20.2 ZAKAT

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


Zakat al maal is obligatory when a person has held a minimum taxable amount, nisaab, for 1 year, hawl. The obligation is related to the property and not the person. Males or females, adults or children are all obliged to pay zakat. Zakat is no obligatory for non-Muslims. Debts do not remove the obligation of zakat. Zakat can be paid in advance. Zakat al fitr is obligatory and must be paid before salat eid al fitr. It is levied only on Muslims. It is a fixed amount paid on behalf of each member of the family at the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan. It plays a very important social and psychological function. The less privileged are assured that they can take part in the festivities at the end of the fasting month. Voluntary alms, sadaqat al tatawu'u, is encouraged. It is recommended all the time. It can be given to the righteous, the relatives. Sadaqat should not be given from wealth of doubtful source. Sadaqat, unlike zakat, can be given to the non-Muslim. Reminding the recipient of sadaqat, al mann, is unlawful. Sadaqat al tatawu’u is best given in secrecy. Priorities in sadaqat are the relatives. Sadaqat is not given to the rich or the able-bodied.


20.2.2 REGULATIONS & ETIQUETTE, ahkam & adab al zakat

Zakat can be paid in kind or as cash. The computation of zakat on live-stock and agricultural produce is made in kind and then converted into cash if need be. Normally zakat is paid at the end of the zakatable year. It however can be paid in advance before it is due. Zakat arrears are also due and payable. Zakat on joint property is computed on the total property; it is illegal to divide up the property and allocating portions less than the nisaab to each partner in order to avoid payment. Zakat is preferably given to relatives if they are among the categories of zakat beneficiaries. Zakat can also be given to a wife provided no deception to avoid payment of zakat or nafaqat is involved. Zakat can be given to orphans. It is illegal to buy back any article given as zakat to the poor


20.2.3 ZAKATABLE WEALTH, nisaab

Zakatable property includes metals, paper money, trade goods, crops, and livestock. Zakat is levied on property kept in possession for 1 year. Quorum, nisaab, is a minimum zakatable wealth specified for gold, silver, dates, camels etc. Zakat is levied on gold ornaments worn by women. Zakat is levied only on specified and not all crops with a different rate for naturally and artificially irrigated crops. Zakat on crops is due at the time of harvest. The zakat rate for money is 1 in 40 or 2.5%. The quorum is 100 dirhams kept for 1 year. No zakat is levied on a horse or working cattle



The Qur'an has mentioned the following eight categories of zakat recipients: the poor, faqiir; the indigent, maskiin, zakat administrators, ‘aamiluuna ‘alaiha; new/potential Muslims , muallafat al quluub; slaves in bondage who need funds to be buy their freedom, fi al riqaab; prisoners; the heavily indebted’ and those struggling in the way of Allah, sabilullah



The individual can compute and give zakat directly to the poor or any of the categories of legal recipients. Zakat can also be given to charitable organizations. A non-governmental community organization may collect and distribute zakat. The government could collect and distribute zakat

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004