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2. Conditions of the Obligation of Zakah


Conditions of Zakah
Full Ownership
Growth of Wealth, Whether Real or Assumed
Reaching Nisab (Minimum Amount Liable to Zakah)
Khultah [Co-possession]
Exceeding One's Basic Needs
The Lapse of a Full Year
Forbidding Twice Payment of Zakah at the Same Year
Public wealth, endowments and charitable properties
 


Conditions of Zakah

Islamic Shari`ah laid down some conditions that must be realized to make Zakah due. These conditions were identified with the aim of granting some facilities to the owner, so that he might give Zakah willingly. Thus, Zakah achieves the noble aims for which it has been ordained. These conditions are:

Full Possession
Real or Assumed Growth
Fulfilling the Nisab (Minimum Amount Liable to Zakah)
Fulfilling One's Basic Needs
The Lapse of a Full Year
Forbidding Twice Payment of Zakah at the Same Year

Full Ownership

Full possession implies that the owner should be fully capable of disposing the property without being an object of contest by others. As Zakah is considered a kind of ownership as regards the receiver, the giver must purely own it. Thus, no Zakah is due on the property which is Dimar (that is not fully possessed, due to ignorance of its location or incapability to reach it). Some Companions are reported to have said, "Zakah is not due on a Dimar property, nor on the deferred amount of dower (as a woman cannot dispose of it) nor on the debt owed by an insolvent person." However, in case such kind of property becomes fully possessed, Zakah becomes obligatory on it for one year only, no matter how many years it remained out of reach.

Growth of Wealth, Whether Real or Assumed

Real growth of wealth is that caused by its producing offspring, or by gain realized from trade. Assumed growth implies the liability of property, such as gold, silver and currencies to increase when exploited in trade. However, no Zakah is due on properties that are not liable to real or assumed growth.‏

Reaching Nisab (Minimum Amount Liable to Zakah)

The method of estimating the Nisab (minimum amount liable to Zakah) is applicable to cash money, gold, silver, commercial commodities and cattle. According to a prophetic hadith, "Gold is not liable to Zakah unless it reaches twenty dinars. Once it reaches this amount, half a dinar must be paid as Zakah on it. Likewise, silver is not counted for Zakah unless it reaches two hundred dirhams. Once it reaches this value, an amount of five dirhams must be paid as Zakah on it." Based on this hadith the Nisab of gold counted for Zakah is twenty dinars (85 grams) of fine gold, while the Nisab of silver is two hundred dirhams (595 grams) of fine silver. The Nisab of merchandise is an amount whose value equals eighty-five grams of gold. No Zakah is due upon other kinds of property unless they reach their Nisab, which will be specified later on. Zakah becomes due upon reaching the Nisab or more than it. According to the Hanafi and Maliki juristic schools, the Nisab is calculated at the beginning and end of the year. Any decrease or insufficiency in between is overlooked. Any increase of property after reaching the Nisab during the year is to be included in the total sum counted for Zakah. This is considered the easiest and most applicable among the other juristic views, which has made the majority of scholars adopt it.

Khultah [Co-possession]

Khultah implies treating the property owned by two or more persons as that owned by only one person. This may result from the unity of type and conditions, such as the unity of pasture, watering place and enclosure if the property is sheep, or the unity of responsibilities, procedures and disposition in case of partnership. Though the concept of Khultah is often applied to Zakah on cattle, some juristic schools also applied it to other kinds of property such as crops, fruits and cash money. Thus co-properties are to be treated as a single unity making up the total sum on which Zakah is payable. For example, a flock of 45 sheep that is owned by three persons, 15 sheep each, is counted for Zakah, and one sheep is due, though treating each of the three persons individually would not reach the Nisab of 40 sheep.

Exceeding One's Basic Needs

Properties owned to meet one's basic requirements such as houses, work tools, machines for industry, means of transport, and furniture are excluded from Zakah. The same applies to the money dedicated to the repayment of debts, since the debtor is in need of this money to relieve himself from imprisonment and humiliation. This leads to a conclusion that the money kept to meet the basic requirements is exempted from Zakah.

The lapse of a full year

A property is not counted for Zakah unless after the lapse of a full lunar year right from the day it reaches the Nisab. In case the budget is linked to the solar year, the solar calendar can be applied provided that the percentage of Zakah is raised up to 2.577% instead of 2.5% so as to make up for the difference between the two calendars.

However, this condition does not apply to fruits and other crops. The criterion for giving Zakah on these two specific kinds of property is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, "Render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered." (Surah Al-An`am 6:141). In the same line the majority of scholars agreed that the lapse of a full year is not a necessity to pay Zakah on minerals and extracted treasures.

Forbidding Twice Payment of Zakah at the Same Year

Once Zakah is paid on a property, it absolves the owner, even though the property is then transferred to a type different from that on which Zakah had been paid. For example, when the crops or cattle are sold, thus transferred to cash money, this new type of property is not liable to Zakah in the same year in which Zakah is paid on the former type. This in fact leads to the repetition of paying Zakah, which is contradicted by the Prophet's hadith in which he observed, "There is no repetition of Zakah."

Public wealth, endowments and charitable properties

Zakah is not due on public wealth, since it is a common property owned by all individuals of the community, including the poor. Likewise, Zakah in not due on endowments and money dedicated to charitable purposes, such as charitable associations and funds, so long as they do not belong to a specific owner.
 

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