Soldier of Allah 

11. Common Questions

1. An employee saves a certain amount from his monthly salary. How can he calculate the amount of Zakah due on his savings, bearing in mind that some of the savings have not been in his possession for a full year?

If a man has an amount of money on which Zakah is payable, which has been in his possession for a full year, and due to inheritance, gifts, savings or bonuses this amount increased, should include this increment in the total sum on which Zakah is payable, regardless of whether this increment has been in his possession for a full year or not.

2. Is Zakah due on women's ornaments?

Women's personal ornaments are not countable for Zakah if they do not exceed the usual norm. However, there must be criteria for defining the amount of these ornaments. This amount is estimated according to a woman's standard of living. Ornaments kept for purposes other than wearing are countable for Zakah. Likewise all ornaments that are not in current use due to their being out of fashion (or any other reason) are counted for Zakah. Zakah is also payable on fine gold and silver when either reaches a certain weight. The increase of the value of gold and silver due to casting, manufacturing or containing precious stones is not considered.

3. How is the amount of Zakah on gold and silver estimated?

In case gold is not fully pure, we may make use of the following equation to find out the total amount of fine gold after leaving out the weight of other substances:

weight of gold x the standard of fineness x the gram value x 2.5%

Note: the gram value here means the value at the time when the gold reaches the weight at which Zakah is payable.

4. How Zakah is paid on trade activities?

When the time of Zakah is due, the commercial body, whether an individual or company, should make an inventory and estimate the actual value of goods in hand. The value of these goods together with cash assets, whether used in business or not, and the total of recoverable debts owed to him by others are considered the amount of trade activity on which Zakah is due, after subtracting the debts he owes to others from the total value. The following equation may be useful to conveniently get the percentage of Zakah:

The amount of Zakah = the value of goods in hand + cash assets + recoverable debts - debts x 2.5%

5. When estimating the amount of Zakah, should the merchants consider the purchase price or the sale price in evaluating their goods?

Zakah is estimated according to the current market price. According to juristic authorities, estimating the amount of Zakah is based on the wholesale price of commodities. (This view is one of the recommendations of the First Contemporary Zakah Questions Symposium.)

6. Should a merchant pay Zakah out of his commodities, or must it be paid in cash?

Originally, Zakah on trade activities must be paid in cash. According to `Umar bin Al-Khattab's narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Hamas, ''Give Zakah on your wealth.'' Hamas said, ''I have no trade other than leather quivers.'' Whereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ''Estimate their value and pay Zakah on them accordingly.'' However, a merchant can pay Zakah out of the commodities in which he is dealing to avoid undue hardship.

7. Transactions may be concluded with immediate payment or on credit; how should a merchant deal with mercantile debts?

Jurists classify debts into two types: First: debts owed to the merchant; it is of two types:

1. Recoverable debt:

It is a debt owed by one who acknowledges it and is able to pay, or by a debtor who denies the debt but there is an evident against him that in case he stands for trial he will be obliged to pay. This kind of debt is also known as a good debt. The merchant should add a recoverable debt owed to him by others to the total sum on which Zakah is payable.

2. Irrecoverable debt:

It is a debt owed by one who repudiates it, and there is no evidence against him, or by a debtor who recognizes the debt but often delays the date of repayment, or by a debtor who is insolvent. This kind of debt is also known as a doubtful debt.

The sum of such debt is not counted for Zakah unless it is actually repaid. Once this debt is paid, Zakah is payable on it for one year only, no matter how many years it has been owed by the debtor.

Second: debts owed by the merchant:

The amount of debts owed by the merchant or the company is to be left out of the total sum on which Zakah is payable.

8. What is the legal judgment concerning shares in trade?

Holding shares in a joint-stock company is judged on the basis of the kind of activities carried out by the company itself. Thus, holding shares in a company conducting usurious dealings or selling prohibited commodities such as alcoholic drinks is unlawful. Likewise, holding shares in a company that conducts certain prohibited transactions such as usury on credit sales or aleatory transactions is also unlawful.

9. How does a shareholder pay Zakah on his shares?

If the shareholder invests his shares in trade, the amount of Zakah will be 2.5%, according to the market price of the shares at the time the Zakah becomes due.

However, if the shares are invested to obtain annual earnings, Zakah is to be paid in the following way:

If the shareholder knows the value of every share as opposed to the assets owned by the company, he may pay Zakah according to this value. But if he does not know, it is sufficient for him to simply add the earnings of his shares to the total sum of his wealth countable for Zakah and pay a rate of 2.5% when a full year passes since the wealth has reached the minimum amount counted for Zakah.

10. What is the legal judgment concerning Zakat Al-Fitr [Fast-Breaking Zakah]?

Is it obligatory to be paid on behalf of one's children and servants?

Zakat Al-Fitr is incumbent on every Muslim, whether young or old, male or female. This is confirmed by Ibn `Umar's narration: ''Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) stated that Zakat Al-Fitr is to be paid as a Sa` of date or barely by every Muslim whether slave or free, male or female, young or old.'' It is to be paid on behalf of one's self, wife and all those he supports, including his parents. However, one is not obliged to pay Zakat Al-Fitr on behalf of his servants unless he chooses to do so, and after taking their permission. Also, he is not obliged to pay Zakat Al-Fitr on behalf of his child who has not yet been born before sunset of the last day of Ramadan.

11. What is the amount of Zakat Al-Fitr?

The amount of Zakat Al-Fitr is a Sa` of rice, or other foodstuffs like wheat, dates, corn, flour, powdered milk, cheese or meats, whether canned or not.

Note: The Sa` is a measure that equals approximately 2.5 kgs of rice, taking into account that grains may vary according to their density.

12. Can we pay Zakat Al-Fitr in cash? If yes, how much?

Some scholars maintain that it is permissible to pay Zakat Al-Fitr in cash according to its value in kind. This view is made to make it easy for people to pay Zakah.

However, it should be noted that estimating Zakat Al-Fitr by a fixed amount of money is not valid, since food prices may differ from one year to another and from one country to another.

13. When is Zakat Al-Fitr due? Can it be distributed during the early days of Ramadan?

Zakat Al-Fitr falls due upon the sunset of the last day of Ramadan, since it is levied as a means of purification for one who observes the Fast. As the Fast ends with the sunset of the last day of Ramadan, Zakat Al-Fitr falls due. According to the Sunna, Zakat Al-Fitr should be given before the `Id Prayer. This is confirmed by Ibn `Umar's narration: ''The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered that Zakat Al-Fitr be given before the people go to perform the `Id Prayer.'' However it is permissible to be given during the early days of Ramadan, especially when it is delivered to charitable organizations. This facilitates the process of distributing the Zakah among worthy recipients at the proper time.

14. What should a Muslim do in case he forgets to pay Zakat Al-Fitr before the `Id Prayer?

It is not recommended to delay ZakaAl-Fitr until after the `Id Prayer. The prime purpose of giving Zakat Al-Fitr is to meet the needs of the poor during the `Id day. The delay will stand against fulfilling this end. This is confirmed by Ibn `Abbas' Hadith in which he maintained: ''Zakat Al-Fitr was ordained by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as a means of purification from idle talk in which the observer of Fast had indulged while fasting. It is a kind of charity.''

However, there is no sin paying it after Prayer, but not after sunset. Delaying it after sunset incurs sin, and it remains obligatory to be paid.

15. Is it permissible to transfer Zakat Al-Fitr from one's country to another?

Zakat Al-Fitr can be transferred to a country other than that in which the payer of Zakah is staying depending on the priority of need or due to surplus. Otherwise, it should be distributed within one's country. This is confirmed by the Prophet's Hadith in which he maintained: ''It (Zakat Al-Fitr) is to be taken from the rich among them and handed over to the poor (among them).

16. How can a Muslim estimate the amount of Zakah payable on his salary, or on his profit from businesses, gifts or other means of income?

A Fatwa was issued at the First Conference on Zakah held in Kuwait to the effect that: The worker's wages, employees' salaries, earnings from other professions such as physicians and engineers, and the like, are all considered income gained from one's work. The majority of the conference participants observed that such a gain is not counted for Zakah when first received. However, if there are savings from it, it should be added to other properties counted for Zakah. Then, Zakah is to be paid at the end of a full year. The full year is to be considered from the time the wealth reaches the minimum amount countable for Zakah. On the other hand, any savings attained from one's work are to be added to the total amount of wealth, even though they have not remained in the possession of the owner for a full year.

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