Home Fatawa Part one Section four - Alms (Az-Zakat)

Section four - Alms (Az-Zakat)

Az-Zakat (along with the al-Khums), which is a kind of tax, is one of the important pillars in the Islamic Shariah and its obligation is one of the essential beliefs of Islam; Allah the Most High has mentioned it together with prayer in many verses in the Holy Qur’an and warned of severe punishment for anyone who fails to pay it. Zakat is obligatory on the following:

1- Livestock, which is divided into three types: camels, cattle and sheep.

2- Crops, which are: wheat, barley, dates and raisins; it is an obligatory precaution to pay it for all grains.

3- The two money types, which are: gold and silver; also paper money (notes), which was invented later, as an obligatory precaution.

All this is upon the following conditions:

1 & 2 - Buloogh and sanity, throughout the year in the zakat for which the elapse of a full year (hawl) is conditional, or before the time when it becomes obligatory - as will be explained late - when the elapse of a full year is not conditional. By sanity we mean what is opposite to insanity, so it does not include the temporary loss of mental powers due to losing conscious or drunkenness, nor the more permanent state which is known as ‘coma’.

3- The permanent possession of the items in question throughout the year when the elapse of the full year (hawl) is conditional, and before the time when the zakat becomes obligatory when the hawl is not conditional.

4- Having control over the possessed money, so zakat is not obligatory on mortgages, trusts or stolen money/property nor on debts owed by others, even if one has the ability to collect them.

5- The threshold (nisab), which means the item in question reaching a given threshold (or minimum taxable amount) as will be explained.

The zakat obligation is an act of worship the validity of which must be accompanied by the intention of qorbah (nearness to God by compliance with His commands).

The rulings of each type of the zakat-payable items, also the description of those who are worthy of zakat payment (to them) and how it is paid is the subject of the following.