THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.6

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THE ISLAMIC LAW OF ZAKAT | PART.6


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


الإمامُ الرِّضا (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): إذا حُبِسَتِ الزَّكاةُ ماتَتِ المَواشِي

Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) said, ‘When the alms-tax is not paid, livestock die as a result.’

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 73, p. 373, no. 8]


Intention of Zakat

1.What intentions must a person have before giving Zakat?

Answer: A person must give zakat with the intention of qurbah, i.e. in humility to the Lord of the worlds. If he gives zakat without the intention of qurbah, it is sufficient [in the sense that he will be deemed as having given the zakat that was obligatory on him], although he will have committed a sin.

Furthermore, he must specify in his intention whether what he is giving is zakat on property or zakāt al-fiṭrah.

In fact, if, for example, zakat on wheat and barley is obligatory on him and he wants to pay a sum of money equal to the value of the zakat on them, he must specify whether he is paying zakat that is due on the wheat or on the barley.


2. Is it allowed to give Zakat in different classes and items?

Answer:  If a person becomes liable to pay Zakat on various items, and he gives a part of Zakat without making Niyyat of any of those items, if the thing which he has given is of the same class as any one of those items, it will be reckoned to be Zakat on that very commodity.

For instance, if it is obligatory on a person to pay Zakat on 40 sheep and on 15 mithqals of gold, and he gives one sheep as Zakat without any specified Niyyat of either, it will be treated to be Zakat on sheep. But if he gives some silver coins or bank notes, which does not belong to either class, as it is neither sheep nor gold, it is a matter of Ishkal and the Zakat will not be considered as paid.


3. What intentions should a person have if he appoints someone as his representative to give away the Zakat of his property?

Answer: If a person appoints someone as his representative to give away the Zakat of his property, he should, while handing over Zakat to the representative, make Niyyat that whatever his representative will later give to a poor is Zakat. And it is better that his Niyyat remains constant till Zakat reaches the poor.


4. What if a person gives Zakat without specifying his intentions?

Answer:  If a person gives Zakat to poor, or to the Mujtahid, without making the Niyyat of Qurbat, it will be accepted as Zakat, although he will have committed a sin for not having the Niyyat of Qurbat.


Miscellaneous Rules of Zakat

5. Is it allowed to delay the Zakat if a person awaits a particular poor person, or wishes to give it to a poor with some excelling virtue?

Answer: As a precaution, when wheat and barley are separated from chaff, and when dates and grapes become dry, their owner should give Zakat to poor or separate it from his wealth. Similarly, Zakat on gold, silver, cow, sheep and camel should be given to poor, or separated from one’s wealth after the expiry of eleven months. However, if he awaits a particular poor person, or wishes to give it to a poor with some excelling virtue, he may not separate the Zakat from his wealth.

And It is not necessary that after separating Zakat, a person should pay it at once to a deserving person. But, if a deserving person is accessible, then the recommended precaution is that payment of Zakat should not be delayed.


6. If a person who could deliver zakat to a deserving person did not give it, and it was lost due to his negligence, should he give its replacement?

Answer: If a person who could deliver zakat to a deserving person did not give it, and it was lost due to his negligence, he should give its replacement.


7. If a person can deliver zakat to someone entitled to receive it but does not do so and the zakat perishes due to his negligence, should he give its substitute?

Answer:  If a person who can deliver zakat to a deserving person, does not do so, and it is lost without his being careless about it, if he had a good reason for the delay, there is no obligation to make its substitute, like, if he was waiting for a particular poor person, or if he wanted to distribute over many poor people, gradually. But if he had no good reason for the delay, he should give its substitute.


8. If a person separates Zakat from that wealth on which it had become due, does he have the right of disposal over the remaining amount?

Answer: If a person separates Zakat from that wealth on which it had become due, he has the right of disposal over the remaining amount, and if he separates it from his other property, he has the discretion over the entire property.( If a person puts aside zakat from his property, he can still use the rest of his property; and if he puts aside zakat from some other property of his, he can still use his entire property)


9. When a person has separated zakat from his property, can he utilise it and replace it with other payment?

Answer: When a person has separated zakat from his property, he cannot utilise it and replace it with other payment.


10. If an ear-marked camel, cow, sheep or goat for zakat gives birth to a baby, does the baby of the animal belong to the zakat-giver or the poor person?

Answer: If some profit accrues from the Zakat which a person has set apart – for example, if a sheep which has been ear-marked for Zakat gives birth to a lamb – it belongs to the poor.


11. If one entitled to Zakat is present when a person separates zakat from his property, Is it better that he should give the zakat to him?

Answer: If one entitled to zakat is present when a person separates zakat from his property, it is better that he should give the zakat to him, except that he has a person in view who is preferable, for some reason, to receive zakat.


12. What happens to the zakat a person trades with the property set apart for zakat, without obtaining the permission of the Mujtahid?

Answer:  If a person trades with the property set apart for Zakat, without obtaining the permission of the Mujtahid, and sustains a loss, he should not deduct anything from Zakat. However, if he makes a profit, he should give it, as an obligatory precaution, to a person entitled to receive Zakat.


13. Will it be treated as zakat, if a person gives in advance to poor, with the Niyyat of zakat while it has not yet become obligatory on him?

Answer: If a person gives in advance to poor, with the Niyyat of zakat while it has not yet become obligatory on him, it cannot be treated as zakat. But after zakat becomes obligatory on him, he can calculate it as zakat, provided that the thing given is not used up, and that the poor continues to be deserving.


14. What happens to the zakat if a poor person knows that zakat has not become obligatory on someone and yet takes something from him as zakat and it perishes while it is with him?

Answer: If a poor person knows that zakat has not become obligatory on someone and yet takes something from him as zakat and it perishes while it is with him, he is responsible for it. However, when zakat becomes obligatory on the person, if the poor person has remained poor, he can count the thing that he gave him as zakat.

If a poor person does not know that zakat has not become obligatory on someone and he takes something from him as zakat and it perishes while it is with him, he is not responsible for it; and the person who gave the thing cannot count it as zakat.


15. Are there any specific individuals that should be given priority when giving Zakat?

Answer: It is recommended for one to give zakat on cows, sheep, and camels to poor persons who are respectable; and in giving zakat, he should prefer his relatives and learned and virtuous persons over others, and those who do not beg over those who beg, although, it is possible that it may be better to give zakat to a poor person for some other reason.


16. Should zakat be given openly or secretly?

Answer: It is better that Zakat is given openly, and Mustahab Sadaqah are given secretly.


17. How should a person pay zakat if he cannot find a poor person in his hometown?

Answer:   If there are no deserving persons in one’s hometown, nor can he spend it for any other purpose prescribed for Zakat, and he does not hope that he will be able to find a deserving person later, he should take Zakat to some other town, and spend it for an appropriate purpose. With the permission of the Mujtahid, he can deduct from Zakat the expenses of taking it to the other town, and he will not be responsible if it is lost., and he can take the transportation expenses from the zakat.


18. If a deserving person is available in the hometown of a person, can he take the Zakat to another town?

Answer: Even if a deserving person is available in the hometown of a person, he can take Zakat to another town. However, he will pay himself the expenses of taking it to the other town, and will be responsible if it is lost, except when he takes it with the directive of the Mujtahid.


19. Must a person pay for the charges for weighing and scaling of wheat, barley, raisins and dates, which a person gives as zakat?

Answer: The charges for weighing and scaling of wheat, barley, raisins and dates, which a person gives as Zakat, are to be paid by him.


20. If a person has to pay 2 mithqals and 15 grams of silver or more in Zakat, can he give less than 2 mithqals and 15 grams silver to one poor person?

Answer: If a person has to pay 2 mithqals and 15 grams of silver (approximately 22 grams) or more in Zakat, he should not, as a recommended precaution, give less than 2 mithqals and 15 grams to one poor. Also, if he has to pay something other than silver, like wheat and barley, and its value reaches 2 mithqals and 15 grams of silver he should not, as a recommended precaution, give less than that to one poor.


21. Can a person who gives zakat request someone entitled to receive zakat to sell him the zakat that he gave him?

Answer: It is disapproved (makrūh) for a person to request someone entitled to receive zakat to sell him the zakat that he gave him. However, if the person entitled to receive zakat wants to sell the thing he received, then after its price has been determined, the person who gave him the zakat has the first option to buy it.


22. What happens to the Zakat if a person doubts whether he has paid Zakat or not?

Answer: If a person doubts whether or not he gave the Zakat which had been obligatory on him, and the property on which Zakat was due is also existent, he should give Zakat even if his doubts is with regard to Zakat of earlier years.

And if the liable property no more exists, no Zakat is due on it even if the doubt relates to Zakat for the current year.


23. Can a poor man compromise for a quantity less than the quantity of Zakat before having received it or accept as Zakat something more expensive than its actual value?

Answer: A poor man cannot compromise for a quantity less than the quantity of Zakat before having received it or accept as Zakat something more expensive than its actual value.

Similarly, the owner cannot give Zakat to a deserving person on a condition that he would return it. However, there is no objection if the deserving poor, after having received the Zakat agrees to return it. For example, a person owes a large sum of Zakat, and because of poverty is unable to pay Zakat, and he repents for not having paid and seeks forgiveness from God, the deserving recipient can, of his own pleasure, bestow it back on him after having received it.


24. Can a person purchase the Qur’an, religious books, or books of supplications (duʿāʾs) from the ‘in the way of God’ from the Zakat property (portion of zakat) and give them as a charitable endowment (waqf)?

Answer:  A person cannot purchase the Qur’an, religious books, or books of supplications (duʿāʾs) from the ‘in the way of God’ from the Zakat property (portion of zakat) and give them as a charitable endowment (waqf) unless the general public benefit necessitates it, and, based on obligatory precaution, he gets authorisation from a fully qualified jurist.


25. Can a person purchase property with the Zakat and bestow it upon his children or upon persons whose maintenance is obligatory on him, so that they spend its income for their expenses?

Answer: A person cannot purchase property with the Zakat and bestow it upon his children or upon persons whose maintenance is obligatory on him, so that they spend its income for their expenses.


26. Can a person spend the Zakat to go to Hajj, Ziyarat etc?

Answer: A person can spend the Zakat to go to Hajj, Ziyarat etc. even if he may not be poor, or draw from Zakat an amount equal to his annual expenses, provided that it is in the interest of the public, and if, as a precaution, he has obtained permission from the Mujtahid.


27. If the owner of a property makes a poor man his agent to distribute Zakat of his wealth, can the poor man take anything from the Zakat for himself?

Answer:  If the owner of a property makes a poor man his agent to distribute Zakat of his wealth, and if the poor has a feeling that the intention of the owner was that he himself (i.e. the poor man) should not take anything out of Zakat, he cannot take anything from it for himself. But if he is sure that the owner had no such intention, he can take for himself also.


28. If he gets camels, cows, sheep, gold and silver as Zakat and if the conditions for Zakat becoming obligatory are fulfilled, does this poor person have to pay Zakat?

Answer: If a poor man gets camel, cow, sheep, gold and silver as Zakat and if the conditions for Zakat becoming obligatory are fulfilled, he will have to give Zakat on them.


29. What happens to the Zakat If two persons are joint owners of a property on which Zakat has become obligatory, and one of them pays Zakat for his share, and thereafter they divide the property

Answer:  If two persons are joint owners of a property on which Zakat has become obligatory, and one of them pays Zakat for his share, and thereafter they divide the property, even if he knows that his partner has not paid Zakat on his share, and is not going to pay it afterwards, there is no objection if he exercises the right of discretion over his own share.


30. How should a person pay the Zakat, if he also owes Khums, Kaffara and Nadhr?

Answer: If a person owes Khums or Zakat and also owes Kaffara and Nadhr etc, but he is also indebted and cannot make all these payments, and if the property on which Khums and Zakat has become obligatory has not been used up, he should give Khums and Zakat, and if it has been used up, the debt, Zakat and Khums will have priority over Kaffarah and Nadhr.


31. How should the Zakat be paid, If a person owes khums or zakat, and hajj is obligatory on him, and he has debt as well, then dies and his estate is not sufficient for all of these obligations?

Answer:

(1) If a person owes khums or zakat, and hajj is obligatory on him, and he has debt as well, then, if he dies and his estate is not sufficient for all of these obligations, in the event that the property on which khums and zakat is obligatory has not perished, the khums and zakat must be paid and the rest of his estate must be used to settle his debt.

(2) However, if the property on which khums and zakat is obligatory has perished, then his estate must be used to settle his debt; and if after this anything is left, it must be spent for [hiring a representative to perform] hajj [on the deceased’s behalf]; and if after this anything remains, it must be divided between the khums and zakat debts.


32. If a person is acquiring knowledge and as an alternative, he can earn his livelihood, can Zakat be given to him?

Answer: If a person is acquiring knowledge and as an alternative, he can earn his livelihood, Zakat can be given to him if acquiring that knowledge is obligatory. And if acquiring that knowledge is in the public interest, he can be given Zakat with the permission of the Mujtahid, as a precaution. In the absence of these two circumstances, it is not permissible to give him from Zakat.


Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (saw) and His Family (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/48/2289/

https://www.sistani.org/english/book/48/2290/

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

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

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