Rulings for Zakat

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen

Rulings for Zakat
Published: Tuesday, 17 October, 2006, 09:35 AM Doha Time

Khutbah by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen
Praise be to Allah Who has bestowed the bounty of plants and fruits and assigned them the ways in which they should be distributed and which meet Allah’s pleasure without wastefulness or miserliness. I testify that there is no god but Allah Who is the Almighty and the All Powerful. I testify that Muhammad is His messenger. May Allah bless him, his family, his Companions and those who follow him on the proper path.
O people! Fear Allah and thank Him for the bounties He has bestowed upon you of wealth, sons, gardens and springs. He granted you palm-tree fruit to eat fresh or to store for the whole year. He is the Creator of such fruit and He is the One Who brought it up and sustained it for you. Thank Him Who let you witness its harvest and thank Him as He explains to you the proper way to disburse it in order to meet His pleasure.
Pay the due Zakat, which Allah has enjoined on us to receive the recompense in this worldly life and the great reward and gifts in the Hereafter. “Say: ‘Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He will of His servants, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of Providers.’” (Saba’: 39)
O servants of Allah! Do you think that the sum of Zakat that you pay is lost and you have nothing in return? No, By Him Who has created the grain, and initiated the air; all that you pay (as Zakat) is, really, the permanent and preserved money for you.
“ . . . So recite as much of the Qur’an as may be easy, and offer the prayer perfectly and give Zakat, and lend to Allah a goodly loan, and whatever you send for yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward. . .” (Al-Muzzammil: 20)
On the other hand, the wasted and lost money is that which is stored with you in this world; either it will be eaten in this world or left to your heirs who will take the advantage of your wealth whether they are close relatives of yours or not. This is the reality of the money you leave behind in this world and the reality of the money you store with the All-Knowing King. It was reported that the family of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) provided a sheep as a charity, all of which was given to the poor except the shoulder. When the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came, he asked, “What is left? A’ishah replied that there was nothing left except the shoulder. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) commented, “The whole sheep is ours except the shoulder.” The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) spoke the truth because all that was given, as charity is verily the part, which is preserved forever with Allah, except the part left for eating which is lost.
O servants of Allah! Souls are created with miserliness as an innate nature. The one who can trandscend this innate nature is the successful one. Satan desires that you withhold Zakat. He is always making promises, but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception. O Muslims! You should reckon your deeds in this world before the day on which you will stand for reckoning. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) explained to his nation what should be paid on plants. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stated that if plants are irrigated by rain, the sum of Zakat due on it is a tenth, however, if they are irrigated by machine, the amount of Zakat to be paid is a half of a tenth. This amount is set clear beyond any doubt and controversy. With the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), the concerned scholars shouldered the responsibility of conveying the Prophet’s clear message to other generations and their reckoning is left to Allah only. “Whether We show you (O Muhammad) part of what We have promised them or cause you to die, your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning.” (Ar-Ra’d: 40)
O Muslims! Evaluate your deeds and pay the particular amount assigned by Allah and His Messenger. Those who obey the Messenger, obey Allah. “He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement” (Al-Ahzab: 71). You should pay a half of a tenth out of the fruits of your palm trees, considering the variety of the fruits that affect its value. Bear in mind that Zakat is enjoined, in the first place, to complete your other acts of worship and as a purification of your wealth, so do not neglect paying it.
We are at a time when dates are available in various kinds. There is a kind of date that is sold for three riyals while others are sold for half a riyal or less. Some people are plagued with miserliness and pay the Zakat that is due on the first kind with the Zakat that is due on the second, thus falling short of the quarter of a tenth. If you had a share in a garden and the value of your share was a half of a tenth, would you accept taking your share from the kind of fruit whose value is half a riyal instead of the kind whose value exceeds three riyals? Undoubtedly, you would never accept such value. So how can you refuse it for yourself in this world and accept it for yourself and your Lord in the hereafter?
O Muslims! As the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made it clear that the amount of Zakat is a half of a tenth, the scholars stated that Zakat should be paid on every kind; Zakat on the good should be paid from the good and moderate from the moderate and bad from the bad. Some others hold that if this is difficult, he is allowed to pay the value of the amount of Zakat due on the good from the moderate.
Imam Ahmad added that in case the fruits are sold, then he should pay Zakat from that price, a tenth or a half of a tenth of the selling price.
O Muslims! I have talked about this issue not because I have a share in Zakat or to take reward from you, but to convey Allah’s message to fulfil my responsibility and help you to fulfil your responsibility by paying what is due upon you.
You may ask; why did he not explain this matter before? The answer is simple: because of the wide difference among kinds of fruits that was apparent some years ago. “O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich and Worthy of all praise. Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit sins; whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah: 267-268)
May Allah confer upon you and me the blessing of the holy Qur’an.

Of the five fundamentals of Islam, Zakat occupies the second position (after the shahada), the first being prayer. This word is derived from the verb ‘Zaka’, which means: ‘It (a plant) grew.’ The second derivative of this word carries the sense of purification, e.g., ‘Qad aflaha man zakkaha (he is indeed successful who purifies himself).
Spending the wealth for the sake of Allah purifies the heart of man of the love of material wealth. The man who spends offers that as a humble gift before the Lord and thus affirms the truth that nothing is dearer to him in life than the love of Allah and that he is fully prepared to sacrifice everything for His sake. There is no burden of obligation on one who receives Zakat, but a sense of thankfulness and gratitude on the part of the giver, since has been enabled by the recipient to discharge his obligation that he owes to Allah and society.
Zakat is paid on surplus of wealth that is left over after the passage of a year. It is thus a payment on the accumulated wealth. Leaving aside animals and agricultural yield, Zakat is paid at almost a uniform rate of 2.5%.
The minimum standard of surplus wealth over which Zakat is charged is known as ‘Nisab’. It differs with different kinds of property, the most important being nearly 21 oz in case of silver and 3 oz in case of gold. The Nisab of cash is the same as that of gold and silver. Twenty per cent of buried treasure, i.e. wealth that does not imply exertion of effort in collecting it; as for agricultural crops that require labour to gain, Zakat would be 10% and it is known as ‘Ushur (tenth). If the land is irrigated by artificial methods, one-twentieth part of the yield is to be paid as Zakat. Should the land producing the yield be in need on constant labour and catering, then the owner is bound to pay one-fortieth of the produce. There is no Zakat on less than five camels, but if the person pays it out of his own sweet will that would be a voluntary act of charity. Upon five camels the Zakat is one goat, provided they subsist upon pasture throughout the year, because Zakat is due only upon such camels as live on pasture and not upon those which are fed in the house with fodder. One goat is due upon any number of camels from five to nine, and two goats on any number from ten to fourteen. There on any number from fourteen to nineteen and four upon any number from twenty to twenty-four and upon any number of camels from twenty-five to thirty-five, the Zakat is a ‘Bint-al-Makhaz’, that is, a camel’s yearling colt.
No Zakat is due upon fewer than forty goats and upon forty goats that feed for the greater part of the year upon pasture, there is due, at the expiration of the year, Zakat of one goat. One goat is due on thirty cows. As for horses, no Zakat is due on them in the light of the Holy Prophet’s guidance.
The objects and persons on whom Zakat is to be spent are included in the following verse: “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and for those employed in connection therewith, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and for the (freeing of) slaves, and for those in debt, and for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer - an ordinance from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.” [9:60]