THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.2
In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): حَصِّنُوا أموالَكُم بالزَّكاةِ
Imam Ali (as) said, ‘Strengthen your capital by paying the alms-tax.’
[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 60, no. 138]
Zakat on Gold and Silver
1. What is the Minimum Taxable Limit of Gold?
Answer: There are two taxable limits of gold: The first limit is 20 mithqals (Sharee’), 1 mithqal being equal to 3.456 gms. Hence when the quantity of gold reaches 20 mithqals and other requisite conditions are also fulfilled, one should pay 1/40th part of it (2.5%), which is equal to 1.728 gms, as Zakat. And if the quantity of gold does not reach this limit, it is not obligatory to pay Zakat on it.
The second taxable limit of gold is applicable when gold, in addition to 20 mithqal sharee’ is further increased. If an additional of 4 mithqal sharee’ takes place to 20 sharee’ mithqals, one should pay Zakat on the total quantity at the rate of 2.5%. And if the addition is less than 4 sharee’ mithqals, Zakat will be payable on 20 sharee’ mithqals only; and it will not be obligatory to pay it on the additional quantity. The same rule applies as and when ongoing additions take place in the quantity of gold, like, if a further increase of 4 mithqals takes place, Zakat should be paid on the entire quantity, and if the increase is less than that, no Zakat will be payable.
2. What is the Minimum Taxable Limit of Silver?
Answer: There are two minimum taxable limits for silver: The first is 105 ordinary mithqals, equal to 483.88 gms. Therefore, when the quantity of silver reaches that limit, and other necessary conditions are also fulfilled one should pay 2.5% of it as Zakat. And if the quantity of silver does not reach the aforesaid limit, it is not obligatory to pay Zakat on it.
The second limit of silver is when there is an addition of 21 mithqals, that is, if an addition of 21 mithqals takes place to 105 mithqals, the Zakat should be paid on 126 mithqals. If the addition is less than 21 mithqals he should pay Zakat on 105 mithqals only, and no Zakat is payable on the additional quantity. The same rule applies as and when ongoing additions take place in the quantity of silver, like, if 21 mithqals are further added , he should pay Zakat on the entire quantity and if the addition is less than that the quantity which has been added and is less than 21 mithqals, he is not liable to any Zakat. Thus, if a person gives 1/40 of all the gold or silver, he possesses, he will have paid the obligatory Zakat, and sometimes even more than that. For example, if a person has 110 mithqals of silver and gives 2.5% of that, he will have paid Zakat on 105 mithqals which was obligatory, and also sometimes on 5 mithqals which was not obligatory.
3. Should a person who possesses gold or silver, which has reached the taxable limit, pay Zakat every year?
Answer: If a person possesses gold or silver which has reached the taxable limit, and even if he has paid Zakat on it, he should continue to pay Zakat on it every year, as long as it does not reduce from the minimum limit.
4. When is it obligatory to pay Zakat on gold and silver?
(1) As stated earlier, Zakat on gold and silver becomes obligatory only when its taxable quantity is owned by a person for 11 months continuously. If, therefore, the quantity falls below the taxable limit at any time during the period of 11 months, it is not obligatory for him to pay Zakat on them.
(2) Zakat on gold and silver becomes obligatory only when they are made into coins and are in currency for transactions. Zakat should, however, be paid on them even if their stamp has been effaced.
5. Is it obligatory to pay Zakat on coined gold and silver worn by women as ornaments?
Answer: It is obligatory, as a precaution, to pay Zakat on coined gold and silver worn by women as ornaments, as long as such coins are legal tenders, that is, transactions are made with them as gold and silver currency. It is not, obligatory to pay Zakat on them if they have ceased to be legal tenders.
6. Is it obligatory to pay Zakat on gold and silver, if during the period of 11 months, a person who possesses gold and silver exchanges them for something else, or melts them?
(1) If during the period of 11 months, a person who possesses gold and silver exchanges them for something else, or melts them, it is not obligatory for him to pay Zakat on them. However, if he changes them from coins to plain gold or silver, to avoid payment of Zakat, the obligatory precaution is that he should pay Zakat.
(2) If a person melts gold and silver coins in the 12th month, he should pay Zakat on them, and if their weight or value is reduced because of melting, he should pay Zakat which was obligatory on those coins before they were melted.
7. How should a person pay Zakat, if gold and silver possessed by a person is partly of superior quality and partly of inferior quality?
Answer: If gold and silver possessed by a person is partly of superior quality and partly of inferior quality, he can pay Zakat of each from its respective quality. But, as a precaution, he should not pay entire Zakat based on the inferior quality. In fact, it is better that he should give the entire Zakat based on the gold and silver of superior quality.
8. How should Zakat be paid when it comes to alloy?
(1) If gold and silver coins have more than usual quantity of alloy, but if they are still known as gold and silver coins, payment of Zakat on them is obligatory if they have reached the taxable limit, although in their pure form they may not reach the taxable limit. But, if they are not called gold and silver coins, liability of Zakat on them is a matter of Ishkal, even if in their pure form they may reach the taxable limit.
(2) If a person owns gold or silver coins that are mixed with a usual amount of alloy, there is no problem if he pays zakat on them in gold and silver coins that contain more than the usual amount of alloy in them, or in coins that are not of gold or silver. However, in such a case, the value of the coins he pays in must be equal to the value of the zakat that is obligatory on him.
Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (saw) and His Holy Progeny (as)
| Ayatollah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani and Amir Zabidi
THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.2