THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.3

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THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.3


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


الإمامُ الحسنُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): ما نَقَصَتْ زكاةٌ مِن مالٍ قَطُّ

Imam Al-Hasan (as) said, ‘The giving of the alms-tax never diminishes wealth.’

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 96, p. 23, no. 56]


1. What are the requirements/conditions for paying Zakat on camels, cows, sheep and goats?

Answer:  For Zakat on camels, cows and sheep (including goats) there are two additional conditions, besides the other usual conditions:

  • The animal should have grazed in the jungle or open fields for one year. If it is fed with cut or plucked grass, or if it has grazed in the farm owned by its owner, or somebody else, there is no Zakat on it, except when it was only a matter of a day or two during which the animal fed itself with the grass from its master’s farm.

  • As a matter of precaution, it is not a condition that the camel, cow or small cattle should not have worked during the whole year. In fact, Zakat on them will be obligatory, if they are used for irrigation and ploughing the land.

2. Will Zakat become obligatory, if a person buys or rents for his camels, cows, and sheep, a pastureland which has not been cultivated by anyone?

Answer: If a person buys or rents for his camels, cows, and sheep, pastureland which has not been cultivated by anyone, the obligatory precaution is that zakat must be given. And if he pays tax for grazing his animals there, he must pay zakat.


3. What is the minimum taxable limit of camels?


Answer: Camel has 12 taxable limits:

(1) 5 camels: and the Zakat on them is one sheep. As long as the number of camels does not reach five, no Zakat is payable on them.

(2) 10 camels: and the Zakat on them is 2 sheep.

(3) 15 camels: and the Zakat on them is 3 sheep.

(4) 20 camels: and the Zakat on them is 4 sheep.

(5) 25 camels: and the Zakat on them is 5 sheep.

(6) 26 camels: and the Zakat on them is a camel which has entered the 2nd year of its life.

(7) 36 camels: and the Zakat on them is a camel which has entered the 3rd year of its life.

(8) 46 camels: and the Zakat on them is a camel which has entered the 4th year of its life.

(9) 61 camels: and the Zakat on them is a camel which has entered the 5th year of its life.

(10) 76 camels: and the Zakat on them is 2 camels which have entered the 3rd year of their life.

(11) 91 camels: and the Zakat on them is 2 camels which have entered the 4th year of their life.

(12) 121 camels and above: In this case, the person concerned should either calculate the camels on group of 40 each, and give for each set of 40 camels a camel, which has entered the third year of its life; or calculate them on groups of 50 each and give as Zakat, for every 50 camels, a camel which has entered the 4th year of its life, or he may calculate them in the groups of forty and fifty. However, in every case he should calculate in such a way that there should be no balance, and even if there is a balance, it should not exceed nine. For example, if he has 140 camels he should give for 100 camels, two such camels as have entered the fourth year of their life, and for the remaining forty camels, he should pay one camel which has entered the third year of its life.

Camels that are given as zakat must be female. However, if in the sixth taxable limit (26 camels) one does not own a female camel that is in its second year, it is sufficient to give a male camel in its third year. And if a person does not own one of these either, he has a choice in what he purchases [i.e. he can purchase either a female camel that is in its second year, or a male camel that is in its third year, and give that as the zakat].


4. Is it obligatory to pay Zakat on the number of camels between two taxable limits?

Answer: Paying zakat is not obligatory on the number of camels between two taxable limits. Therefore, if the number of camels with a person exceeds the first taxable limit, which is 5 camels, but does not reach the second taxable limit which is 10 camels, he should pay Zakat on only 5 of them, and the same way with the succeeding taxable limits.


5. What is the minimum taxable limit of cows?

Answer:  Cow has two taxable limits. Its first taxable limit is 30. If the number of cows owned by a person reaches 30, he should give by way of Zakat a calf which has entered the 2nd year of its life; and the obligatory precaution is that the calf should be a male.

And its second taxable limit: is 40, and its Zakat is a female calf which has entered the 3rd year of its life. And it is not obligatory to pay Zakat when the number of the cows is between 30 and 40:

For example, if a person possesses 39 cows, he should pay Zakat on 30 cows only. Furthermore, if he possesses more than 40 cows but their number does not reach 60, he should pay Zakat on 40 cows only. And when their number reaches 60, which is twice as much as the first taxable limit, he should give as Zakat 2 calves, which have entered the 2nd year of their life.

And similarly, as the number of the cows increases, he should calculate either in thirties or in forties or from 30 and 40 and should pay Zakat in accordance with the rule explained above. However, he should calculate in such a way, that there should be no remainder, and in case there is a remainder, it should not exceed 9. For example, if he has 70 cows, he should calculate at the rate of 30 and 40 and should pay Zakat for 30 of them at the rate prescribed for 40 of them, because if he calculates at the rate of 30, 10 cows will be left without Zakat being paid on them.


 6. What is the minimum taxable limit of Sheep?

Answer: Sheep has 5 taxable limits:

(1) The 1st taxable limit is 40, and its Zakat is one sheep. And as long as the number of sheep does not reach 40, no Zakat is payable on them.

(2) The 2nd taxable limit is 121, and its Zakat is 2 sheep

(3) The 3rd taxable limit is 201, and its Zakat is 3 Sheep

(4) The 4th taxable limit is 301, and its Zakat is 4 Sheep

(5) The 5th taxable limit is 400 and above, and in this case, calculation should be made in hundreds, and one sheep should be given as Zakat for each group of 100 sheep. And it is not necessary that Zakat should be given from the same sheep. It will be sufficient if some other sheep are given, or money equal to the price of the sheep is given as Zakat.


And It is not obligatory to pay Zakat for the number of sheep between the two taxable limits. So, if the number of sheep exceeds the first taxable limit (which is 40), but does not each the 2nd taxable limit (which is 121), the owner should pay Zakat on 40 sheep only, and no Zakat is due on the sheep exceeding that number, and the same rule applies to the succeeding taxable limits.


7. Does it matter to the obligation of Zakat if some animals are males or females?

Answer: When the number of camels, cows and sheep reaches the taxable limit, payment of Zakat on them becomes obligatory whether all of them are males or all are females, or some of them are males and some are females.


8. Does it matter to the obligation of Zakat if the cows belong to different breeds, or whether it is an Arab or non-Arab camel?

Answer: In the matter of Zakat, cows and buffaloes are treated to be of the same class, and Arabian and non-Arabian camels are also of the same group. Similarly, for the purpose of Zakat, there is no difference between a goat, a sheep and a one-year old lamb.


9. If a person should give a sheep or goat in Zakat, how old should they be?

Answer: If a person gives a sheep as Zakat, it is necessary, as an obligatory precaution, that it should have at least entered the 2nd year of its life, and if he gives a goat it should have, on the basis of precaution, entered the 3rd year of its life.


10. Does the value of a sheep matter when a person will give a sheep in Zakat?

Answer: If a person gives a sheep as Zakat, there is no harm if its value is slightly less as compared with his other sheep. However, it is better that he should give as Zakat the sheep whose value is more than his other sheep, and the same rule applies for cows and camels.


11. How should two people pay Zakat if these two people are partners?

Answer: If some persons are partners, then the person whose share reaches the first taxable limit should pay Zakat. It is not obligatory on the person whose share does not reach the first taxable limit to pay Zakat.


12. How should a person pay Zakat, if that person has cows or camels, or sheep at various places?

Answer: If a person has cows or camels, or sheep at various places, and combined together they reach the taxable limit, he should pay Zakat on them.


13. Is it obligatory to pay Zakat on unhealthy cows, sheep and camels?

Answer: Even if the cows, sheep and camels possessed by a person are unhealthy and defective, he should pay Zakat on them.

If all cows and sheep and camels possessed by a person are unhealthy and defective, he can pay Zakat from amongst them.

However, if all of them are healthy and young and with no defect, he cannot pay the Zakat liable on them from unhealthy, defective and old ones. In fact, if some of them are healthy and others are unhealthy, and some are defective and others are without any defect, and some are old and others are young, the obligatory precaution is that he should give as Zakat those animals which are healthy, have no defect and are young.


14. Is Zakat still obligatory, if a person, before the expiry of the 11th month, changes his cows, sheep and camels with something else?

Answer: If before the expiry of the 11th month, a person changes his cows, sheep and camels with something else, or changes his taxable limit with an equivalent number of the same kind of animals – for example, if he gives 40 sheep and takes new 40 sheep – it is not obligatory on him to pay Zakat, if this was not done to avoid Zakat. But if it was done to avoid Zakat, then as an obligatory precaution, Zakat must be paid if their benefits are common, like, if he exchanges milk-giving sheep for milk-giving sheep.


15. Is it obligatory for a person to pay Zakat, if a person who must pay zakat on cows, sheep, and camels pays it from other wealth that he owns?

Answer: If a person who must pay zakat on cows, sheep, and camels pays it from other wealth that he owns, he must pay zakat on the animals every year as long as their number does not fall below the taxable limit. And if he pays in the animals themselves and their number falls below the first taxable limit, then zakat is not obligatory on him.

For example, if someone who owns 40 sheep pays zakat on them from his other wealth, then as long as the number of sheep does not fall below 40, he must give one sheep every year; and if he pays from the sheep, then zakat is not obligatory on him until the number of sheep reaches 40.


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/48/2285/

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.3

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