Zakaah literally means to purify and develop. In the terminology of Shari'ah it is the giving of specified wealth with specified conditions to the rightful ones.
The Ruling on Zakaah
Zakaah is one of the five main pillars of Islam. It is compulsory upon EVERYONE who fulfills its conditions, for Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) states;
1. " Then establish prayer and pay Zakaah and obey Allah and His Most Beloved Messenger (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) and Allah ta'ala is aware of what you do. " Al-Qur'an : 58:13
2. " O believers! give something of your pure earnings and of what WE produce from the earth for you. " Al-Qur'an : 2:267
The Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) has stated :
Islam is based on five things
1. To testify that none is worthy of worship but Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) and Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) is the Messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala).
2. To establish Salaah.
3. To pay Zakaah.
4. To perform Hajj (pilgrimage).
5. To fast in the month of Ramadan.
Zakaah became compulsory in the second year of the migration. It is Wajib (compulsory) to pay it immediately. To delay its payment without reason is sinful and the testimony of such a person will not be accepted. Zakaah is not Wajib upon the Prophets (alaihis salaam) because all that they own is Wakf (religious endownment) on their behalf.
It is permissable to pay Zakaah before a year has passed on the wealth, even several years before, as long as he possesses the Nisaab (minimum amount of property liable to payment of the Zakaah) for which he is going to pay the Zakaah in advance.
The wisdom of Zakaah
1. Zakaah purifies one's character from the evil traits of stinginess and greed.
2. Through Zakaah the poor receive help and the needs of dependents and destitutes are fulfilled.
3. Zakaah helps in the provision of public works upon which the well being of society depends.
4. Zakaah prevents wealth becoming centralised in the hands of a few wealthy people. Thus it ensures that the means of life are not restricted to a select group.
Making Du'a for the Zakaah payer
At the time of receiving Zakaah it is Mustahab (desirable) to make Du'a for the Zakaah giver. This is because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) said, " ( O' Beloved Prophet - Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) Take Zakaah from their wealth to purify and clean them therewith and pray for them. Surely your prayers will give them comfort. " Al-Qur'an : 9:103
The Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) prayed for the person who sent a beautiful she-camel in Zakaah in the following way, " O Allah bestow blessings on this person and in his camels. "
Imam Shafi'ee (alaihir rahman) states, " When the recipient receives Zakaah it is Sunnah to pray for the giver in the following way; ' May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) reward you for what you have given and may He bestow blessings on the remainder of your wealth. ' (Fiqh as-Sunnah)
Persuasion to pay Zakaah
Almighty Allah says :
1. " And those in whose wealth there is a known right; for the one who asks help and for those who are deprived. "
2. " Those, if We give them control on the land, they would establish prayer and pay the Zakaah and command good and forbid evil. And the consequence of all things is in the hands of Allah. "
The Blessed Prophet (Salla Allahi 'alayhi wa 'aalihi wa Sallam) stated, " Whosoever gives alms equal to one date from his Halaal wealth, and Allah only accepts pure and Halaal items, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) takes it in His Hand and develops (cultivates) it, just like one of you brings up his colt (young-horse), until it is equal to a mountain. " ( Bukhari )
In another Hadith it is stated that " (Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) cultivates that morsal of Sadaqah) to such an extent that it develops into the equal of the Uhud mountain. "
A warning to those who refrain from giving Zakaah
Almighty Allah says;
1. " On that day their treasures will be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads, sides and backs will be branded therewith. (They will be told) This is what you had hoarded for yourselves. Now taste the penalty of such hoarding. "
Al-Qur'an : 9:35
2. " And those who are miser in what has been given to them by Allah, by His grace, should not think that it is good for them; on the contrary it is bad for them. The riches they have piled up shall become their necklace on the Day of Judgement. " Al-Qur'an : 3:180
Some sayings of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam :
1. " To whoever Allah (swt) has given wealth and he did not fulfill his right from his wealth, his wealth on the Day of Qiyamah (Judgement Day) will take up the shape of a bald snake, - whose hair has fallen out because of its poison and who would have two black dots on its eyes. The snake will be made into his necklace and it will grab both jaws and say 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure'. " then the Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) recited the above verse (3:180) of the Qur'an. ( Bukhari )
2. "For every wealth owner who did not fulfill his right from his wealth, his wealth will come on the day of Qiyamah in the shape of a bald snake, who will have its mouth open. When it comes close towards the wealth owner the wealth owner will run away from it. The snake will call out to him 'come take the wealth which you hid for I dont need it.' When the wealth owner (in despair) sees no other way he will put his hand into the mouth of the snake. The snake will chew his hand like a bull chews something. " (Muslim)
3. Two women wearing gold bracelets came into the presence of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam). The Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) asked them, " Would you prefer that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) should give you bracelets of fire to wear on the day of Qiyamah ? " They replied, " No, O Blessed Prophet." The Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) replied, " So give what is your duty on what you have in your hands. " (Ahmad)
The ruling on the one who does not pay Zakaah
The one who rejects the compulsory nature of Zakaah becomes a Kaafir (disbeliever) whilst the one who acknowledges the compulsion of Zakaah but due to miserliness does not pay it is sinful. Zakaah should be forcibly taken from such a person and he should be reprimanded. If such a person physically resists to pay Zakaah he should be fought until he submits to the will of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) and pays Zakaah.
Hadrat Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu anhu) narrates that after the blessed passing away of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) and when Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) was the Caliph some Arabs became Kaafir (disbelievers). Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) said to Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) ; How are you going to fight the people when the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) said, " I have been ordered to do fight against the people until they read the Kalimah, whoever reads this he has saved his wealth and life from me, except when his life or wealth is taken in the course of justice. And his account is with Allah. " On hearing this Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) replied, " By Allah, I will fight he who differentiates between Salaah and Zakaah, for Zakaah is Haqq (true and right). By Allah if whoever used to pay the child of a goat or a camel's rope in Zakaah during the time of the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) and now refuses to pay I declare war on him. " Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) replied, " By Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala), this (reasoning) is because Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) has opened/widened his chest and it is now clear to me that what he has stated is Haqq (right). "
The Compulsion of Zakaah
The following are the conditions for Zakaah to become compulsory on a person :
1. To be a Muslim. A disbeliever does not need to pay Zakaah.
2. To be free. A slave does not need to pay Zakaah.
3. To be mature. Zakaah is not compulsory on a wealthy minor.
4. To be sane. Zakaah is not compulsory on the insane.
5. Have perfect/complete ownership. This means must have both ownership and possession of it. Thus if a person owns something but does not have possession over it Zakaah is not compulsory upon it, (e.g. Zakaah is not compulsory on a woman's dower before she gains possession over it).
6. To be the owner of the Nisaab. Nisaab refers to that level (of property) specified by Shar'iah as a standard for Zakaah becoming compulsory. Not only must one own this much but it must also be in excess of debts and fundamental needs (such as clothing, abode, animals for transport, slaves for service, armaments, books for the people of knowledge if they are not for trade. Similarly no Zakaah is payable on the tools for a skillsman, if not for sale.) Nisaab varies for the different commodities - these will be stated below.
7. The passing of a lunar year, even if during the year Nisaab is not maintained. The passing of a year is not a condition on the Zakaah of agriculture and fruit.
1. Zakaah is not compulsory on the wealth of minors (children) or insane. Thus one should not demand their guardians to pay Zakaah out of their wealth. This is due to the fact that Zakaah is an act of worship and it is not demanded from minors and the insane.
2. The paying of Zakaah will not be complete unless one has the intention at the time of paying or at the time when he separates the Zakaah wealth from his total wealth. But if someone, without the intention of Zakaah, gives all his wealth away in charity the compulsion of Zakaah will be removed (from him).
3. It is not a condition for the person receiving Zakaah to know that this is wealth from Zakaah. Thus it is correct for a person to give Zakaah to a poor person but to tell him that this is a loan or a gift.
The Zakaah on Gold
Zakaah is not payable on less than 20 Dinaars (nearly 87 grammes). When somebody attains twenty Dinaars of Gold and a year passes, it is compulsory to pay one fourtieth (half a Dinaar) in Zakaah. For amounts of gold greater than twenty but less than twentyfour no zakaah is payable on the excess over twenty Dinaars. When the amount greater than twenty reaches four (i.e. he has twentyfour in total) he will have to pay one Dirham from these extra (four) Dinaars. Because in Shar'iah one Dinaar is equivalent to ten Dirhams. This is the verdict of Imam al-A'zam Hadrat Abu Hanifa (Rehmatullahi alaih) whilst the Shahibain (Ridwanallahi ta'ala alaihi 'majmain) say that Zakaah must be worked out and paid on any amount greater than twenty Dinaars (there is no need to wait for a round figure, such as twenty four).
The Zakaah on Silver
Zakaah is not payable on silver totalling less than 200 Dirhams (nearly 610 grammes). When one attains two hundred Dirhams of silver and a year passes on its possession Zakaah of five Dirhams is payable. For the amount of silver greater than two hundred, if the excess is less than 40 then no Zakaah is payable on the excess. When the excess reaches 40 Dirhams, then one Dirham is payable for these extra Dirhams, this is in addition to the initial 5 Dirhams payable. For every other extra 40 Dirhams of silver an extra Dirham is payable. This is the saying of Imam al-A'zam Hadrat Abu Hanifa (Rehmatullahi alaih), whilst the Shahibain (Ridwanallahi ta'ala alaihi 'majmain) say that Zakaah is payable on the excess of 200 Dirhams.
If silver is dominant in any coin, it will be considered like silver and if adulteration is dominant, then it will be considered like business stock.
The Zakaah on Business Stock
Zakaah is payable on business stock when the value of the stock is equivalent to the Nisaab of gold or silver. And whichever Nisaab, of either gold or silver, is beneficial to the poor that is the calculation to be used when valuing business stock.
If someone at the start of the year is in possession of the Nisaab and during the year his stock increases, whether through profit or other additions such as inheritance, then at the year end Zakaah will be payable on the whole amount, including the additions which occurred during the year.
Those entitled to Zakaah
It should be clarified that there are eight types of people who have the right to Zakaah, this is because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) says :
" Zakaah is only for those who are poor and needy and those who are employed to administer it, and for those attracted to Islam, and for the freeing of slaves, and for debtors and for the cause of Allah and for the traveller. That is the duty enjoined by Allah, He is knowing, Wise. (Al-Quran 9 : 60 )
1. Faqeer (poor) :
He who has some wealth but which is less than the Nisaab. It is better to give Sadaqah to a learned Faqeer than an ignorant. (al-Fatawa Aalamgiria)
2. Miskeen (needy) :
He who has nothing and must beg for food and clothes. For such a person asking for these items is halaal. (Kitaab al-Fiqh)
3. The workers of the Zakaah organisation :
Workers of Zakaah refers to those people whom the government appoints to adminster Zakaah. This includes people such as those who collect it, manage the organisation and the clerks in the Zakaah offices. Their wages can be taken out of the Zakaah even if they are wealth-owners. This is because they have given their time and thus must be compensated.
4. Those whose hearts are to be won over :
i. Those people whom the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) wanted to come towards Islam.
ii. Those people who had accepted Islam but their faith was weak - the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) used to give them Zakaah to strengthen their faith.
iii. Those who were given Zakaah so as to prevent Muslims becoming the subject of their evil.
Since the victory of Islam this entitlement has become nullified. This is proven by the Ijmaa of the Sahaaba (Ridwanallahi ta'ala alaih majmain) during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu). This is stated on 'Hidaaya'.
Some Ulama (scholars) state that this item is still valid, for a Caliph of Islam may require to win over the hearts of the people. Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) seeing the strength of Islam, dismissed this item. Qadhi Ibn al-Arabi (rehmatullahi alaih) states that as Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has given Islam strength this item is redundant but when its need arises in the future it becomes valid and these people can be given Zakaah, a Hadith of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) states, "Islam started of as poor and will return to the state it began." (Qurtubi)
5. Slave :
Slave refers to a Muskatab slave, and Muskatab is that slave whose master has entered into a written contract that if the slave pays a certain amount (even if in instalments) the slave will be freed. Such a slave will be given Zakaah so that he can meet his contractual instalments.
6. Debtor :
Such a person who has debts but does not have enough wealth that after paying his debts he will have (wealth equal to) Nisaab.
7. Fi Sabeelillah (in the path of Allah)
This refers to the left behind Ghuzaat (singular Al-Ghazi: one who carries out a military expedition) and those doing Hajj (i.e. that person on whom Hajj became Fard but did not do it when he had the means to. But now he no longer has the means, he can be given enough in Zakaah so as he can fulfil his Fard of Hajj). Fatawa Zaheeriya states that only students of religion come into this category. Ruh al-Ma'aani also has this view.
8. Ibn as-Sabeel (the traveller) :
This means that a traveller who is travelling within Shari'ah (purpose of his journey is not contrary to Shari'ah). Such a traveller can be given Zakaah if during his journey he becomes needy, even if in his own domicile (home) he is wealthy.
1. It is permissable for many people to give Zakaah to the same needy. Conversely it is permissable for one person to give Zakaah to a number of needies.
2. A person cannot give Zakaah to those people for whom he is responsible for, like parents, sons, grandsons and wife. This is because it is his duty to spend to fulfil their needs.
3, A person cannot give Zakaah to his own slave, or use it to construct a Mosque or to provide a shroud for a deceased.
4. Zakaah cannot be given to the Banu Hashim due to their noble status. The Banu Hashim also includes the descendents of Ali; Abbas; Ja'far; Aqeel and Harith ibn Abdul Muttalib (Ridwanalllahi ta'ala alaihi majamain) (Qudoori). This is because the Blessed Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) said, " It is not permissable for the family of Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) to take Sadaqah because Sadaqah is the dirt of peoples wealth. " (Muslim)