The passage of one lunar (according to Hijraln calendar) is required before Zakat can be imposed on certain wealth. Assets that remain with their owners for one full lunar year are zakatable. Rich Muslims, therefore, must establish their Zakat year. Many Muslims calculate Zakat during Ramadan for the added reward of worshipping during this blessed month. So, an example of the Zakat year may be from the 11th Ramadan 1427 to the 10th Ramadan 1428 (one full Hijraln lunar calendar year). Once the Zakat year is set, the same date range should be used for future Zakat years.
Conditions of Zakat : Wealth Subject to Zakat
- The wealth or the property should be of a growing type. It should have the capability for growth and development, such as money, livestock and property.
- One full lunar year should pass since the ownership of the wealth for Zakat to be due. This condition is limited to money that is saved, livestock and goods for sale. It does not include crops, fruits, minerals and treasure.
- The asset must be at or above the nisaab. There is different nisaab for different types of wealth.
- The assets should be in excess of the basic needs. What is needed by an individual to satisfy the basic needs for him and his family is not subject to Zakat
- One’s debts, if any, should be deducted from one’s wealth before calculating Zakat. If the owner is burdened by debt that exceeds the nisaab, then Zakat is not due.
People Subject to Zakat
Zakat is imposed on only Muslims. Zakat is obligatory on wealth regardless of whether the owner is an adult or a minor. Therefore, Zakat is due on wealth owned by minors and the insane as well. Legal guardians should pay Zakat on behalf of minors and insane people.
There is no Zakat on Muslim reverts for the past period of disbelief.
The Nisaab or Scale for some Kinds of Wealth
Equal to the value of 85 grams of gold
Zakat is compulsory on merchandise or trading goods. If a lunar year passes and the merchandise or the trading goods reach the nisaab, which is the value of 85 grams of gold, Zakat becomes due. Zakat on them is 2.5% if their value reaches the nisaab.
Zakat on livestock and their nisaab is different. Nisaab and the rates of Zakat on various animals is as follows:
|Number of animals
1 one-year old cow
1 two-year old cow
2 one-year old cows
If gold and silver are in the form of jewellery, then Zakat is payable on them. It is reported that a woman came to the Prophet (pbuh) with her daughter on whose wrists were two thick gold bracelets. The Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Do you pay Zakat on this?” “No,” she replied. Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Would you prefer Allah to make you wear two bracelets of fire in place of these two on the Day of Judgment?” (Abu Daawood)
Aaishah said, “Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) entered my apartment and found in my hands a few rings of silver. He asked, “What is this?” I said, “I made them in order to use them as ornaments to please you.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “Do you pay their Zakat?” I answered, “No,” He said, “That would be enough for you of the fire.”
(Abu Daawood and al-Haakim)
Zakat , thus, must be paid on gold and silver, even if they are in the shape of ornaments, just as on cash. According to some scholars, however, Zakat need not be given on jewels, pearls, diamonds, and precious stones used for beautification purposes. But if it is kept as a security if a financial need arises, it requires the Zakat . Nisaab on jewellery is 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver and the Zakat rate is 2.5%.
Zakat on the Produce of the Earth
Agricultural produce, such as grains, fruits and vegetables is also zakatable. Zakat is 10% if the land is watered by rain all or most of the period and 5% if it is watered by irrigation all or most of the period. The nisaab on crops is 653 kilograms. The Zakat on these becomes due at harvest time.