as an excess of basic necessity. Hence if its value is equivalent or above the value  of  nisaab, the owner cannot receive Zakah.( hashiah Ibn-e-Aabideen (Bab  Masraf-iz-Zakah  wal  ushr). Pg: 348, Vol: 2)

⚫  The house in which one lives,  the household furniture, servants, personal clothing and a motor vehicle, all are basic necessities. The owner of all these assets will not  be considered as wealthy, no matter how expensive the assets are. Rather he is entitled to receive Zakah, if he does not have any zakatable asset equivalent to the value of  nisaab.  ( hashiah Ibn-e-Aabideen (Bab  Masraf-iz-Zakah  wal  ushr) Pg: 348, Vol: 2)

⚫  If a person has given some of his houses on rent and he  does not have any assets on which Zakah is levied, he can receive Zakah. (Hashiah Ibn-e-Aabideen  (Bab  Masraf-iz-Zakah  wal  ushr).    Pg: 348, Vol: 2)

⚫  If a person has 20,000/- Rs. and he is indebted of 20,000/- Rs., he can receive Zakah. If, in the above case, he is indebted of less  than 20,000/- Rs., then if the balance is  equivalent or  above to the value of  nisaab, he cannot be given Zakah. And if the balance is less than the  nisaab, he can be given Zakah. (Hindiyah  pg:  188,  vol: 1)

⚫  Zakah cannot be  given to a minor  child of  a rich person  because such minor is deemed to be rich by virtue of the wealth of his father. If the child is  major and needy, Zakah  may be given to him irrespective of the financial standing of his parents (Hindiyah  pg:  189, vol:1).

⚫  Zakah can be given to a minor child  whose father is not rich, but his mother is rich and wealthy because,  a minor child is not considered rich by virtue of the wealth of his mother.  (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar (Bab Masraf-iz-Zakah wal ushr))

Zakah can be given to a poor woman whose husband is rich.
(Badai-us-sanai pg: 476, vol: 2) Similarly, it is permissible to give Zakah to a poor person whose child is rich.

⚫  There is consensus of the Muslim jurists that it is not permissible to give Zakah to non-Muslims (Badai-us-sanai pg: 480, vol: 2). Other forms of voluntary charity (sadaqah naafilah) may be given to them (Badai-us-sanai pg: 482, vol: 2).

Zakah cannot be given to the children of Banu Hashim. These are descendants of the Prophet’s family (i.e. the descendants of Hazrat Ali , Hazrat Ja’far, Hazrat Aqeel (radhiyallahu anhuma) and Hazrat Harith ibn Abd Ul Muttalib and are commonly known as Sayyids (Badai-us-sanai pg: 483, vol: 2) .

Zakatable Assets 

Allah Ta’ala has put the most minimum burden of monetary obligations on Muslims so that paying Zakah becomes convenient for every sahib-un-nisaab Muslim. 

Firstly, it is not obligatory to pay Zakah on every asset. Rather only those assets are the subject matter of Zakah that have the potential of growth or increase. These assets may be broadly classified as follows:

1- Trading assets.
2- Cash & Cash Equivalent (like prize bonds, Travelers Checks etc) 3- Gold and silver
4- Livestock (goats, sheep, cows and camels)  
5- Agricultural output. 

The principle governing the levy of Zakah is that only those assets are zakatable, which fall within the definition of money, like silver and gold. All other assets are not zakatable unless they are meant for trade and resale.  

Secondly, only the balanced value of these assets at the end of the year is the subject matter of Zakah. No Zakah is obligatory on the amount spent over the whole year.  

General conditions for all zakatable assets 

1- Ownership:- The subject matter of Zakah must be in the complete ownership of the
payer. If someone possesses an asset but does not own it, Zakah is not liable on it. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  389, vol:2)

2- Potential of growth:- The asset must have  the potential of growth as the  word Zakah itself means “Growth” or “Increase”. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  394, vol:2)

3- Asset must be in excess of basic necessity:- The subject matter of Zakah should be other than  the basic necessities of a person. So the assets included in the basic necessities e.g. crockery, furniture, car etc  are not the subject matter of Zakah provided that these assets are not purchased with the intention of sale.

4- One year  must elapse over the asset:- It is necessary that one year elapses over  the asset which is subject to Zakah

It means that possession of  nisaab  value should be both at the beginning and end of a lunar year. It  is not necessary that a complete year passes on every  single rupee. Rather, when a person is  sahib-un-nisaab  in the beginning and the end of  the year, then he will be considered  as  sahib-un-nisaab  and the fluctuating amount during the year will not be considered as the subject matter of Zakah

A detailed clarification of the highlighted portion is as follows:

If some one acquires a property before the completion of his Zakah year and he is the owner of the wealth above the value of  nisaab, then  one of the following situations may arise:

a) The addition during the year is not the same kind or category as the  existing property. For example, a person has gold or silver and thereafter during the  course of the year acquires sheep. 
b) The addition is of the same kind or category as that of the existing  property. This addition  may be derived from the existing property, for  example,  profit arising during the year from sale of trading stock; or  acquired from another source, for example, a person has cash and thereafter during the year acquires further cash by way of inheritance.

In case ‘a’, the year for the gold or silver and sheep will be calculated separately.  

However, in case ‘b’, the subsequent acquisition will be added or joined to the existing property for Zakah purposes and the Zakah for both will be paid together at the end of the Zakah year for the existing property. In other words, Zakah years will not be calculated separately for each subsequent acquisition in case ‘b’. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg: 399, vol: 2)

It should be kept in mind that if the subsequent acquisition is made after the expiry of the Zakah year, then a new year will be calculated. Similarly, if the existing property is below nisaab, the subsequent acquisition cannot be added to the existing property. (Hindiyah. Pg: 175, vol: 1)  

5- Asset must be equivalent to Nisaab:- Zakah is not levied on total assets if they are below the level of Nisaab. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg: 403, Vol: 2)   

Amount of Zakah 

The amount of Zakah payable is two and a half percent (2.5%), or 40th portion of: 

1. the value of gold and silver if it is equivalent to nisaab or above it.

2. trading stocks, or its value at the time of obligation of payment of Zakah, if the stock is equal to nisaab

3. cash on hand if equal to nisaab
Zakah on gold and silver 

⚫ Gold and silver are subject to Zakah regardless of whether they are owned for personal use or otherwise if the weight thereof equals the prescribed nisaab and one year elapses thereon. Gold and silver are also always liable to Zakah irrespective of the asset type (gold bar, jewellery, ingot, coin etc.) (Hindiyah Pg: 178, Vol:1)

⚫  Zakah is not payable on any other kind of jewels, gems or precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies etc. If these metals are, however, acquired for business, then Zakah will be payable thereon as they would then constitute trading stock. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar Pg: 273, 2)

⚫ If gold or silver is not pure, and some other commodity (such as copper etc) is added to it, then if the major portion of the element is  of gold or silver, it is considered as gold or silver respectively  and Zakah will be obligatory  on it. And if gold and silver is in minor proportion, then  it is not considered as gold or silver and no Zakah will be obligatory provided that it is not purchased with the  intention of sale. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  408, Vol: 2)

⚫  If a person has some gold and silver and the independent amount of both of them does not reach  nisaab, then  if the combined value of gold  and silver reaches  nisaab  of silver, the accumulated worth will be the  subject matter of Zakah. And if  the combined value  of gold and silver does  not reach  nisaab  of silver, Zakah is not obligatory. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  411, Vol: 2) 

⚫  If gold and silver reaches  nisaab  independently, then valuation of the combined value is not needed. Rather, in this case, Zakah of gold and silver will be paid independently from the other. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  414, Vol: 2) 

⚫ Someone has a complete  nisaab  of silver. He got some more silver or gold before the year completed. Zakah of that additional silver or gold will  be obligatory alongwith the completion of the year  of the already owned silver and gold (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  399,  vol: 2)  i.e.  no  additional  or  a complete year is required for  Zakah being obligatory on that Zakah on cash additional gold and silver.

For example, the Zakah year of a person ends on 1st  Ramadhan.  On 25th  Shaban he has some gold and silver of the value of one hundred thousand rupees (Rs.  100,000/-). On 29th  Shaban, he purchased additional gold valued  two hundred thousand rupees (Rs. 200,000/-). Now on 1st  Ramadhan, the value of zakatable gold and silver of that  person would be three hundred thousand rupees (300,000/-). 

⚫  A person has cash equivalent to the  nisaab  of silver. Some amount of  more  cash  is  achieved  before  the completion of the year. Then the added amount  of  cash will  be  deemed as subject matter of Zakah after completion of the year of the previous amount. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  399,  vol:  2)

⚫  Cash is fully subjected to Zakah. It includes bonds, travelers’ cheque, and other cash equivalents. ( Ahkam-e-Zakah by Mufti Muhammd Rafi Uthmani pg:24)

⚫ If a person has cash equivalent  to 87.48 gm of gold or 612.36 gm of silver, Zakah is obligatory on him,  for  cash comes under the same ruling as gold and silver in terms of paying Zakah. ( The rules  of  Zakah (Written  by  Muhammad  Shoaib Omar)  Pg:  41)  

⚫ If a person has some amount of  cash, some gold, and some silver and neither of the three individually reaches  nisaab, then the value of gold and silver will be added to the amount of cash, and if the combined amount reaches  nisaab, Zakah is obligatory. If the combined amount does not reach  nisaab, no  Zakah is to be  paid.
(Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  411,  Vol:  2)

⚫  A person has cash equivalent to  nisaab. He  got some more cash a few days before completion of year. This more amount of cash will be subject to Zakah after completion of the year of previous amount of cash. ( Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  399,  vol:  2)
For example, the Zakah year of a person ends on 1st  of Ramadhan. He has Rs. 30,000/- on 28th  of Shaban. On 29th  Shaban, he receives Rs. 5000/- more. Now  the zakatable cash of that person on 1st  of Ramadan would become Rs. 35,000/-. 

Zakah on trading assets

Zakah is payable on trading stock if their market value is equal to or more than the value of nisaab.
(Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  415, vol:2)

Definition of trading assets

Trading assets are those, which are purchased with the intention of resale or capital gain. Consequently,  goods that have been  purchased for personal use and not for the purpose  of  trade are  not subject to Zakah, irrespective of their  value. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  395,  vol:2)
Similarly, goods (other  than gold  and silver) originally bought for  personal use are not subject to Zakah if the purchaser subsequently intends  to sell them  for trade and had not intended  it at the  time of purchase. Once sold, however, their sale price would be subject to Zakah (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  396, vol:2). 

Likewise, a person may purchase  goods for personal use with the intention that if he is  able to obtain  a profit thereon, he  would sell the goods in which event, no Zakah is payable on  such goods. On the other hand, if an asset is not purchased and is owned by some other  means e.g.  inheritance or gift, then the asset will not become the subject matter of Zakah. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar)   

In short, trading assets are those that are:

(i) purchased  and
(ii) purchased with the intention of sale.

If any of these two conditions is missing, the asset will not be treated as a trading one and thus will not be subjected to Zakah.

Following are some situations relating to Zakah on trading assets:

⚫  Nisaab  of trading assets is same as that of cash i.e. if  the value of the assets reaches the value of 87.48 gm of gold or 612.36 gm of silver, then Zakah is obligatory  after the completion of year. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  415,  vol:  2)

⚫  If a person has a house that is leased, the value of the house will not be subject matter of Zakah, as leasing a property does not render it a trading asset. However, the rentals received will be the subject matter of Zakah. (Fatawa Qazi Khan (on  the border of  Hindiyah) Pg:  351,  Vol: 1.)

⚫  Since the machines in  the industries are not trading assets, therefore no Zakah is  obligatory  on them. However, if they are purchased with the  intention  of resale, then Zakah will be obligatory.   (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar. Pg: 265, Vol:2)

⚫ The products manufactured in an industry, as well as the raw material, are subject matter of Zakah. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar. Pg: 265, Vol:2)

⚫  If a person has some trading assets that  do not reach  nisaab, and then if  he has some other zakatable assets such as gold, silver and cash, and the combined value of  all zakatable assets reaches the value of 612.36 gm  of silver, then Zakah is obligatory. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar. Pg. 303,  Vol:  2) 

Zakah on Shares

⚫ It is permissible for the Zakah payer to estimate a bulk  price of the trading assets i.e. the market  value of the stock–in-trade if sold in bulk at the end of the Zakah year, for purposes of calculating Zakah. (The rules of Zakat (by Mohammad Shoaib Omar) Pg: 38).

If shares are purchased with the express intention for resale or capital gain, then the entire value of the shares is subject to Zakah

If, however, the shares are purchased with a view to holding them as an investment and receiving the dividend  income, then  the following must be borne in mind. 

Ownership of a company’s shares confers undivided  ownership in the underlying assets of the company. The holder is a proportionate owner of the business. All business assets can be classified into two types for the purpose of Zakah

1.  Fixed Assets e.g. Machinery, buildings, Furniture etc.
2. Current Assets e.g. cash, stock in trade, receivables etc.

Fixed assets are exempt from zakah whereas, current assets are subject to it. The owner of the shares can  deduct  from the  Zakatable value a proportion equivalent  to that  of  the  liabilities and the fixed assets of the company. In  other words, it is permissible for the owner of the shares in this case that he does not take  into account the liabilities and non-zakatable assets such as plant and machinery etc. The way to ascertain the proportion of zakatable assets to  non-zakatable assets of a  company is to consult the  balance sheet and profit and loss  account. These documents are available as part of the company’s annual report.

Zakah Payable (Z.P) =  [Total Assets (T.A)  MINUS  Fixed Assets (F.A)  MINUS  Total                 Liabilities  (L)]  DIVIDED BY  Total  No. of Shares outstanding (S.O)  MULTIPLIED  BY 2.5%. 

The above mentioned formulae is  for the one who has the ability and resources to ascertain the exact amount of zakatable assets represented by the shares. However, if the calculation gets  complicated for somebody, then he should consider the entire value of the shares as his zakatable asset and thus pay Zakah for it.
(Islam Aur Jadeed Ma’ishat Aur Tijarat by Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sb. Pg: 63)

SUMMARY: For a common person (one who is not involved in livestock or  agriculture) all that needs to be taken into account for Zakah calculation is the following:

The amount of cash owned (be it  on person, in the bank, or loaned out. This can be money earned or income from additional  house, properties etc.) as well as the value of any gold or silver jewelry owned, (necklaces, watches, etc. but not the gems or stones within them),  and also, if one is involved in trade, then the value of one’s stock/merchandise at that  time constitutes one’s accountable total.

Debts owed to others should be calculated too and then deducted from the total zakatable assets. 

Intention (Niyyah) of Zakah 

The intention to give Zakah is a prerequisite for the discharge of the Zakah obligation (as in the case of Salaat and Saum). In the absence of such intention (whether due to ignorance or forgetfulness), the Zakah obligation is not discharged (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar Pg: 268. Vol: 2) and the amount paid over to the recipient will deemed to be Nafl sadaqah.

The requirement of an intention to fulfill Zakah is necessary in order to distinguish payment of Zakah from other forms of compulsory and voluntary payments to poor and needy persons. 

Following are some situations relating to the intention of Zakah

⚫ The Zakah obligation is discharged if the intention is made at either of two points of time:

      (a) at the time of giving Zakah; or 
      (b) at the time of separating and setting aside the Zakah amount for distribution. In this case, the Zakah would only be discharged if the physical transfer to the needy recipient is made. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar Pg: 269, Vol: 2)

⚫ If a person gives an amount of money or property to a poor and needy person who does not own nisaab, and fails to make any intention at the time of such payment, but thereafter makes an intention of Zakah, then:

(i) if such property or money is still in the hands of the poor and needy person, the Zakah obligation will be discharged;
(ii) if the property or money is no more in the hands of the poor and needy person, the intention so made does not suffice and the Zakah obligation is not discharged. ( Ad-durrul-Mukhtar Pg: 268. Vol: 2)

⚫ If the Zakah payer or owner pays the Zakah amount to an agent for distribution to the recipients entitled and makes the intention at the time of such payment to the agent, then the Zakah obligation will be discharged if the agent gives Zakah to the poor without any intention on his part. This is because the intention of only the Zakah payer, and not that of his agent, is relevant for purpose of payment of Zakah. (Hindiyah Pg: 171, Vol: 1)

⚫ A person pays the Zakah of another from the latter’s property and without his permission, and thereafter such owner sanctions the payment. In such a case, if the amount paid is still in the hands of the needy recipient, the Zakah obligation is discharged. If not, the Zakah obligation will not be fulfilled and the payment will be in lieu of  nafl sadaqah. (Badai-us-sanai. Pg:  460,  Vol:  2)

⚫  A person gives an agent an amount of  money for distribution as voluntary charity (nafl sadaqah). Prior to payment thereof by the agent to a poor and needy person (faqir), the owner makes an intention that the amount so given should represent Zakah in which event if such amount is thereafter  given  to the poor then  the  Zakah obligation would be discharged.
( Badai-us-sanai. Pg: 460,  Vol: 2)

The principles of At-Tamleek

At-Tamleek  means the transfer of ownership of Zakah from the Zakah payer to a poor and needy person. It is,  in the context of Zakah,  subject to the following conditions:

i)  The transferor must be the Zakah payer (or his agent).

ii) The transferee (or recipient) must be a natural person entitled to receive Zakah in terms of the eight categories of the recipient of Zakah.

iii) The transfer of Zakah must be unconditional.

iv) The transfer of Zakah must not be a consideration for services rendered by the recipient.

v) The transferee (or recipient) must acquire physical possession of Zakah and thereby becomes the owner thereof.

If these conditions are not met, as for the instance  where Zakah is paid  as salary or used for building a mosque, the Zakah obligation is not discharged. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar  Pg:  256-258, Vol: 2)

There is consensus amongst all  the four  schools of thought that  Zakah cannot be used for public welfare projects. The position  is summarized by Imam Abu Ubayd Qasim Ibn Sallam (Imam  Abu  Ubayd  Qasim  Ibn  Sallam  (154H-224  H)  was regarded  as one  of the most learned  scholars  of his times. He was the author  of  many  works  including  his  well  known  book  on  ZakahKitab-ul-Amwaal”) , is as follows:

In relation  to paying the debts of  a deceased person, or paying his burial expenses, or building  a mosque, or digging a  stream, similar public welfare schemes- Hadrat Sufyaan Thuri, and all the Ulama of Iraq and other Ulama are unanimous on  the point that these works cannot be undertaken with  Zakah money because they are not included in the eight categories of recipients mentioned by the Qur’an. (Kitab-ul-Amwaal, p. 610).

Agency and Zakah

One is not obliged to distribute  the Zakah by himself to the entitled recipients. He may validly appoint an agent (whether  natural person or organization) to pay the Zakah on his behalf.  

In appointing such an agent, the Zakah  payer must bear in mind that the Zakah obligation is not discharged if the agent fails to distribute the  Zakah to the entitled recipients. At  the  same  time,  possession of the Zakah amount by  the agent will be deemed to be possessed by the principal (Zakah payer) as in the case of those organizations, who are guilty of serious maladministration by collecting Zakah and not distributing the same for a number of  years without valid reason.

It follows that the Zakah payer must exercise utmost care in appointing an agent who must be both  trustworthy and also conversant with the laws  of Zakah.(Ahkam-e-Zakah by  Mufti Muhammad Rafi  Uthmani pg.38)

The agent, unless instructed to the contrary, may validly give Zakah to his wife and children if the latter do not own  nisaab. On the other hand, the agent himself cannot take Zakah unless he has  the express authority to do so. For example, he may take Zakah if the Zakah payer gives him a mandate in  the following terms: “Pay Zakah to whomsoever you wish”. (Ad-durrul-Mukhtar Pg:  269,  Vol:  2)

Zakah on the employees’ provident fund

If the salary  of the employee is  deducted  at source, without giving this amount to the employee, Zakah is not payable  on the amount kept in the Employees’ Provident Fund, until the employee receives the same. When an employee receives it on his retirement, the amount  so received shall form part of his zakatable assets of that year only, and such part of it, that is not spent before the valuation date, shall be subject to Zakah, and Zakah will be payable on  the aggregate balance of  his assets (including the balance of the amount received from the Fund) on the valuation date.

If, on the other hand, the employee first  receives this amount and then with his own intention, puts this money in the provident fund, then this money will become the subject matter of Zakah. And Zakah will be obligatory for all the years in which the money is kept in the fund. (Contemporary Fatawa by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani Pg: 86(  

In other words, the amount received from  the Provident Fund must be held for one year before Zakah is payable thereon. If the recipient has existing zakatable assets equal to  nisaab, then the amount received from the Provident Fund will be added thereon and the whole amount, or the balance remaining (in case of expenditure) will be  subject to Zakah of the next  valuation date. For example, the Zakah payer’s valuation date is 1st  day of Ramadhan each year, and he receives the lump  sum from the Provident Fund two months before that  date. The lump sum will be added to  his existing  nisaab, and he will pay Zakah thereon on his valuation date next, namely, 1st day of Ramadhan. (Footnote on the Contemporary Fatawas Pg: 86)

Zakah to the charitable hospitals

If Zakah is paid to a charitable hospital, certain arrangements must be followed otherwise Zakah will be void. 

Every Zakah deserving patient should appoint the management of the hospital as his agent to receive Zakah and spend  it  on procurement of the medication and paying cash against other expenses incurred against his treatment. This can be done through filling a form before the treatment of the patient. 

If a charitable hospital follows  this  arrangement, Zakah can be given to it. Otherwise, in the case where no agency agreement is made, Zakah will  be void.

An example of calculation of Zakah

A person ‘X’ is a manufacturer of  clothing. He has the  following assets and liabilities at the end of the Zakah year.

Assets & Monetary Value       

1.  House = 2,000,000
2. Furniture & Household Effects = 25,000      
3.  Motor  Vehicle = 600,000
4.  Gold = 100,000  
5.  Diamonds = 50,000
6.  Cash = 1,500,000
7.  Stock-in-trades = 1,000,000
8.  Machinery = 500,000
9.  Receivable  from  others = 800,000
10.  Vacant  Land = 800,000


11.  Bank  overdraft = 50,000
12.  Trade  creditors = 500,000
13.  Loans = 700,000

Total  Liabilities = 1,250,000

Calculation of Zakah Assets subject to Zakah

1.  Gold = 100,000
2.  Cash = 1,500,000
3.  Stock-in-trades = 1,000,000
Total = 2,600,000
Less  Liabilities = 1,250,000
Balance = 1,350,000
Two and a half % of 1,350,000 is 33,750

Hence X is obliged to pay 33,750 as Zakah.
1, 2 and 3: the house, furniture and fittings and motor vehicle are not subject to Zakah unless they are purchased for trade. 

4: Gold is subject to Zakah whether for personal use or otherwise.                   

5: Diamonds, precious stones and metals  are not subject to Zakah unless acquired for trading purposes. The same  applies to all metals other than gold and silver.

6 and 7: Cash and stock in trades are subject to Zakah by consensus of  jurists, because they are assets capable of growth through commerce and economic activity.

8: Machinery is a means of production which depreciates in value over time and is not an asset capable of growth. Hence, they are not subject to Zakah.

9: Account Receivables from others are  subject to Zakah but the obligation to pay Zakah thereon only arises upon receiving of the debts in question in which event, the Zakah of preceding years must also be paid on such debts.

10: Zakah is not obligatory on land unless acquired for trade. Even if they are purchased for rent, Zakah is not obligatory. 

11, 12 and 13: These debts must  be deducted because the assets  of the debtors are correspondingly exposed to the claims  of creditors, according to Hanafi Law. However, if the mortgage  bond  or bank overdraft or other long term liability is of such a large amount so as to nullify the Zakah liability then such debts must not be taken into account according to Shafi law.


Below is a mathematical analysis of how Zakah can be Calculated:

Assets = Totals (for example) – Your own case

Cash in hand  =10,000   

Total amount deposited in Banks = 20,000   

Account Receivables =             10,000   

Rental income accrued = 5,000   

Net Asset value of Bonds =  25,000   

Total value of Saving certificates = 30,000   

Market value of Gold & Silver (total) = 40,000   

Present value of the property (that is purchased for the purpose of resale) = 100,000   

Inventory (Trading Goods) =50,000   

Raw material and work in progress = 20,000   

Finished Goods = 30,000   

Shares (that are purchased for trade)1             40,000   

Total Assets = 380,000              

Liabilities                     Totals   

Total Amount/Accounts/Notes payable = 100,000   

Unpaid Rentals = 10,000   

Unpaid Salaries = 20,000   

Any other Dues (For e.g. Unpaid tax, utility bills etc.) =10,000

Total Liabilities = 140,000  
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Assets * 2.5% = Zakah Payable = 6,000