Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Obligation of Zakaat

Paying Zakaat is obligatory upon accountable muslims

Zakaat is only paid by Muslims that are free, sane and have reached puberty. Free, because slaves do not fully own property. Sane and having reached puberty, because the insane and children are not accountable for their deeds. Muslim, because paying zakaat is an act of worship, and worship is not valid from a non-muslim.

Zakaat is not due unless one owns the specified quota (nisaab) that obligates it.

  1. The zakaat quota must be clear of debts to others. (Because covering it is a basic need.)
  2. The zakaat quota must not be of the persons basic needs (housing, clothes, tools, etc. that are not for trading or currency (money, gold, silver.))
  3. The quota must be completely owned by the person.
    • Debt that one has witnesses to, or the judge knows about, is added to the zakaat quota. Accordingly, a trader with outstanding credits counts them when calculating quotas. He pays zakaat when a year has passed if he wants, but is allowed to wait until he collects.
    • Property that one does not hope to get back has no zakaat, such as:
      1. Debt someone refuses to pay and one has no proof of it's existence to get the debtor to pay it back.
      2. Things that have been lost, stolen or robbed (without a proof of who did it), or taken forcefully by the government.
    • The above 2 conditions must be met at two dates with one year between them. If one still has a quota after one year, then one pays for all that is owned at the year-end date, even if it was earned just a few days before the year end. Fluctuation during the year below or above the quota is ignored, unless it is completely eliminated. For example:
      • If someone had a quota of gold (85 grams) on the 1st of muharram, and at one point during the following year he had only one gram of gold, but had at least one quota on the following 1st of muharram, then he must pay for whatever he has at that date.
      • In the last example, if he used all of the gold (and he has no silver, money or goods for trading) to buy basic needs or cows for gracing (not trade) at one point during the year, then the year has been interrupted, and he should start counting a year for the cows if they meet at least one quota. If he changed his mind and sold the cows for gold again, then he starts counting a new year for the quota of gold he got from the sale. If he does thing like this to escape from paying zakaat then he has committed a sin, but does not have to pay zakaat.
    • One must have the intention of paying the obligatory zakaat either when paying, or when separating it from other property. The exception is if someone paid all of his money to the poor for the sake of Allah, but didn't have the intention of zakaat, then he has paid the zakaat that was due on it.
    • If the zakaat was not yet paid, after being due, when the entire quota was destroyed, then the zakaat due is cancelled. If part of the quota is destroyed, then the zakaat is reduced accordingly.
      • If trading goods were all substituted for other goods after zakaat was due, and then the substitute goods were destroyed, then the zakaat has been cancelled. • Zakaat is due only on the quota, not on what is between quotas.
    • One may pay zakaat (including fiTr) according to the value of the day one it became due, except for grazing animals, where one looks at the value the day one is paying. Atonements (except if it is to free a slave,) kharaj, 'ushr and vows to pay alms to the poor may also be done by value. Slaughtering (in Hajj and Eid) may NOT be substituted by value.
    • The zakaat is paid according to the average quality, neither the very high, nor the very low.
    • Once one owns at least one quota, it is allowed to pre-pay for the year(s) to come, and even for several quotas. Zakaat on grazing animals Camels, cows, buffalos, sheep, and goats that graze public lands for most of a year have zakaat due if they meet the quota. The following are the first quotas and the zakaat due (in brackets) for these animals: Five camels (1 one-year old sheep); ten (2); fifteen (3); twenty (4); twenty-five (1 one-year old she-camel); thirty six (1 two-year old she-camel); forty six (1 three-year old she-camel); sixty one (1 four-year old she-camel); seventy six (2 two-year old she-camels); ninety one to one hundred and twenty (2 three-year old she-camels); etc. Thirty cows or buffalos (1 one-year old); forty (1 two year old); sixty (2 one-year olds); seventy (1 one-year old and 1 two-year old); eighty (2 two-year olds) etc. Forty sheep or goats (1 one year old sheep); One hundred and twenty one (2); two hundred and one (3); four hundred (4); five hundred (5); six hundred (6); etc. One grazing horse that is not for work, trade or riding (2.5% of the value) Zakaat on gold, silver and goods for trade 1. The quota for gold is 85 grams, and for silver 595 grams. The zakaat due is 2.5%. • If the gold or silver is mixed with other metals, one considers as gold or silver what has more than 50% gold or silver content respectively. 2. Money has zakaat due like gold and silver, if the value of the money reaches that of the gold or silver quota. 3. Property that was bought with the intention of trading it has zakaat like gold and silver. Once the market value of the property reaches the value of the quota of gold or silver, one starts to pay 2.5%. • Someone bought one cow with the intention of trade: it is counted as a good for trade. • If someone bought a house for trading, but then lived in it: if he changed his intention there is no zakaat, otherwise there is. • There is no zakaat in houses for rent. 4. Gold, silver, money and goods for trade are added together to make a quota in terms of the value of the gold or silver quota. If the total value reaches the value of a quota of gold or silver, then zakaat is due. Zakaat on farm products One needs to pay 1/10 of the output. There is no Zakaat in… Donkeys and mules that are not for trade. Baby cows, camels and sheep. Animals for work or riding. Animals that are fed privately most of the year (not grazed on public property/ in no man's land). Those that one may pay zakaat to Introduction: The levels of poverty and wealth: Very poor: The one that has less than the food he needs for the current day and is not able to work for it. He is allowed to beg. Poor: The one who does not have the value of a quota in excess of what is occupied by his basic needs or debt. He is allowed to take zakaat, but not to beg. Rich: The one who owns, in excess of his basic needs, the value of a quota. He must pay the zakaat of breaking fast, slaughter for the pilgrimage Eid and cannot take zakaat for himself. Zakaat can be paid to: Very poor or poor Muslims in the first two categories above, or the traveler who needs money to get home, or soldiers in jihad/ pilgrims who don't have access to their money, or as salary for those who collect zakaat, or for Muslim slaves who are working to free themselves by contract, or for those who have so much debt as to be considered poor. Some scholars said one can give to new Muslims who are still weak in their religion; others said this was only in the Prophet’s time. It is NOT allowed to pay for: Building masjids or other charity that does not fit the above categories, such as burials or teaching religion. One may not pay to a non-Muslim, one's own descendents or ancestors, or the descendents of Hashim (the Prophet’s great grandfather). Ones own ancestors (father, mother, grandfather …), descendants, wife or husband. The young child of a rich person. How to pay: One makes the intention when giving it or separating it for giving. One must feel sure that the person is one of those that deserve zakaat.