THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.1


THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.1


In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.


رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): إذا أرَدتَ أن يُثرِيَ اللّه‏ُ مالَكَ فَزَكِّهِ

The Prophet (saw) said, ‘If you want God to enrich your wealth then give the alms-tax from it.’

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 96, p. 23, no. 54]


Introduction

1. What is it obligatory to pay Zakat on?

Answer: It is obligatory to pay Zakat on the following things:

  1. Wheat
  1. Barley
  1. Dates
  1. Raisins
  1. Gold
  1. Silver
  1. Camel
  1. Cow
  1. Sheep (including goat)
  1. As an obligatory precaution, upon the wealth in business
  1. On the basis of obligatory precaution, Zakat should be paid on Sult, which is a soft, grain like wheat with the property of barley and on ‘alas, which is like wheat, and is the food of the people of Sana’a (Yemen).

And if a person is the owner of any of these eleven things he should, in accordance with the conditions which will be mentioned later, put their fixed quantity to one of the uses as prescribed.


2. When will the payment of Zakat become obligatory?

Answer: Payment of Zakat becomes obligatory only when the property reaches the prescribed taxable limit, and if the owner of the property is a free person.


3. If a person remains the owner of cow, sheep, camel, gold and silver for 11 months, when does the payment of Zakat become obligatory for him and when should he calculate the beginning of the new year?

Answer: If a person remains the owner of cow, sheep, camel, gold and silver for 11 months, the payment of Zakat becomes obligatory for him from the first of the 11th month; but he should calculate the beginning of the new year after the end of the 12th month.

If the owner of cow, sheep, camel gold and silver becomes adult during the year for example, if a child becomes the owner of 40 sheep in the 1st of Moharram and attains the age of puberty after two months, he is not liable to pay Zakat after the expiry of 11 months from the 1st of Moharram. On the other hand, payment of Zakat becomes obligatory for him after expiry of 11 months from the time he attained the age of puberty.


4. Does a person have to be sane and adult to pay Zakat?

Answer: The liability of Zakat on gold, silver and merchandise is conditional to its owner being sane and Baligh. But in the case of wheat, barley, raisins, camel, cow and sheep, being sane and Baligh is not a prerequisite.


Zakat on wheat, barley, raisins and dates

5. When does it become obligatory to pay Zakat on wheat, barley, raisins and dates?

Answer: Payment of Zakat on wheat and barley becomes obligatory when they are recognised as wheat and barley.

And Zakat on raisins becomes obligatory when they call them grapes.

And Zakat on dates becomes obligatory when Arabs call it Tamar.

However, the time for determining the taxable limit, and payment of Zakat on wheat and barley is when they are threshed, and grains are separated from chaff; and the time for payment of Zakat on raisins and dates is when they are plucked. This is also known as the time of drying up.


6. If the goods of Zakat are not with the person or his agent (wakīl) – for example, they have been usurped – is it then obligatory on the person to pay the zakat?

Answer: For zakat to be liable on wheat, barley, raisins, and dates – as defined in the previous ruling – it is not a requirement that they be at the owner’s disposal. Therefore, if the goods are not with him or his agent (wakīl) – for example, they have been usurped – then it is obligatory on him to pay the zakat that is liable on them whenever he gets them back.


7. Is Zakat obligatory upon an owner, if the owner remained insane, intoxicated or unconscious throughout a year, or part of it?

Answer: If the owner of cow, sheep, camel, gold and silver remains insane throughout the year or during a part of the year, it is not obligatory for him to pay Zakat.

But If the owner of cow, sheep, camel, gold and silver remains intoxicated or unconscious during a part of the year, he is not excused from the payment of Zakat, and the position is the same if at the time of Zakat becoming wajib on wheat, barley, palm-dates and raisins, whether he is intoxicated or unconscious.


8. Is Zakat obligatory on a person if some property is usurped from him?

Answer: It is a condition for zakat to be liable on things other than wheat, barley, dates, and raisins, that the owner be able to have disposal over them legally and actually. Therefore, if for a significant period during the year someone usurps them [and so he cannot actually have disposal over them], or if the owner is legally forbidden to have disposal over them, then there is no zakat to pay.


9. Does a person have to pay Zakat if he borrows gold, silver or any other thing which it is obligatory to pay Zakat, if it remains with him for a year?

Answer: If a person borrows gold or silver or any other thing on which it is obligatory to pay zakat and it remains with him for a year, he must pay zakat on it and the lender is not liable. However, if the lender pays zakat on it, then the borrower is exempt from paying it.


10. How much should wheat, barley, dates and raisins weigh, for Zakat to become obligatory on them?

Answer: Zakat on wheat, barley, dates and raisins becomes obligatory when their quantity reaches the taxable limit which is 300 saa’ and it is said that it equals 847 kg.


11. If before paying zakat that is due on grapes, dates, wheat, and barley, a person and members of his family consume them, or, for example, he gives them to a poor person (faqīr) without the intention of paying zakat, Does he have to pay zakat on the quantity that was consumed or given?

Answer: If before paying zakat that is due on grapes, dates, wheat, and barley, a person and members of his family consume them, or, for example, he gives them to a poor person (faqīr) without the intention of paying zakat, he must also pay zakat on the quantity that was consumed or given.


12. What happens to the Zakat if the owner dies?

Answer: If the owner of wheat, barley, dates and grapes dies after Zakat on it has become obligatory, that quantity of Zakat should be paid from of his estate.

However, if he dies before Zakat becomes obligatory, each one of his heirs, whose share reaches the taxable limit, should pay Zakat from his own share.


13. If a person, who has been appointed by the Mujtahid to collect Zakat, can he demand it at the time of harvest when wheat and barley are threshed and chaff is separated from grains, and when the dates and grapes become dry?

Answer: A person, who has been appointed by the Mujtahid to collect Zakat, can demand it at the time of harvest when wheat and barley are threshed and chaff is separated from grains, and when the dates and grapes become dry. And if the owner of these items does not give Zakat, and they perish, the owner should compensate for it.


14. If payment of Zakat becomes obligatory on date tree and grapes or the crop of wheat and barley after one becomes its owner, should the owner pay Zakat on them?

Answer: If payment of Zakat becomes obligatory on date tree and grapes or the crop of wheat and barley after one becomes its owner, one should pay Zakat on them.


15. If a person sells the crop and trees after Zakat on wheat, barley, palm-dates and grapes becomes obligatory, should the seller pay the Zakat on them?

Answer: If a person sells the crop and trees after Zakat on wheat, barley, palm-dates and grapes becomes obligatory, the seller should pay the Zakat on them, and if he pays, it will not be obligatory on the buyer to pay anything.

If a person purchases wheat or barley or dates or grapes and knows that the seller has paid Zakat on them, or doubts whether or not he has paid it, it is not obligatory on him (i.e. the buyer) to pay anything. But if he knows that he (the seller) has not paid Zakat on them, he should pay Zakat himself. But if the seller cheats him by telling him that he has not paid Zakat, he can reclaim from the seller the Zakat, if he has paid it.


16. If the weight of wheat, barley, dates and grapes is about 847 kilogrammes when they are wet, and reduces when they become dry, is it then obligatory to pay Zakat on it?

Answer: If the weight of wheat, barley, dates and grapes is about 847 kilogrammes when they are wet, and reduces when they become dry, payment of Zakat on it is not obligatory.


17. If a person consumes wheat, barley, palm-dates and raisins before they are dry, and they would have reached the taxable limit if they had dried up, should he pay Zakat on them?

Answer: If a person consumes wheat, barley, palm-dates and raisins before they are dry, and they would have reached the taxable limit if they had dried up, he should pay Zakat on them.


18. What kind of dates does a person have to pay zakat on?

Answer: There are three kinds of dates:

(1) Those which are dried up. Rules regarding the Zakat payable on them have already been explained above.

(2) Those which are eaten when they are ripe.

(3) Those which are eaten before they are ripened.

As for the second kind, if its weight comes to 847 kilogrammes after having dried up, Zakat on it becomes obligatory as a recommended precaution. And as for the third kind, Zakat on it is not obligatory.


19. Does a person have to pay Zakat again on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins if they remain with him for some years?

Answer: Wheat, barley, dates, and raisins on which zakat has been paid are not liable for zakat again even if they remain with a person for some years.


20. What percentage of Zakat should a person pay on wheat, barley, dates and grapes?

Answer:

(1) If wheat, barley, dates and grapes are watered with rain or river, or if they benefit from the moisture of the land, like in the case of Egyptian crops, the Zakat payable on them is 10% and if they are watered with buckets etc. the Zakat payable on them is 5%.

(2) If wheat, barley, dates and grapes are watered with both rain water as well as water supplied with buckets etc. and if it is commonly said that they have been irrigated with bucket water etc. the Zakat payable on them is 5% and if it is said that they have been irrigated with river and rain water, the Zakat payable on them is 10%; and if it is commonly said that they have been irrigated jointly with both, the Zakat payable on them is 7.5%.

(3) If a person doubts about the common impression, not able to determine whether the crop was watered by rain alone, or by rain and buckets together, it will be sufficient for him to pay 7.5% Zakat.

(4) If a person doubts and does not know whether it will be customarily held that the land was irrigated both ways, or that it has been watered with buckets etc. it will be sufficient for him to pay 5%. And the position will be the same if the common opinion would probably be that it was irrigated with rainwater.

(5) If wheat, barley, dates and grapes are irrigated with rain and canal water and, although they did not need bucket water, yet it was also supplied, with no helpful result for the crop, the Zakat on them is 10%.

(6) And if they are watered with bucket water, without having any need of canal and rainwater, but are also supplied with canal and rainwater without being helpful to the crop, the Zakat on them is 5%.

(7) If a crop is watered with bucket etc. and in the adjoining land he raises a crop which benefits from the moisture of that land (which is irrigated with bucket water etc.) and does not need extra watering, the Zakat of the crop which is watered with bucket is 5% and the Zakat of the crop in the adjoining land, as a precaution is 10%.


21. Can a person deduct the expenses incurred by him on the production of wheat, barley, dates and grapes from the income obtained from them, in order to determine the minimum taxable limit?

Answer: A person cannot deduct the expenses incurred by him on the production of wheat, barley, dates and grapes from the income obtained from them, in order to determine the minimum taxable limit. Hence if the weight of any one of them, before calculating the expenses, was about 847 kilogrammes, he should pay Zakat on it.

Explanation by Shaykh Nami Farhat: It means that you must pay zakat on the weight of barley when you first take it out and not later after cleaning it.

When it first comes out, it has leaves, and when calculated, it will weight more than when its only seeds.


22. If a person who has used seeds for farming, whether he owned them, or he bought them, can he deduct their value from the total harvest for calculating the minimum taxable limit?

Answer: A person who has used seeds for farming, whether he owned them, or he bought them, cannot deduct their value from the total harvest for calculating the minimum taxable limit. Rather, he should calculate the taxable limit taking into account the entire crop (proceeds).


23. Is it obligatory to pay Zakat on what government takes away from the goods or wealth itself?

Answer: It is not obligatory to pay Zakat on what government takes away from the goods or wealth itself. For example, if the harvest is 2000 kilogrammes, and government takes 50 kilogrammes from it as taxation, it is obligatory to pay zakat on 1950 kilogrammes only.


24. Can a person deduct the expenses that he incurs before or after zakat has become due from the produce and pay zakat on only what remains?

Answer: Based on obligatory precaution, a person cannot deduct the expenses that he incurs before or after zakat has become due from the produce and pay zakat on only what remains.


25. Can a person deduct the expenses from the amount of the Zakat liable on him, after Zakat becomes obligatory?

Answer: As for the expenses incurred after Zakat becomes obligatory, a person cannot deduct them from the amount of the Zakat liable on him, even if, as a precaution, he may have sought permission from the Mujtahid or his Wakil.


26. Is it obligatory to wait until the wheat and barley are ready for threshing, or until grapes and dates become dry, and then pay zakat?

Answer: It is not obligatory to wait until wheat and barley is ready for threshing, or until grapes and dates become dry, and then pay zakat; rather, once zakat becomes obligatory, it is permitted (jāʾiz) to calculate the value of zakat and give the value of it with the intention of zakat.


27. After Zakat becomes payable, can a person handover the standing crops, or dates or grapes, before their being harvested or picked, to the deserving poor, or to the Mujtahid or his Wakil?

Answer: After Zakat becomes payable, a person can handover the standing crops, or dates or grapes, before their being harvested or picked, to the deserving poor, or to the Mujtahid or his Wakil, on the basis of joint ownership, and thereafter they shall also bear the expenses.

When a person handovers Zakat of crops or dates or grapes in their essential forms to the Mujtahid or his Wakil, or to the deserving poor person, it is not necessary for him to look after it by way of joint ownership for free; rather, he can charge rent for it staying on his land until the time of their harvest or until they have become dry.


28. How should a person pay zakat if a person owns wheat, barley, dates and grapes in various cities?

Answer: If a person owns wheat, barley, dates and grapes in various cities, where the time of ripening of crops and fruits differ from one another, and they are not all received at one time, if all of them are considered to be the harvest of one and the same year, and if the thing which ripens first reaches the taxable limit i.e. 847 kilogrammes (approx), he should pay Zakat on it at the time of its ripening and should pay Zakat on the remaining crops when they are received .

But if the crop which is ready first, does not reach the minimum taxable limit, he should wait till other crops are ready. If they totally reach the taxable limit, Zakat on them will be obligatory, otherwise Zakat will not be obligatory on them.


29. Does a person have to pay Zakat on fruits that grow from date tree and vine?

Answer: If a date tree or vine bears fruit twice in a year, and when combined they reach the minimum taxable limit, it is obligatory as a precaution, to pay its Zakat.


30. If a person possesses a quantity of fresh dates or grapes that would reach the taxable limit if they were dry, can this person give these fresh dates or grapes in Zakat?

Answer: If a person possesses a quantity of fresh dates or grapes that would reach the taxable limit if they were dry, there is no problem if he gives – with the intention zakat – an amount of the fresh dates or grapes that were they to be dry they would equal the amount of zakat obligatory on him.

But If it is already obligatory on a person to pay Zakat on dry dates or raisins, he cannot replace it with fresh, green dates or grapes. And, if he calculates the value of Zakat and gives green grapes or dates or other dry raisins or dates against that value, it is a matter of Ishkal.

Also, if it is obligatory on a person to pay Zakat on green dates or grapes, he cannot pay it with dry dates or raisins, And, if after calculating the value of Zakat, he pays it from other dates or grapes, it will be a matter of Ishkal even if the other dates and grapes were green and fresh.


31. How should Zakat be paid, if a person dies with a debt and has a property on which Zakat has become due?

Answer:

(1) If a person dies with a debt and has a property on which Zakat has become due, it is necessary that, in the first instance, the entire Zakat should be paid out from that property, and thereafter pay his debt.

(2) If a person, who is a debtor and also possesses wheat, barley, palm-dates or grapes, dies, and, before payment of Zakat on these things becomes obligatory, his heirs pay his, debt out of some other property, the heir, whose share comes to 847 kilograms (approx.) should pay Zakat.

(3) And if the debt of the deceased is not paid before payment of Zakat on these things becomes obligatory; and if his property just equals his debt, it is not obligatory for the heirs to pay Zakat on these things.

(4) And if the property of the deceased is more than his debt, it is necessary that the thing, on which payment of Zakat is obligatory, should be taken into consideration in proportion to the entire property, and Zakat should be received from the property, on which Zakat is payable, in the same proportion. Thereafter it is obligatory on those heirs, whose share reaches the taxable limit, to pay Zakat.


32. How should a person pay zakat, if the wheat, barley, dates and raisins on which Zakat has become obligatory, are of good quality and inferior quality?

Answer: If wheat, barley, dates and raisins on which Zakat has become obligatory, are of good quality and inferior quality, the obligatory precaution is that Zakat for each of the two categories should be given separately from its respective type.


Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (saw) and His Progeny (as)


| Ayatollah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani and Amir Zabidi


Further reading


https://www.al-islam.org/mizan-al-hikmah-scale-wisdom/alms-tax-zakat

https://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2281/

https://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2282/

https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-laws-ayatullah-abul-qasim-al-khui/zakat

https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-laws-ayatullah-ali-al-husayni-al-sistani/zakat-part-i-ii


THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.1

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