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NISAAB – Quorum of Zakāt

Aggregation

Zakāt is payable on a herd of 40-120 goats (see livestock). But three people collectively owning 120 goats cannot offer one goat. Nor can an assessor of Zakāt aggregate the combined wealth of two brothers to take them above one threshold. But in aggregating currency notes or coins, all of them should be added to establish the threshold. Where wealth is jointly owned and cannot be separated to individual participators, it will be aggregated and treated as if it belonged to one entity, but where there are partners and their assets can be allocated per partner, they will be treated as separate individuals. On these aspects, there exists dispute among various schools of jurisprudence, but the correct principle is that assets should not be aggregated to avoid Zakāt nor should an assessor of Zakāt aggregate or treat as separate joint wealth to extract more Zakāt than may actually be due.

Agriculture

  1. No Zakāt is payable on produce obtained from the land on which tax is payable to the government.
  2. Zakāt becomes due on produce only when the crop is harvested and gathered. This is an important distinction because on all other kinds of wealth, Zakāt becomes due only when a Muslim has had its possession for one full lunar calendar year, whereas with crops it becomes payable immediately on harvest. This is because in the subsequent year, the wealth obtained for the previous year may have been spent and the current year may be open to uncertainties of weather and current market prices. Similarly, with crop rotation, at each harvest, even if occurring more than once a year, Zakāt is payable each time.
  3. Produce from arable land nourished through natural rainfall is assessable at one-tenth of the total open market value obtained for the crop harvested. The first ton by Iraqi standard or two-thirds of a ton by Hejaz standard is exempt from Zakāt.
  4. Where produce from the land is obtained by other means of irrigation, e.g. canals or other artificial means, then only one- twentieth (5%) is payable as Zakāt on the crop harvested. The reason for this distinction is that labor would have been expounded in providing irrigation and renumeration needs to be reserved for that purpose.

Coins

  1. Once Zakāt has been paid on something there is no harm in keeping that wealth (Bukhari, Ch. 4 on Zakāt). Zakāt is not payable on borrowed funds.
  2. During the Holy Prophet’s time, and even today, the principal unit of currency was silver, though present method of minting coins has lessened the silver content in coins. Zakāt becomes payable on the pure silver content after the first five units (620 grams of silver, or 200 Dirhams, or 52.5 tolas) and thus the rate applicable to gold is the equivalent of gold that can be purchased for the stipulated minimum amount of silver. Similarly, coins of all metals are assessable exactly as silver at 2.5% after the first minimum for silver equivalent.
  3. Where a person has had coins, or a set of coins, at more than one place and they have remained there for more than one year, they must all be accounted in the assessment of Zakāt, no matter where situated. (The same rule applies to livestock, etc., and to the minimum threshold assessment of whatever source.)
  4. The hoarding of units of currency which should circulate freely deprives the poor who have a right to the total wealth (see: Warning for those who do not pay Zakāt).
  5. God Almighty does not accept Zakāt on money which has been obtained by theft, deceit, fraud or bribery, nor does the payment of Zakāt from such sources render it pure. The Promised Messiah states:

    ‘Some people pay Zakāt but are not mindful of the fact whether their earning has been acquired lawfully or illegally. Remember, if a person slaughters a dog in the name of Allah and though he pronounces His name on it or Slaughters a swine with similar rites, could that dog or swine be reckoned to be Halal? It indeed shall remain forbidden. ZAKAT originates from TAZKIA as a result of which wealth is purified so that a human being may earn his livelihood from pure and lawful means and may spend in the cause of faith. It is owing to such mistakes that they fail to grasp the truth. One must refrain wholly from such notions. The pillars of Islam are means of our salvation but as a result of such errors people stray from the right path.’

  6. On currency notes of whatever denomination, Zakāt is similarly payable by establishing their value against an exchange of the silver price. This is because such notes are merely the modern bearer currency unit of the former silver or gold standard which over recent years has been abandoned for floating rates of exchange yet bear some relationship to the gold (perhaps subject to greater fluctuation) and silver prices. The same rule applies to coins of other metals, foreign currency, bills of exchange and other negotiable instruments. With monetarism replacing other methods of controlling economy, governments invariably try to control money supply to maintain exchange parities though the interplay of interest rate (interest is totally forbidden in Islam) is a factor that cannot be ignored by world economists. All such factors affect the current value of monetary items and it is on that value, above the minimum threshold, that Zakāt becomes payable.

Exclusions

Any form of capital or income which is difficult to account or be assessed is not liable to Zakāt. But rents received from real estate, other accountable trading profits from buses, etc., or bank accounts, or livestock or crops, or gold and silver, or royalties from mineral rights can all be readily accounted and are assessable. But sundry income which cannot be accounted, or accommodation for one’s own use, or chattels in constant use, e.g. clothing, soft furnishing or values of factories, etc., are excluded from assessment.

Gold

  1. See notes on silver for establishing value. The minimum standard (threshold) above which Zakāt is payable is, at current rates, about 87 grams of gold, above which Zakāt becomes payable at 2.5% (or one-fortieth) on the pure gold content.
  2. Gold and silver, or indeed any other ornaments, e.g. precious stones, etc., in constant use (i.e. are regularly worn ) or which have been lent for use by the poor, are excluded from the assessment of Zakāt. But gold and silver, etc., kept locked up in a jewelry or safe-deposit box for a year or more are assessable as Zakāt. Nonetheless, this distinction should not be exploited as a loophole and Zakāt should not be evaded merely on the pretext of casual usage because God well knows what a Muslim’s intentions are.

Livestock

Camels

  1. No Zakat is payable on a herd of less than 5 camels.
  2. Between 5 – 9 camels-Zakāt is one goat.
    Between 10 – 14 camels-Zakāt is two goats.
    Between 15 – 19 camels-Zakāt is three goats.
    Between 20 – 24 camels-Zakāt is four goats.
    Between 25 – 35 camels-Zakāt is one camel (one year old).
    Between 36 – 45 camels-Zakāt is one camel (2 years old).
    Between 46 – 60 camels-Zakāt is one camel (3 years old).
    Between 61 – 75 camels-Zakāt is one camel (4 years old).
    Between 76 – 90 camels-Zakāt is two camels (2 years old).
    Between 91 – 120 camels-Zakāt is two camels (3 years old).
    For each 40 above that – one camel 2 years old.
    And for each 50 above that – one camel3 years old, etc.

Goats and Sheep

  1. One goat or sheep is to be surrendered as Zakāt from a flock of 40 (minimum) to 120 animals.
  2. In offering animals as Zakāt, an old or lame animal should not be surrendered. An assessor of Zakāt should neither obtain the healthiest specimen if the flock is generally old or poor in quality.
  3. Some schools of jurisprudence have devised tables for assessment, but these are not universally accepted by other schools.

Cattle

One calf is to be surrendered for every thirty heads of cattle.

Horses

Only the profit obtained from the purchase and sale of horses in trade is assessable to Zakāt at 2.5% of the profit made. The reason for this distinction is that whereas other livestock animals provide meat and hides for skins, a stable of horses is not used as an investment for these purposes.

Mineral Resources

The income arising from what the earth yields belongs to the entire community. Thus a higher rate is fixed for these. Zakāt is levied at 20% (one-fifth) of the net income from mines, excavated treasures, inclusive of royalties obtained therefrom. Despite the high cost of extraction, the profit arising from such ventures should rightly belong in part to the rest of the community with the balance belonging to the entrepreneur who undertook the risk. This includes oil revenues, whether obtained from the land or sea-bed and all other mineral resources, e.g. gold, silver, diamonds. Cut diamonds and smelted gold, etc., then if possessed and held for more than a year in the hands of an individual is also assessable to Zakāt at 2.5% (see earlier section).

Rents

Rents received from property not owner-occupied or part sub-let and commercial rents, licence fees, etc., are also assessable to Zakāt at 2.5 %.

Stock-in-trade

Stock-in-trade which has remained in the owner’s possession for more than one year is also similarly assessable at 2.5%. If such stock appreciates in value because of inflation, the current market price would be paid on it and where it depletes or becomes obsolete, the estimated realizable value of that stock would be assessable to Zakāt.

Settlement

If the form of wealth on which Islamic law imposes Zakāt is no longer available or by separating that part of Zakāt from it undue loss would arise from that wealth or cannot be conveyed from one place to another, then Zakāt may be paid to an equivalent amount from other source or object or in the form of cash.