Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Zakat - 101


Who Must Pay Zakat ?

Zakat means growth, blessings an increase in good, purification, or praise.

In Sacred Law it is the name for a particular amount of property that must be payed to certain kinds of recipients under the conditions mentioned below.

It is called zakat because one's wealth grows through the blessings of giving it and the prayers of those who receive it, and because it purifies its giver of sin and extolls him by testifying to the genuineness of his faith.

Zakat Is Obligatory:

(a) for every free Muslim (male, female, adult, or child)
(b) who has possessed a zakat-payable amount (nisab, i.e. the minimum that necessitates zakat)
(c) for one lunar year

Non-Muslims & Apostates

Non-Muslims are not obliged to pay zakat, nor apostates from Islam (murtad) unless they return to Islam, in which case they must pay for the time they spent out of Islam, though if they die as non-Muslims, their property is not subject to zakat.

Children & The Insane

The guardian of a child or insane person is obliged to pay zakat from their property if they owe any. It is a sin for the guardian not to pay the zakat due on their property, and when the child reaches puberty or when the insane person becomes sane, he is obliged to pay the amount that his guardian neglected to pay.

Lost, Stolen And Found

For property that has been - wrongfully seized, stolen, lost, fallen into the sea, loaned to someone who is tardy in repayment; the owner only has to pay zakat due on such property when he / she regains possession of it, whereupon he must pay zakat on it for the whole time it was out of his hands. However, if the property has diminished through expenditure to less than the zakat-payable amount, then no zakat need be paid on it. And of course, if the owner cannot regain the property, there is no zakat on it.

Zakat is not due on anything besides:

(1) livestock
(2) food crops
(3) gold and silver, or their monetary equivalents
(4) trade goods
(5) mined wealth (meaning gold or silver exclusively)
(6) and wealth from treasure trovers (buried in pre-Islamic times)

Pay Zakat With What? From What?

Zakat is paid from the property itself, though it is permissible to take it from another lot of property on condition that the amount paid is from the same type of property of the five types mentioned above that the zakat is due on, such that one may not, for example, pay money for zakat due on wheat but must pay wheat. An exception to this is trade goods, which are appraised, and zakat may be paid on them with money.

The Zakat Year

By the mere fact that a full lunar year transpires, the poor now own the portion of it that the owner is obliged to pay as zakat.

Destroyed Property

In the rare situation where if all of one's property were destroyed after having been in one's possession a full year but before it was possible to pay zakat, then there is no obligation to pay zakat on it; but if only part of the property has been destroyed, such that this diminishes the rest to less than the zakat-payable amount, then one must take the percentage due on the original amount (2.5%, for example) from the remaining property, and no zakat is paid on the amount destroyed.

If all or part of one's property is destroyed after having been in one's possession a full year and after it was possible to have paid zakat on it by there being both property and recipients, then one must pay the zakat due on both the remainder and the property destroyed.


Zakat is not obligatory if a person's ownership of the property ceases during the year, even if only for a moment, and it then returns to his possession; or if it does not return; or if the person dies during the year.

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