Thursday, January 3, 2013

Zakah (Obligatory Charity)

Zakäh

Alläh said:
وَاَقِيْمُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتُوا الزَّكٰوةَ وَاَقْرِضُوا اللّٰهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا   ۭ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوْا لِاَنْفُسِكُمْ مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوْهُ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا وَّاَعْظَمَ اَجْرًا   ۭ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللّٰهَ  ۭ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ 20؀ۧ (القرآن ٢٠:٧٣)
Establish Salah, and pay Zakah, and advance to Alläh a goodly loan. And whatever good you will send ahead for your own-selves, you will find it with Alläh much better in condition, and much greater in reward. And seek forgiveness from Alläh. Indeed Alläh is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.
Alläh said:
وَالَّذِيْنَ يَكْنِزُوْنَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنْفِقُوْنَهَا فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ  ۙ فَبَشِّرْهُمْ بِعَذَابٍ اَلِيْمٍ    34؀ۙ  يَّوْمَ يُحْمٰي عَلَيْهَا فِيْ نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوٰي بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوْبُهُمْ وَظُهُوْرُهُمْ ۭهٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِاَنْفُسِكُمْ فَذُوْقُوْا مَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْنِزُوْنَ    35؀ (القرآن ۹:٣٤-۳۵)
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.
Alläh’s Prophet said:
مَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ مَالًا، فَلَمْ يُؤَدِّ زَكَاتَهُ مُثِّلَ لَهُ مَالُهُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ شُجَاعًا أَقْرَعَ لَهُ زَبِيبَتَانِ يُطَوَّقُهُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ، ثُمَّ يَأْخُذُ بِلِهْزِمَتَيْهِ - يَعْنِي بِشِدْقَيْهِ - ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَنَا مَالُكَ أَنَا كَنْزُكَ، ثُمَّ تَلاَ: (لَا يَحْسِبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ) " الآيَةَ۔ (البخاري ١٤٠٣)
“Whoever is made wealthy by Alläh 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 eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure.'" Then the Prophet recited the holy verses: 'Let not those who withhold . . .' (to the end of the verse[1]). (EQ 1330)
The literal meanings of the Arabic word Az̈ Z̈akäh are purification and growth.
In Shari'ah, Az̈ Z̈akäh is transferring the ownership of a specified wealth to the eligible when the specified prerequisites are fulfilled.
Zakäh is an important and essential pillar of Isläm. Through Zakäh, Isläm eradicates poverty and misery and strengthens the bond of love and brotherhood among the rich and the poor.

Prerequisites for Zakäh to become obligatory

Zakäh becomes obligatory only if the following prerequisites are fulfilled:
1.       Isläm: Zakäh is not obligatory for a Disbeliever, no matter whether he is a Disbeliever from the beginning or he turned apostate.
2.       Freedom: It is not obligatory for a slave.
3.       Adulthood[2]: It is not obligatory for a child.
4.       Sanity: It is not obligatory for an insane person.
5.       Total ownership: This means that the wealth should be in the person’s ownership as well as custody.
If he owns something but he has not yet taken it into his custody, then it will not be obligatory for him, like a woman’s dower before she takes it into her custody.
So a woman does not have to pay Zakäh for her dower before she takes it into her custody from her husband.
Similarly, if a person takes some wealth into his custody but does not own it, then he does not have to pay Zakäh for it, like a debtor who has his creditor’s wealth in his custody.
6.       The owned wealth should be equal to or more than the Zakäh-cutoff
If a person’s wealth is less than the Zakäh-cutoff[3], then Zakäh is not obligatory for him.
The Zakäh-cutoff varies with the category of wealth whose Zakäh is being paid.
7.       The wealth should be surplus to his basic needs.
Zakäh is not obligatory for residential houses, clothes to put on body, household chattels, vehicles and animals used for travel, and weapons in use.
Similarly, Zakäh is not obligatory on devices he uses in his profession.
Zakäh is not obligatory on books if they are not meant for sale.
The reason is that all the above things come under basic needs.
8.       The wealth should be free of debt.
If a person owes a debt deducting which from his wealth makes it null or less than the Zakäh-off, then Zakäh is not obligatory for him.
9.       The wealth should be growing, no matter whether de facto or de jure.
Examples of the de jure are gold and silver as they have been considered de jure to be growing. Zakäh will be obligatory for them no matter whether they are minted or not and whether they are in the form of jewelry or utensil.
Zakäh will not be obligatory for gems like pearl, ruby and peridot if they are not meant for sale, as they do not grow, neither de facto nor de jure.

When is paying the Zakäh compulsory?

The prerequisite for the payment of Zakäh to become compulsory is that an entire lunar year should pass with the person in possession of the Zakäh-cutoff.
This means that his wealth should be equal to or greater than the Zakäh-cutoff at both the ends of the Zakäh-year[4]. It does not matter if his wealth remained so in the middle of the Zakäh-year.
If a person owns Zakäh-cutoff on some day, and his wealth remains equal to or above Zakäh-cutoff till a lunar year[5] passes, then paying the Zakäh will be compulsory for him.
Likewise, if his wealth was equal to or above Zakäh-cutoff on some day, then it got reduced to less than Zakäh-cutoff, but at the end of the lunar year[6], he again became owner of the Zakäh-cutoff or more, then paying Zakäh will be obligatory for him.
If a person owns the Zakäh-cutoff in the beginning of his Zakäh-year, then during the year, he earns more of that category of wealth, that earning will be added to his initial wealth and he will have to pay Zakäh for the entire wealth. It does not matter whether he earned the extra through business transaction, gift, inheritance or some other way.

When is paying Zakäh valid?

The paying of Zakäh is valid only if he intends Zakäh while paying to the poor persons, or while paying to the agent who will distribute it among those eligible to receive Zakäh, or when he separates the Zakäh-amount from the rest of his wealth.
If he pays the Zakäh to a poor person without any intention, then later he intends Zakäh with that payment, it will be valid provided that the wealth remains in the custody of the poor person when he is making the intention.
That the poor person should know that the wealth he is taking is Zakäh, is not a prerequisite for validity of Zakäh.
If he pays to a poor person some wealth saying that it is a gift or loan but he intends Zakäh with it, then also his payment of Zakäh will be valid.
If a person pays his entire wealth in charity without intending Zakäh, it will no more remain obligatory for him.
If he loses some of his wealth at the end of his Zakäh-year, then he will not have to pay Zakäh for the lost wealth. For example, a person owned 1000 dirhams[7] at the beginning of his Zakäh-year, which meant that 2.5 % or 25 dirham was obligatory as Zakäh. But if at the end of his Zakäh-year, he lost 200 dirhams, then he will have to pay Zakäh on only 1000-200=800 dirhams. The Zakäh would be 2.5% of 800=20 dirhams.
If a person had loaned some wealth to a poor person, then later he forgave him the loan with the intention of Zakäh, it will not be valid as there was no transfer of ownership. Payment of Zakäh is invalid without transfer of ownership.

Zakäh on silver and gold


Weight in grams
In rupees[8]
Zakäh in
(See footnote 263)
Silver (53.9 per gram on 11 Aug 2012 at Hyderabad)
1 dirham
2.975 g
160

200 dirhams[9]
595.000 g
32070
802
Gold (2802 per gram on 11 Aug 2012 at Hyderabad)
1 dinär
4.250 g
11,908

20 dinärs[10]
85.000 g
238,170
5954

Note: All amounts have been rounded off to the nearest whole number.
Zakäh is compulsory on silver and gold if they are equal to or more than the Zakäh-cutoff.
The Zakäh-cutoff for silver is 200 dirhams and for gold it is 20 dinärs.
If a person owns silver or gold cutoff or more, he should pay 1/40 as Zakäh.
If he owns 200 dirhams of silver, he should pay 5 dirhams as Zakäh.
If he owns 20 dinärs of gold, he should pay 0.5 dinär as Zakäh.
Adulterated silver is considered de jure as pure silver if silver is more than the impurities.
Adulterated gold is considered de jure as pure gold if gold is more than the impurities.
But if the impurities are more than the pure metal, then the adulterated gold and silver are considered de jure as chattels.
According to Imäms Abü Yüsuf and Muhammad, if a person’s wealth exceeds Zakäh-cutoff, then 1/40 of the exceeding amount is also compulsory as Zakäh. And this is the opinion to be followed.[11]
While paying the Zakäh for gold or silver, the payer has the following payment-options:
·         He may pay silver or gold pieces calculating the Zakäh by weight;
·         he may calculate the amount of Zakäh according to the popular currency of the city and make the payment in that currency; or
·         he may pay chattels, things sold by measure, or things sold by weight as Zakäh for silver or gold.

Zakäh for commodities

Anything in a person’s ownership other than gold, silver and animals is considered commodity here. The Arabic word is àrz̄, whose plural is ùrüz̄.
Zakäh is compulsory for commodities when the following prerequisites are fulfilled:
1.       The owner of the commodity intends to sell it or do business transactions in it.
2.       The price of the commodity meant for selling reaches the Zakäh-cutoff for silver or gold.
A Muslim businessman should assess the value of all the commodities meant for sale in his ownership at the end of every Zakäh-year. If the value according to the prevalent market rate reaches the Zakäh-cutoff, he will pay 1/40 of the total value as Zakäh. If the total value is less than the Zakäh-cutoff of both silver and gold, then there is no Zakäh for him.
The evaluation of the commodities-for-sale will be based on the prevalent currency of the businessman’s city.
The values of infrastructure and devices necessary for business which are present in the businessman’s shop or factory will not be included in this evaluation.
If a person had owned land, estate or animals, then later he intends to do business transactions in them, the Zakäh-year for those things will begin at the time when he actually starts transactions in them.

Zakäh for loan

With respect to payment of Zakäh, the loans that a person has lent to others are divided into three categories:
1.       Strong loan         2. Moderate loan             3. Weak loan
1.       Strong loan: It is the money a person expects to get back in return for a loan or business commodity when the debtor acknowledges the debt, though he may be bankrupt.
The loan will also be considered strong if the debtor denies the loan but the lender is capable of presenting witnesses against the denying debtor.
If the loan is strong, it is compulsory for the lender to pay Zakäh on the loan when any part of the loan is returned to him, no matter whether the returned amount is small or large.[12]
In the case of strong loan, the Zakäh-year will be considered from the date when the lender became owner of the Zakäh-cutoff, not from the date he got back the loan.
So, Zakäh will be obligatory for previous years, but paying the Zakäh will be compulsory only when he gets back the loan or part thereof.
2.       Moderate loan: If a person sells something out of his basic needs like residential house, clothes for wearing, food items for eating ­­– not a usual business commodity – and the price or a part thereof remains in the hands of the buyer, then it is called moderate loan.
If the sold commodity was a usual business commodity, then it would be strong loan.
When the lender (seller) gets back any part of the loan – small or large – payment of Zakäh becomes compulsory for him, in the opinion of Imäms Abü Yüsuf and Muhammad[13].
In moderate loan too, the Zakäh-year will be considered from the date when the lender became owner of the Zakäh-cutoff, not from the date he got back the loan.
So, Zakäh will be obligatory for previous years, but paying the Zakäh will be compulsory only when he gets back the loan or part thereof.
3.       Weak loan: It is the money a person expects from another in return for something which is not a wealth, like the dower to be paid to a woman. The dower is not in return for some wealth which the husband took from her.
Some other examples of weak loan are:
o   The money the husband expects to receive on account of wife-initiated separation.
o   The money one expects to receive on account of a deceased person’s will.
o   The money the guardians of a murdered person expect to receive on account of conciliation with the intentional murderer.
o   The blood money the guardians of a murdered person expect to receive.
In the case of weak loans, payment of Zakäh is compulsory only when the receiver gets an amount equal to Zakäh-cutoff or more.
The Zakäh-year will be considered from the date when he actually received the money.
So Zakäh of previous years is not obligatory for weak loan.

Zakäh of inaccessible wealth

Inaccessible wealth is the one which continues to be in the ownership of the person but it is difficult to get custody of it. Examples:
·         He lent to a person but is incapable of producing witnesses to testify for him. Then after some time, he gets back his loan.
·         Someone grabbed his wealth and he is unable to produce witnesses against the grabber. Then after some time, the grabber returns his wealth.
·         He lost his wealth, then found it back after some time.
·         His wealth was confiscated, then he got it back after some time.
·         He buried his wealth in the wilderness, then forgot its location. After some time, he found it.
In the case of inaccessible wealth, the Zakäh of previous years is not obligatory.

Who are eligible to receive Zakäh?

Alläh said:
اِنَّمَا الصَّدَقٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَاۗءِ وَالْمَسٰكِيْنِ وَالْعٰمِلِيْنَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوْبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغٰرِمِيْنَ وَفِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيْلِ ۭفَرِيْضَةً مِّنَ اللّٰهِ  ۭوَاللّٰهُ عَلِيْمٌ حَكِيْمٌ       60؀ (القرآن ٦٠:٩)
The Zakäh (prescribed alm) is (meant) only to be given to the poor, the destitute, 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 traveler. This is an obligation prescribed by Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.
The Qurän mentioned eight categories of people to whom Zakäh may be given. However, the rightly-guided caliph Umar رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ forbade giving Zakäh to “those whose hearts are to be won”[14] with the argument that Isläm had become quite strong. None of the holy companions objected to Umar’s رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ decision. Thus by the consensus of the holy companions this category has lost its eligibility[15]. Now, seven categories remain to whom Zakäh may be paid. We shall describe each category and its related rulings below.

1.      The poor

He is a person who owns less than the Zakäh-cutoff.
Paying Zakäh to a person owning less than the Zakäh-cutoff is permissible even though he is healthy and capable of earning.

2.      The destitute

He is a person who owns nothing at all.

3.      Zakäh-collector

He is a person who has been assigned the duty of collecting Zakäh and agricultural tax[16]. He will be paid from the Zakäh-amount in accordance with his work.

4.      Those whose hearts are to be won

This has been discussed above.

5.      Slaves

These are the mukätab[17] slaves.
This category does not exist at present, but when it exists, Zakäh may be paid to it.

6.      The indebted

He is a person in debt who upon paying back his debt no more remains the owner of Zakäh-cutoff. Paying Zakäh to an indebted person to help him repay his debt is preferable to paying Zakäh to the poor.

7.      In the way of Alläh

This means spending on the following two category of people:
1.       A needy person who is engaged in Jihäd in Alläh’s way[18].
2.       A Haj-performer who went out for Haj but is unable to reach Alläh’s house, the Ka'bah because he ran out of money on the way.

8.      Traveler

He is a traveler who has enough wealth at his home-city, but has run out of money during the journey. Zakäh may be paid to him so that he is able to reach his home-city.
It is permissible for a person on whom Zakäh is obligatory to pay his Zakäh to people from each of the eight categories.
It is also permissible for him to pay his entire Zakäh amount to a person from a single category even though people from other categories are present.

To whom Zakäh cannot be paid?

It is not permissible to pay Zakäh to the following people:
1.       Disbeliever
2.       Rich[19] adult
3.       Rich child
4.       Banü Häshim and their freed slaves
5.       The Zakäh-payer’s parents and ancestors like father, grandfather, etc.
6.       The Zakäh-payer’s offspring and descendants like son, grandson, etc.
7.       The Zakäh-payer’s spouse
Paying Zakäh to all other relations is in fact preferable.
8.       For construction of mosque or madrasah, or repair of road or bridge.
Zakäh can also not be used to provide for a deceased person’s shroud or to help repay his loan. For validity of Zakäh payment, transfer of ownership of the Zakäh-wealth to an eligible person is a prerequisite, and in the above cases, the transfer of ownership is not found. A dead person cannot become owner.
The most preferable way is to pay Zakäh to one’s relations, then to one’s neighbors.
It is detestable to pay Zakäh amount equal to Zakäh-cutoff to a single person; like paying a single person 200 dirhams or 20 dinärs.
However, it is not detestable to pay Zakäh amount equal to or greater than Zakäh-cutoff to an indebted person to help him repay his debt. For example, he may pay a person 1000 dirhams for repayment of his debt. It will not be detestable.
It is detestable to transfer Zakäh from one city to another without need.
Transferring Zakäh from one city to another to pay one’s relations is not detestable.
Similarly, it is not detestable to transfer Zakäh from one city to another where the people are needier than those of his city.
It is not detestable to transfer Zakäh away from the city for a purpose which is more beneficial to the Muslims, like Islamic madrasahs that run on charity.


[1] The Quränic verse is:
وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يَبْخَلُوْنَ بِمَآ اٰتٰىھُمُ اللّٰهُ مِنْ فَضْلِھٖ ھُوَ خَيْرًا لَّھُمْ ۭ بَلْ ھُوَ شَرٌّ لَّھُمْ ۭ سَيُطَوَّقُوْنَ مَا بَخِلُوْا بِهٖ يَوْمَ الْقِيٰمَةِ  ۭ وَلِلّٰهِ مِيْرَاثُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ ۭ وَاللّٰهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ خَبِيْرٌ      ١٨٠؁ۧ (القرآن ١٨٠:٣)
Those who withhold in miserliness what Alläh has given them out of His grace should not take it as good for them. Instead, it is bad for them. They shall be forced, on the Doomsday, to put on what they withheld, as iron-collars round their necks. To Alläh belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. Alläh is All-Aware of what you do.
[2] A boy is considered adult when nocturnal ejaculation occurs to him, or he ejaculates at the time of sexual intercourse, or he makes a woman pregnant. If none of these occur to him then he becomes adult on completing 15 years. The minimum age for him to become adult is 12 years.
A girl is considered adult when menstruation, nocturnal ejaculation or pregnancy occurs to her. If none of these occur, then she becomes an adult on completing 15 years. The minimum age for her to become an adult is 9 years. (From Al Hidäyah 3/281)
[3] In most of the cases, the Zakäh-cutoff is the price of 595 gram of silver (=₹32,070 at Hyderabad on 11 Aug 2012, source: indiagoldrate.com).
[4] The Zakäh-year starts on the day and month the person first became owner of the Zakäh-cutoff and remained owner of that amount a lunar year later. For example, if a person first became owner of the Zakäh-cutoff on 4 Ramazän 1433 AH, then his Zakäh year will be considered to start from 4 Ramazän 1433 and end on 3 Ramazän 1434. If he owns the Zakäh-cutoff on 3 Ramazän 1434 as well, then Zakäh will be obligatory for him, and this will be his Zakäh-year; else the next day when he owned the Zakäh-cutoff will be considered.
[5] A lunar year consists of approximately 354 days.
[6] Consisting of approximately 354 days
[7] In Islamic law, a dirham is equal to 2.975 gram of silver which amounted to ₹160 at Hyderabad on 11 Aug 2012 (Source: indiagoldrate.com).
[8] As on 11 Aug 2012 at Hyderabad (Source: indiagoldrate.com)
[9] 200 dirham is Zakäh-cutoff for silver.
[10] 20 dinär is Zakäh-cutoff for gold.
[11] The other opinion is that of Imäm Abü Hanïfah who holds that if a person’s wealth exceeds Zakäh-cutoff, then there is no Zakäh on the exceeding wealth unless it reaches 1/5 of the cutoff.
[12] This is the opinion of Imäms Abü Yüsuf and Muhammad.
According to Imäm Abü Hanïfah, it will be compulsory for the lender to pay Zakäh when forty dirhams are returned to him. Whenever, forty dirhams are returned to him, he should pay one dirham as Zakäh. If less than forty dirhams are returned, he need not pay anything as Zakäh.
[13] According to Imäm Abü Hanïfah, Payment of Zakäh for moderate loan is compulsory only when the person gets back an amount equal to the Zakäh-cutoff.
For example, if the debtor (purchaser) owed 1000 dirhams, and the lender (seller) got back 200 dirhams out of that amount, then it will be compulsory for the lender to pay 5 dirhams as Zakäh.
If the lender gets back less than the Zakäh-cutoff amount, then payment of Zakäh is not compulsory.
[14] It means the neo-Muslims who are helped in becoming more firm through the generosity of Isläm. (Ma’äriful Qurän v4 p406, under commentary of Quränic verse 9:60)
[15] “The categories to whom Zakäh may be paid as mentioned in the Quränic verse hold true now and will do so forever. The only exception is the category of “those whose hearts are to be won”. Most of the scholars, Imäms and jurists hold that on account of Isläm getting well-known and strong, there is no need of their share now. They present Abü Bakr’s رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ act in argument who did not pay Zakäh to such people. But some other jurists are of the opinion that their share still exists in Zakäh.
“The writer [Ali Mian] feels more inclined towards the opinion of Qäzï Abü Bakr Ibn Al Arabï and others. Qäzï Abü Bakr opines that if Isläm enjoys supremacy and influence, then there is no need to pay Zakäh to “those whose hearts are to be won”. But if there is a need, then they should be paid Zakäh just as the Prophet used to give them. According to an authentic hadith,
إِنَّ الْإِسْلَامَ بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا كَمَا بَدَأَ. (مسلم ١٤٦)
“Truly, Islam started as something strange and it would revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started. (EQ 7512)”
(Footnote of Arkän e Arba’ah, p 140, author: Shaikh Syed Abul Hasan Ali Mian Nadwi)
[16] If an agricultural land is such that rain water is sufficient for it and it does not need irrigation, then one-tenth of the produce should be paid to the Islamic government. If human effort and expense are needed to irrigate the land, then one-twentieth of the produce is to be paid. (Source: Arkän e Arba’ah, p 137, author: Shaikh Sayyidd Abul Hasan Alï Miän Nadvï)
[17] A mukätab slave is he who enters into a deal with his master that he would earn the amount specified by the master, give it to him as he earns, and once the agreed amount is paid off, he shall be free. The mukätab slave should be helped to secure his freedom by giving the master a share from Zakäh funds to write off the amount due against the slave. (Source: Ma’äriful Qurän v4 p411, commentary of Quränic verse 9:60)
[18] This means a mujähid who does not have the means to buy necessary weapons and war supplies, though he may own the Zakäh-cutoff. (Source: Ma’äriful Qurän v4 p413, commentary of Quränic verse 9:60)
[19] In Islamic law, a person is rich if he owns the Zakäh-cutoff or more.

1 comment:

  1. veryy goood helped me revise sooo much

    ReplyDelete