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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Rulings of Zakat

What does Zakat mean?

Zakat means purification, growth and abundance. Allah the exalted says “Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them.”

In the terminology of Shari'ah, it is a specified amount of wealth given to the poor and needy, according to the instructions of Allah, by making them owner of this amount.

Ruling of Zakat:

The payment of Zakat is obligatory. The verses of the Holy Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) confirm its obligatory nature. Whoever denies the obligation of Zakat is a disbeliever.

When was Zakat made obligatory?

The Zakat had been made obligatory in the initial period of Islam in Makkah, as the eminent commentator of Qur’an, Ibne Katheer (RHA) has deduced from the verse of Surah al-Muzammil, that reads: “And perform the prayer and pay the alms (Zakat),” because it is among the Makkan chapters(surahs) of the Qur’an, and belongs to the initial period of revelation. However, it is known from prophetic traditions that in the initial period of Islam no specific Nisab or amount was set. But a major portion of whatever remained in possession of a Muslim after fulfilling his needs was spent in the cause of Allah. The specification of Nisab and the determination of amount of Zakat were done after emigration to Madinah.

Benefits of Zakat:

Zakat is a form of worship, it is an order from Allah.  The goal of giving Zakat is to follow Allah’s order, whether or not we obtain any (worldly) gain or benefit by paying it. That is the real objective of Zakat. However, it is a blessing from Allah that whoever pays Zakat is also benefited from its worldly advantages. Among these advantages is that the payment of Zakat results in growth, increment and purification of the remaining wealth.

Allah says in the Qur’an “Allah destroys riba and nourishes charities” (al-Baqarah:276).

In a prophetic tradition it was narrated that Prophet (PBUH)said: When a slave of Allah pays Zakat, the Angels of Allah pray for him in these words: “O Allah! Grant abundance to him who spends (in Your cause) and destroy one who does not spend and restricts his wealth to himself.”

The prophet (PBUH) said, “Charity does not in any way decreases the wealth.”

Upon whom is Zakat obligatory?

Zakat is obligatory upon every Muslim who is in sound state of mind, reaches the age of puberty and has in his possession a certain amount of wealth that attracts the obligation of Zakat (called Nisab), this amount of Nisab should exceed his basic needs and be free from debt and remain in his possession for a complete lunar year.

Nisab for Zakat (minimum amount of net or wealth that attracts the obligation of Zakat):

The owner of Nisab is one who possesses 52.5 Tola of silver (612.36 grams) or 7.5 Tola of gold (87.48 grams) or its equivalent value in the form of cash, trade articles or jewellery that remain in his possession for one complete lunar year.

However, there is a difference of opinion amongst scholars over exemption of women’s personal jewellerythat is worn regularly from Zakat. But due to the gravity of warnings against not paying Zakat in the Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions, Zakat should also be paid on such jewellery(to remain on the safer side).

The amount of Zakat to be paid:

On the above mentioned Nisab, Zakat must be paid at the rate of 2.5%.

What is included in the items of trade?

It includes all the items and commodities owned for the purpose of selling. Thus, those who purchase plot as an investment and intend (from the time of purchase itself) to benefit from the profit of its sale, whenever handsome prices are offered for it, then Zakat would be payable on the value of such plot also.

However, if someone purchases a plot without any fixed intention, i.e., he may build a house on it, rent it, or sell it, depending on the circumstances then Zakatis not payable on the value of such plot.

Which day's Market value is acceptable?

For the payment of Zakat, valuation shall be based on the current market prices of the day in which you are calculating your Zakat.

Passing a complete year on every single rupee is not necessary:

Passing a complete year over the assets which are subjected to Zakat does not mean that a complete year should pass on every single rupee. For example last year in Ramadan you had 5 lakhs of rupees and after passing a complete lunar year over it you had paid its Zakat, now the fluctuation of amount during the course of this year untilits end inRamadan would not be considerable as the subject matter of Zakat, now you should see how much amount you have in this Ramadan at the end of the year. For instance, if you have six lakhs of rupees, at the end of the year in Ramadan, which exceeds your basic needs, than pay Zakat on this amount at the rate of 2.5%.

Who are entitled to receive Zakat?

In Surah Taubah, verse no. 60, Allah,the exalted, has mentioned 8 categories of people who are entitled to receive Zakat:

  1. A poor person who has meager amount of wealth, which does not reach to the level of Nisab
  2. A needy person, who has no wealth
  3. A person who has been assigned the job of collecting Zakat
  4. Those whose hearts are to be reconciled
  5. A slave whose freedom is desired
  6. The one who is burdened with debt, and doesn't  have money free from the debt that reaches the level of Nisab
  7. The one who strives in the way of Allah
  8. A wayfarer who has run out of resources

Note: Even though the word “Sadaqah” has been used in this verse, which implies on charity, but in the light of  other verses and prophetic traditions, the commentators are of the view that Sadaqa stands here for Zakat (which is obligatory) not for charity (which is optional).

People who are not entitled to receive Zakat:

  1. A person having enough wealth which is in excess of his basic needs and reaches the level of Nisab
  2. Syeds and Hashemites, Hashemites are the descendants of Haris ibn Abdulmuttalib, J’afar, Aqeel, Abbas, and Ali (RA).
  3. It is not permissible to give Zakat to Father, Mother, Grandfather, Grandmother, Maternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandmother.
  4. Similarly, it is not permissible to give Zakat to Son, Daughter, Paternal Grandson, Paternal Granddaughter, Maternal Grandson, and Maternal Granddaughter.
  5. Husband neither can give Zakat to his wife nor can the wifegive Zakat to her husband.

Note: Paying Zakat to brother, sister,nephew, niece, maternal nephew,  maternal niece, paternal uncle, paternal aunt, maternal aunt, maternal uncle, mother in law, father in law, son in law, provided they are needy, has two fold reward, one of paying Zakat and other of strengthening the ties of relations. Zakat may also be given to them in form of a gift or present.

Warning on not giving Zakat:

Allah the Exalted has given a stern warning to those who do not pay Zakat on their wealth.As He says in Surah al-Taubah: Verse No. 34), “And those who hoard up gold and silver, and spend it not in the Way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment.”

And then in next verse the details of this painful torment has been described “On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver, etc., the Zakat of which has not been paid) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them):-"This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.”  (al-Taubah:35).

May Allah save us all from this horrible end.

A few rulings concerning Zakat:

- It is not mandatory to inform the recipient of Zakat that (the paid amount) belongs to Zakat, rather it can be given to a poor child as anEid gift or with any other title.

- It is permissible to give Zakat to poor students pursuing education in Islamic Schools (Madarsas)

- Zakat’s money cannot be spent in the constructions of mosques, Islamic schools, hospitals, orphanages and inns.

- If a wife has enough wealth that reaches the level of Nisab, then Zakat is obligatory on her as well. However, if the husband pays Zakat on behalf of his wife from his wealth, then Zakat would be acceptable.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)