(Obligatory Charity)

What is Zakaah?

Zakaah is the part of the wealth that is given away for the possession and use of poor people, according to Allâh’s order. Just as prayers and fasting are bodily worship, Zakaah is worship through one’s property.

Is zakaah a fard or waajib?

It is fard. The verses of the Holy Qur’aan and the ahaadeeth of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) are full of evidences of zakaah’s being fard. One who denies the zakaah as being fard is a kaafir.

What are the conditions for zakaah being fard?

One should be a Muslim, free, sane, adult, and owner of a sufficient amount of property (called the nisaab). This nisaab should be free from debts and one’s personal requirements.

One year at least should have elapsed on the ownership of the nisaab. Thus, zakaah is not fard on the property of a kaafir, slave, an insane person, or a minor child. If someone has property less than that which is liable for zakaah, or if it is enough for zakaah but there is debt on it, or the nisaab has not been in ownership for one year, zakaah will not be fard in all these conditions.

Property for Zakaah and the Nisaab

On what kind of belongings is zakaah fard?

On silver, gold, and all types of merchandise (trading goods).

Does “silver and gold” include silver and gold coins, or something else?

Zakaah on all things of silver and gold, gold coins, silver currency, jewelry, utensils, gold and silver laces, etc. is fard.

Is zakaah fard on jewels and gems?

If the jewels and gems are meant for trade, zakaah is fard, otherwise not, whatever their value may be. In the same way, if a person has copper utensils of more value than the nisaab, or a shop or a house of more value, and the owner gets its rent also, or he has other valuables than those of gold and silver, but none of those are for trade, zakaah will not be fard.

What is the ruling if one has currency notes of the amount of nisaab?

Zakaah is fard on that.

If one has some silver and some gold, but not the amount of nisaab of each, is zakaah due on that fard?

In that case, both should be valued in terms of silver or gold and their value added together. If it comes to the order of nisaab of silver or gold either, zakaah according to that will be given, otherwise zakaah will not be fard.

If one has a little quantity of gold and its value is equal to or more than the nisaab for silver, but he has no silver, neither money nor jewelry, is zakaah fard on him or her?

No, in this condition zakaah will not be fard.

What is meant by merchandise?

Goods which are for sale or for making profits are merchandise- whatever they may be: food, cloth, sugar, shoes, etc.

What is the nisaab?

Shari’ah has fixed a certain quantity or standard of valuables, on possession of which zakaah becomes fard. Zakaah becomes fard when one owns valuables of that quantity. This quantity or standard is called Nisaab.

What is the nisaab of silver?

The nisaab of silver is 200 dirham (pure silver coins), or about 612 grams of silver.

What will be the zakaah of 612 grams of silver?

Giving 1/40th (2½ percent) of a thing as zakaah is fard. Thus, for 612 grams, zakaah will be about 15½ grams.

What is the nisaab of gold?

The nisaab of gold is 20 deenaar (gold coins), or about 88 grams, and its zakaah is again 1/40th of the amount. 

What is the nisaab of merchandise?

Calculate the value of the merchandise according to either silver or gold. Then give away the zakaah to the order of the nisaab of gold or  silver.

Giving Zakaah

What is the right method of giving zakaah?

Give the zakaah which has become compulsory on you to a deserving person in the name of Allâh and make him or her its owner and master. It is not right to give zakaah for any work or service done. (The man who is in charge of collecting zakaah can, however, be paid from the zakaah money.) It is also allowed to buy things with the zakaah money and distribute them to the poor people.

When should zakaah be given?

Zakaah should be given without delay as soon as one year passes on the valuables of the amount of nisaab. (A “year” means a lunar calendar year.)

Is it allowed to give away zakaah before the completion of one year?

For a person who owns valuables, it is allowed to give zakaah according to the nisaab before the completion of one year.

Is the niyyah necessary when giving zakaah?

Yes. The niyyah should be there when giving zakaah or at least when one is separating the required portion from the property. Zakaah will not be fulfilled if one gives the money with no intention but afterwards accounts it as zakaah.

Is it necessary to tell the person to whom zakaah is being given that what is given to him is of zakaah?

It is not necessary. Zakaah will be paid even if it is given as a present or ‘Eid gift to poor children, etc.

What is the ruling when the whole property is destroyed after the completion of one year although no zakaah had yet been paid on it?

The responsibility of zakaah will also be gone.

What if the whole property is given away in the name of Allâh after the completion of one year?

Its zakaah will also be excused.

What if a portion of the property is destroyed or given away as charity?

For the portion that has been destroyed or given away as charity, zakaah will lapse. For the remaining portion zakaah must be paid.

If zakaah for silver is given away in silver, how should it be assessed, by its value or weight?

Its weight should be considered.

If zakaah becomes due on silver, can anything else be given in its place as zakaah?

Yes, by the price of the quantity of silver that becomes due as zakaah, something else, like cloth or food, may also be purchased and given.

The Masaarif of Zakaah

What is meant by Masaarif of zakaah?

The people to whom zakaah is allowed to be given are called masaarif. Masaarif is the plural of Masraf. The masaarif of zakaah are those people to whom zakaah may be given. 

What are the masaarif of zakaah?

In these days, masaarif of zakaah are: *  

(1) Faqeer, a person having little belongings but not to the amount of nisaab. 

(2) Miskeen, the person who himself owns nothing. 

(3) Debtor, or a person who is in debt of others and whose debt exceeds his belongings to the amount of nisaab. 

(4) A traveller who has run short of money while in the journey may also be given zakaah according to his need.

* The Qur’aan actually mentions 8 fixed categories- only 4 are listed above.

Is it permitted to give zakaah to the Islamic schools?

Yes, it is permitted to give zakaah to the students and to the managers of the schools for spending on students. There is no harm in it.

To whom is it not allowed to give zakaah?

The persons to whom the giving of zakaah is forbidden are:

(1) A wealthy person- a person on whom zakaah is fard, or he has some property over and above his personal necessity to the amount of nisaab. For example, he has some copper utensils other than those required by him for daily use, valued to the amount of nisaab. It is not halaal for such a person to accept zakaah.

(2) A Sayyid and Banu Haashim. Banu Haashim means the descendants of Hadrat Ja’far, Hadrat ‘Aqeel, Hadrat ‘Abbaas, and Hadrat ‘Ali (may Allâh be pleased with them all).

(3) To one’s father, mother, maternal or paternal grandfathers and grandmothers, and to those above them in the lineage. 

(4) To one’s son, daughter, paternal or maternal grandson and granddaughter, and to those in the lineage below that.

(5) The husband to his wife and the wife to her husband can not give zakaah.

(6) To a kaafir.

(7) To a minor child to a wealthy person.

It is not allowed to give zakaah to any of the above listed people.

On what things can the zakaah not be spent?

On those things which do not make the deserving person the owner and master of the zakaah. It is not allowed to spend zakaah on such things like the funeral of the dead, paying off the debt of a dead person, or in the repair or construction of a mosque or water supply.

Is it permissible to give zakaah to a person who owns a  house worth plenty of money and he lives in it or makes his living by its rent, but he has no other property than that and has run out of money?

It is allowed because the house is included in his necessary requirements. But if he has some property other than his necessary  requirements, to the amount of nisaab, then he is not allowed to accept zakaah.

Will zakaah be considered as paid if one gives to a person, thinking that he is deserving, but later on it is found out that he was a Sayyid or a wealthy person, or his own father or mother or one of his own descendants?

It is considered as paid. It is not necessary to pay it again.

What are the people to whom giving of zakaah is the best?

First to one’s own relatives, such as brother, sister, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, in-laws, etc. There is a great blessing in paying zakaah to those amongst the above-mentioned who are needy and deserving. After them comes the neighbors or others residing in one’s city. It is best to give it to the ones amongst those who are deserving and needy. Then comes the turn of those to whom, if zakaah is given, it becomes beneficial for the religion, such as students of the religion.


What is Sadaqat-ul-Fitr?

Fitr means to break the fast, or not to keep fast. Allâh has fixed a sadaqah (charity) over His servants: After the completion of Ramadaan and on the rejoicing of breaking the fast, this charity should be paid as a mark of gratitude. This is called Sadaqat-ul-fitr. The ‘Eid that comes after the Ramadaan is called ‘Eid-ul-Fitr, as it is the day of rejoicing over the completion of the fast.

On what persons is sadaqat-ul-fitr waajib?

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is waajib on every free Muslim when he or she owns property to the amount of nisaab.

Is that the same nisaab as that of zakaah or something else?

The nisaab of zakaah and nisaab of sadaqat-ul-fitr are the same. But there is a difference between the nisaab of zakaah and that of sadaqat-ul-fitr. For zakaah, it becomes fard when a person owns a certain quantity of silver, gold, or merchandise only. But for sadaqat-ul-fitr to be waajib, all one’s possessions are counted and all sorts of things are taken into account. It is necessary for both the nisaabs that one should  be free from all sorts of burdens of debts and have property in excess of one’s necessary requirements. 

So, if a person has extra clothes, other than those clothes used by him, or has some extra utensils of copper, brass, china, clay, etc., or has an occupied house, or some other property or goods exceeding his necessary and personal requirements, and the value of these things equals or exceeds the amount of nisaab, no zakaah is (necessarily) fard on that, but sadaqat-ul-fitr will be waajib. The condition of the passing of one year is also not necessary over the nisaab of sadaqat-ul-fitr. The payment of sadaqat-ul-fitr becomes waajib even if one becomes possessor of the nisaab the same day.

On whose behalf is the payment of sadaqat-ul-fitr waajib?

The payment of sadaqat-ul-fitr is waajib on every person who holds nisaab. He should pay it for himself and on behalf of his minor children. But if the minors have their own property, it should be paid from that.

It is generally said that sadaqat-ul-fitr is not waajib on a person who did not keep fast. Is this correct or wrong?

It is wrong. It is waajib on every individual who holds nisaab whether they kept the fast or not.

What is the time of sadaqat-ul-fitr being waajib?

The sadaqah becomes waajib on ‘Eid day, just after the subh saadiq. So if a person dies before subh saadiq, no sadaqat-ulfitr will be paid from his property. If a child is born before then, it shall be paid on behalf of the child. 

Is it allowed to pay sadaqat-ul-fitr before the ‘Eid, during Ramadaan?

It is allowed.

What is the best time for paying sadaqat-ul-fitr?

It is better to pay on ‘Eid day before going to the ‘Eid prayers. It is also allowed to pay after the prayers. It will remain due in one’s name until one pays, no matter how much time passes.

What things and what quantities must be paid for the sadaqat-ul-fitr?

All kinds of foodgrains or their equivalent price may be paid as sadaqat-ul-fitr. It is detailed like this: if wheat, or its flour, is given it should be 3 ½ lbs. per person. And if barley, or its flour, is given it should be 7 lbs. per person. If any other foodgrains – rice, millet, etc. – in place of wheat and barley is given, then that grain should be equal to the price of either 3 ½ lbs. of wheat, or of 7 lbs. of barley. If it is given in cash it should be equal to the price of 3 ½ lbs. of wheat or 7 lbs. of barley.

Is it allowed to give sadaqat-ul-fitr of one person to many poor people, in little quantities to each, or should it be given to only one poor  person?

It is allowed to give to many poor people. In the same way, sadaqat-ul-fitr of many people can be given to only one person.

To whom should sadaqat-ul-fitr be given?

Sadaqat-ul-fitr is allowed to be given to those persons to whom zakaah is allowed to be given. It is not allowed to give sadaqat-ul-fitr to those people to whom zakaah cannot be given.

Can those people on whom sadaqat-ul-fitr is waajib take the zakaah or sadaqat-ul-fitr?

They cannot. The persons who themselves are in possession of the nisaab are not allowed to take any fard or waajib sadaqah.