Published On:23 August 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Zakat – A means for eradicating poverty

By Ziaulla Namani

Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. The Qur'an mentions Zakat many times along with prayer sSalat to emphasize the importance of it. Literally Zakat means Blessing, purification, increase and goodness. It is so called as it blesses the wealth from which it is taken and protects it from misfortunes.

Zakah is indispensable for the Muslim community as it achieves reform, both financially and spiritually. It eliminates misery and greed from hearts and consolidates the Islamic economy, leading to its stability and prosperity. Besides, the Qur'an pictures Zakah as:

The means of attaining Allah's mercy, "But My Mercy extended to all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right, and practice regular charity". (Surah Al-A`raf 7:165)

Also the Sunnah equally stresses the importance of Zakah.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying, "I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, perform Prayer, and pay Zakah." (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Ther are two conditions for Zakat to be obligatory on the wealth.

1. Being in possession of Nisab i.e. possessing property in excess of a minimum exemption limit.

2. On completion of one Lunar year on the wealth. According to the Hanafi fiqh, if a person possesses wealth equal to or in surplus of Nisab in the beginning and at the end of the lunar year, (even though in between the year, the wealth was less than the Nisab), Zakat is obligatory, but if at the end of the lunar year, if the wealth is less than the Nisab (though one had wealth equal to or in surplus during the year), zakat is not obligatory. According to the Shafie fiqh, the passage of one lunar year is a must on the wealth (Nisab). The zakat is calculated on the day on which a year is completed on that wealth (Nisab).


Zakat is paid on the surplus of wealth which is left over after the passage of a year (Lunar Year).

It is thus a payment on the accumulated wealth, leaving our animal and agricultural yield. Zakat is paid at almost a uniform rate of 2 1/2%. The minimum standard of surplus of wealth over which Zakat is charged is known as Nisab. It differs with different kinds of property. In case of silver, it is 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams), in case of gold, it is 7 1/2 Tolas (88 grams). The Nisab for cash is the same as that of gold and silver.

On whom Zakat is obligatory

Zakat is obligatory on every adult free, Muslim man and woman provided the above two conditions are fulfilled. According to Imam Malik, Shafie and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Zakat is obligatory on the wealth of the minor and insane person, and it has to be paid by the guardian.

According to Imam Abu Hanifa, it is not obligatory. Since Zakat is an act of worship, the intention is a must and hence it is not obligatory on the wealth of a minor and the insane person.

Zakat on woman’s Mehr

According to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, the wife need not pay Zakat on the Mehr amount still due by her husband. However, Zakat will have to be paid on the amount she has claimed provided, it is equivalent to or more than the Nisab and on which one year has been completed. According to Imam Shafie, the wife has to pay the Zakat every year (though she herself is not claiming the Mehr, even though it can be claimed). According to Hanbali, the wife has to pay the Zakat for the entire number of years at the time when she gets it.

Zakat on the Business Goods or Stock-in-Trade

All types of goods for sale, whatever may be its form, whether hand- made or machine products or fruits or books or jewellery or clothes or cattle or property brought with the intention of buying and selling etc., are liable for zakat, provided it is in one’s possession for one complete lunar year and the rate of zakat applicable is 2 1/2% on its total value. The prescribed limit on goods is after conversion, in terms of its value, the total amount thus evaluated must be equivalent to the price of 634 grams of silver. If less, then zakat is not obligatory.

Zakat on Company or Partnership, Silver, Gold, Currency and Shares

If any wealth or property is held jointly by two or more persons, then according to Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, Zakat is not obligatory on any person until each individual’s share is equal to the value of the Nisab.

Zakat on Silver, Gold, Currency and Shares

The minimum prescribed limit on which Zakat becomes obligatory on silver is 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams), and of gold 7 1/2 Tolas (88 grams) and is known as Nisab. Zakat on silver or gold items is one fortieth of its weight, i.e. 2 1/2%. Zakat on silver or gold is not calculated on its value, but on its weight. However if one possesses some gold and some silver and neither of them is in the prescribed limit, then if their total cost is equal to the price of 634 grams. of silver, Zakat becomes due on it.

Zakat on Jewellery of a Woman

Zakat is due on all the gold and silver ornaments, jewellery, and gold or silver lace woven into cloth, gold thread embroidered dresses for ladies, etc. Hazrath Umm Salmah says that she used to put on (gold) bracelets. When she asked the Prophet (Pbuh) whether it was Kanz (hoarded wealth), he replied. “When a piece of property reaches upto the prescribed limit and Zakat is duly paid on it, it is not Kanz”.(Abu Dawood)

Imam Abu Hanifa, his disciples and some scholars hold the above opinion. According to Imam Malik, Shafie, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal and other scholars, there is no Zakat on the woman’s ornaments. According to some other scholar,s the Zakat on ornaments is due only once in a lifetime. The difference of opinion among scholars is only on the ornaments in use by the woman, but there is a consensus among all the scholars that Zakat is liable on the excess of the ornaments held in possession as wealth.

Zakat of the Bank Deposit and on Provident Fund

Both these fall under the status of debt. According to the Hanafi school of thought: Both of them are liable for Zakat for all the years and it has to be paid when out of it, an amount equivalent to the value of 10 1/2 Tolas of silver or more is claimed. According to the Hanbali school of thought, also the Zakat is liable on both for all the years. It has to be paid when an amount equivalent to the Nisab or more is claimed.

According to the Maliki school of thought, the Zakat on bank deposit is liable for all the years.

And it has to paid when the amount is received. On the provident fund, since the person does not have any power to claim it, so Zakat is liable at the time when it is received and it has to be paid for one year only. According to the Shafie school of thought, the Zakat on the bank deposit has to be paid every year. The Zakat on provident fund has to be made for all the years and it has to be paid when he is entitled to receive it, though he may claim it or not in time.

To whom Zakat cannot be given

1. Zakat cannot be given to a person who owns atleast 7 1/2 tolas of gold or 52 1/2 tolas of silver or equivalent wealth in cash, kind or in trade goods. If Zakat money is given to such a person, then the obligation will not be discharged. For such a person to receive and accept Zakat is forbidden and to use it is haram. If a person owns household goods over and above that which are necessary for his normal use, such as carpets, utensils or other goods which are owned and kept in possession, but are hardly in frequent use, then such goods do not come under essentials, but in accumulated wealth and Zakat cannot be given to the person possessing them.

2. To some relatives: Zakat cannot be given to one’s mother, father, paternal and maternal grandparents, great grand-parents, etc. Likewise, Zakat cannot be given to one’s offspring-sons, daughters, grand-children, great grand-children, etc. Zakat cannot be given by husband to wife, nor by wife to husband. Except for these, Zakat can be given to other relatives such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.

3. To children: The position of a minor child is linked with his or her father. If the father is wealthy, then the child will also be considered as rich and Zakat cannot be given to him. If the father is poor enough to receive Zakat. but the mother is rich, then Zakat could be given to the child because the child’s financial position is linked with that of the father, not the mother.

4. To Syeds: Syeds are the descendants of Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima. Zakat as well as Sadaqah and Fitra cannot be given to them.

5. Zakat cannot be given to a person in payment of services rendered by him or in payment of wages to a teacher, caretaker, etc. It can, however, be given to such a person as a gift, if desired.

6. Zakat cannot be given to domestic or other servants as wages. Zakat money can be given to them as a gift over and above the wages paid to them.

[Ziaulla Namani is a freelance writer and writes on issue of interest to Muslim world. He can be reached at zianamani@gmail.com or on his Mobile # 9967841582]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on August 23, 2011. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on August 23, 2011. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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