Paying Zakaat is obligatory upon accountable muslimsZakaat 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.
- The zakaat quota must be clear of debts to others. (Because covering it is a basic need.)
- 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.))
- 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:
- Debt someone refuses to pay and one has no proof of it's existence to get the debtor to pay it back.
- Things that have been lost, stolen or robbed (without a proof of who did it), or taken forcefully by the government.
- 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.
- 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.