Fiqh-us-Sunnah
Find on this Page


Volume 3

Fiqh 3.1: Zakah, definition

Zakah or alms tax can be defined as that portion of a man's wealth which is designated for the poor. The term is derived from the Arabic verbal root meaning "to increase." "to purify," and "to bless." It find its origin in Allah's command to: "Take sadaqah (charity) from their property in order to purify and sanctify them" [at-Taubah 103]. That is why this kind of sadaqah is called zakah, for by paying it, one is aspiring to attain blessing, purification, and the cultivation of good deeds.

Taking into account its very nature, it is no wonder that zakah constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. It is associated with prayer (salah) in eighty-two Qur'anic verses. Allah, the Exalted One, prescribed it in His Book (The Qur'an), His Messenger corroborated it by his (sunnah), and the community (ummah) by consensus upheld it. Ibn 'Abbas reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, sent Mu'azh ibn Jabal to Yemen (as its governor), he said to him: "You are going to a people who are People of the Scripture. Invite them to accept the shahadah: that there is no god but Allah and I am His Messenger. If they accept and affirm this, tell them that Allah, the Glorious One, has enjoined five prayers upon them during the day and night. If they accept that, tell them also that He has enjoined sadaqah upon their assets which will be taken from the rich of the (Muslim) community and distributed to the poor. If they accept that, refrain from laying hands upon the best of their goods and fear the cry of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between Allah and it."

At-Tabarani relates in al-'Awsat and as-Saghir, on the authority of 'Ali, that the Prophet said: "Allah has enjoined upon rich Muslims a due to be taken from their properties corresponding to the needs of the poor among them. The poor will never suffer from starvation or lack of clothes unless the rich neglect their due. If they do, Allah will surely hold them accountable and punish them severely." According to at-Tabarani: "It was reported only by Thabit ibn Muhammad az-Zahid." Of Thabit's credibility, al-Hafiz in turn says: "Thabit was an honest and trustworthy person. AlBukhari and others related from him, and the rest of the narrators in the chain are considered as accepted authorities."

In the early days of Islam at Makkah, no limit or restriction was placed on the amount to be donated, for that decision was left to the individual Muslim's conscience and generosity. In the second year of hijrah, according to the widely known authorities, both the type and the quantity of zakah revenues were determined, and detailed illustrations were provided.

Fiqh 3.2: Exhortation to Give Zakah in the Qur'an

At-Taubah 103 authorizes the Prophet, upon whom be peace, to take either a stipulated amount of alms from the believers' holdings in the form of the obligatory zakah, or a voluntary, unstipulated amount (zakah of tatawwul). In this 'ayah, "purify" means to purify them from stinginess, greed, and meanness, and a lack of remorse toward the poor and the wretched. To sanctify them is to raise them in esteem through good deeds and blessings so that they will be worthy of happiness both now and in the afterlife.

Fiqh 2.151 b:

In reference to the life hereafter, Allah reveals: "Lo! Those who keep from evil will dwell amid gardens and watersprings, taking that which their Lord gives them. For they were before doers of good. They used to sleep but little of the night, and in the hours of the early dawn they prayed for forgiveness.... In their wealth, the beggar and the outcast had due share" [azh-Zhariyat 15-19]. Allah views beneficence and righteousness as exclusive qualities of the pious. It is because of their beneficence that they pray at night and ask Allah's forgiveness at dawn as a way of worshipping and approaching Him. Their beneficence is likewise in their giving to the needy their share of mercy and sympathy.

Allah further confirms: "And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, they perform prayer and pay the zakah, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. Upon them, Allah will have mercy" [at-Taubah 71].

Such are the people blessed by Allah and given His mercy-- those who believe in Him, who take care of each other through support and love, who exhort fairness and restrain lewd behavior, who have strong ties with Allah through prayer, and who strengthen their mutual relations through zakah.

Finally, these people, as reflected in al-Hajj 41, are: "Those who, if we give them power in the land, perform prayers and pay zakah, and enjoin kindness and forbid inequity." Giving zakah is, therefore, one of the reasons for which the righteous are given authority on earth.

Fiqh 3.3: Exhortation to Give Zakah in the Hadith

At-Tirmizhi relates from Abu Kabshah alAnmari that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "I swear upon three (things) and ask you to memorize my words: Sadaqah taken from a property never decreases it; a man who suffers injustice and is patient with it, Allah will grant him strength; a man who starts begging, Allah will cause him to be poor."

Ahmad and at-Tirmizhi relate (and the latter graded it sahih) from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah receives charity by His right hand, and then He causes it to grow for each of you. Just as you raise a horse, colt, foal, or young weaned camel, so that morsel becomes as large as the Mount of 'Uhud."

Of this hadith's content, Waki' says: "This is sanctioned by the Qur'an: 'Do they not know that it is Allah alone who can accept the repentance of His servants and is the (true) recipient of whatever is offered for His sake - and that Allah alone is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace?' [at-Taubah 104]. 'Allah deprives usurious gains of all blessing, whereas He blesses charitable deeds with manifold increase.' [al Baqarah 276]."

Again, Ahmad relates, with a sound chain of narrators, that Anas said: "A man from the tribe of Tameem came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said: 'O Messenger of Allah! I have plenty of property, a large family, a great deal of money, and I am a gracious host to my guests. Tell me how to conduct my life and how to spend.' The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, replied: 'Pay zakah out of your property, for truly it is a purifier which purifies you, and be kind to your relatives, and acknowledge the rights of the poor, neighbors, and beggars'."

It was reported from 'Aishah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "I swear upon three things: Allah does not equate one who has a portion in Islam with one who does not. The portions of Islam are three: prayer, fasting, and zakah. If Allah takes care of a man in this world, He will take care of him on the Day of Judgment. If a man likes a group of people, Allah will certainly include him among them. As for the fourth, if I swear on it, I hope I will not commit a sin: that if Allah conceals a man's sin in this world, He will certainly not expose him on the Day of Judgment."

At-Tabarani relates in al-'Awsat, that Jabir reported: "A man said: 'O Messenger of Allah! What will be the gains for a man who pays zakah on his assets?' The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'For one who pays zakah on his asssets, he will be removed from the evil in them'."

On the same subject, al-Bukhari and Muslim relate that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah reported: "I gave my allegience to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, that I will establish salah (prayers) and zakah, and I will give advice to every Muslim."

Fiqh 3.4: Punishment in the Qur'an for the Delinquents of Zakah

Allah says: "O you who believe! Most surely many of the doctors of law and the monks eat away the property of men falsely and turn them from Allah's way; and as for those who hoard treasures of gold and silver and do not spend them for the sake of Allah--warn them of grievous sufferings [in the life to come]. On the Day when that [hoarded wealth] shall be heated in the Fires of Hell and their foreheads and their sides and their backs branded with it, [it will be said to them:] 'These are the treasures which you have hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to accumulate!' [at-Taubah 34-35]." He also says: "And they should not think--they who avariously cling to all that Allah has granted them out of His bounty--that this is good for them. No, it is bad for them, for that which they hoard will be hung about their necks on the Day of Judgment" [al-'Imran 180].

Fiqh 3.4 a: Punishment in the Hadith for the Delinquents of Zakah

Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "No owner of a treasure who does not pay zakah will be spared, for his treasure will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks and his forehead will be branded with them until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years.

[The individual] will be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. A camel owner who does not pay zakah will not be spared (either). He will lay flat on a sandy, soft plain and they will run over him heavily one after another until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousands years. [The individual in question] will then be shown his path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. Equally, no owner of goats who does not pay zakah (will be spared). He will lay flat for them on a sandy plain, and the goats will run over him as heavy as they will come and they will trample him with their hoofs and gore him with their horns--with twisted horns or with no horns--one after another until Allah pronounces judgment on His servants, during a day lasting fifty thousand years, and [the individual in question] will be shown the path, leading him either to Paradise or to Hell. They [the Companions] asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, what about the horses?' He said: 'Horses have goodness in their foreheads (or he said 'Goodness lies in the foreheads of the horses') until the Day of Judgment. Horses are of three kinds: they are a source of reward for the owner, they are a cover, or they are a burden to a person. As to those [horses] that bring rewards, one who raises and trains them for the sake of Allah will get a reward from Him as well as all that they consume will be considered a reward for him from Allah. For every stalk of grass in the meadow that one lets them graze, there is a reward for him. For every drop of water that one lets them drink from the creek, there is a reward.' He went on describing until a reward was mentioned even for their urine and their feces.

'And for every step that they prance on elevated ground, there is a reward. As for the one to whom they will provide cover [in the life hereafter], he is the one who raises them for honor and dignity and remembers the right of their backs and stomachs in plenty and adversity. As for the one to whom they are a burden, he is the one who raises them for glory and showing off to people.' They asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, what about donkeys?' He said: 'Allah has not revealed to me anything in regard to them except this one comprehensive verse: 'He who does an atom's weight of good will see it, and he who does an atom's weight of evil will see it' [az-Zalzalah 7]."

Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay zakah on his wealth, on the Day of Judgment it will become a bald-headed, poisonous, male snake with two black spots over his eyes. The snake, on the Day of Judgment, will encircle his neck, and bite his cheeks and say: 'I am your treasure, I am your wealth.' " Then he [the Prophet] recited this 'ayah: " 'And let not those who hoard up that which Allah has bestowed upon them of his bounty...' [al'Imran 180]."

Ibn Majah, al-Bazzar, and al-Baihaqi relate from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "O Muhajirun, beware of five traits: if ever immorality spreads in a community and there is no sense of shame on its occurrence or mentioning it [and people talk about it as if nothing bad has taken place], diseases which were not present in the time of their predecessors will spread among them. If they decrease the measure and weight (of sold grains or food), they will be overcome by poverty, their provisions will decrease and their ruler will be unjust. If they refrain from paying the zakah due on their properties, they will be deprived of rain, unless they get it only for the sake of their cattle. If they renounce their commitment to Allah and His Messenger, they will be governed by an enemy who is a stranger to them and who will take away some of what they possess. If their rulers do not rule according to Allah's Book, they will be afflicted by civil war. Allah forbid that these should happen to you."

Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from al-Ahnaf ibn Qays that he said: "I was in the company of some men of Quraish, when a man (Abu Zharr al-Ghafari, a companion of the Prophet) came with coarse hair, clothes, and appearance. He stood up, greeted them and said: 'Inform those who hoard property that a stone will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then placed on the nipples of their breasts until it comes out from the top of their shoulders. It will then be placed on the top of their shoulders until it comes out again from the nipple of their breasts, and they will be shaken.' Then he left. I followed him and sat near him, not knowing who he was. I said: 'These people disliked what you said to them.' He observed: 'They do not understand anything that my friend said to me.' I asked: 'Who is your friend?' He replied: 'The Prophet, upon whom be peace. [One day he asked me]: 'Do you see the Mount of Uhud?' I looked at the sun to see how much of the day was left, as I thought that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, wanted to send me on an errand for him. I said: 'Yes.' Upon this he said: 'Nothing would delight me more than having gold equal to the bulk of Uhud and spending all of it (in Allah's way) except three dinars.'

'Indeed, these people do not understand and go on accumulating riches. By Allah! I neither ask them for this world, nor do I ask them anything about religion until I meet Allah, The Exalted One.' "

Fiqh 3.7: Judgment on the Zakah Refrainer

As an obligation upon Muslims, zakah is one of the essential requirements of Islam. If somebody disputed its obligation, he would be outside of Islam, and could legally be killed for his unbelief unless he was a new Muslim and could be excused for his ignorance.

As for the one who refrains from paying it without denying its obligation, he would be guilty of committing a sin. Yet, this act does not place him outside of Islam. It is the ruler's duty to take zakah from the defaulter by force and rebuke him, provided he does not collect more than the stipulated amount. However, in the views of Ahmad and ash-Shaf'i (in his earlier opinion) the ruler could take half of the defaulter's money, in addition to the calculated amount of zakah, as a punishment. This view is based on what Ahmad, anNasa'i, Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, and al-Baihaqi have recorded from Bahz ibn Hakim all the way back to his grandfather who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, say: 'Whether the camels of the zakah payer are grown or baby camels, it makes no difference in his reward if he gave them willingly. (However,) if someone refrains from paying it, it will be taken from him along with half his property, for it is a right of our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, not a right of the house of Muhammad.'"

Asked about its chain, Ahmad ruled it good (hassan). Of Bahz, al-Hakim says: "His traditions are authentic." Ash-Shaf'i, as alBaihaqi says, did not include it for fiqhi consideration because . . . "this hadith is not confirmed by the scholars of hadith."

If some people refrain from paying zakah knowing that it is due and that they can afford to pay, they should be fought until they yield and pay. Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that Ibn 'Umar heard the Prophet say: "I have been ordered to fight people until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and they uphold the prayers, and pay the zakah. If they do this, their lives and properties will be safe, except for what is due to Islam, and their accounts are with Allah."

Abu Hurairah is reported to have said: "When Allah's Messenger, upon whom be peace, died and Abu Bakr succeeded him as caliph, some Arabs apostasized, causing Abu Bakr to declare war upon them. 'Umar said to him: 'Why must you fight these men?', especially when there is a ruling of the Prophet, upon whom be peace: 'I have been called to fight men until they say that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and whoever said it has saved his life and property from me except when a right is due in them, and his account will be with Allah.' Abu Bakr replied: 'By Allah! I will fight those who differentiate between salah and zakah because zakah is the due on property. By Allah! If they withheld even a young she-goat ( 'anaq) that they used to pay at the time of Allah's Messenger, upon whom be peace, I would fight them.' Then 'Umar said: 'By Allah! It was He who gave Abu Bakr the true knowledge to fight, and later I came to know that he was right.' "

The same hadith narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and atTirmizhi has the following variant: "If they witheld the 'iqal, the rope of the camel," instead of "'anaq, young she-goat."

Fiqh 3.8: Who is Obliged to Pay Zakah

Zakah must be paid by every Muslim who has a nisab, which is the minimum of one's holdings liable to zakah. The nisab is conditioned by the following:

1 Zakah should be paid on any amount of money remaining after meeting the expenses for such necessities as food, clothes, housing, vehicles and craft machines.

2 A complete year of Islamic calendar should pass, starting from the very day of the nisab's possession, without any decrease during the year. In case of its decrease (being less than nisab), the year count (hawl;) starts from the day of the nisab completion.

Commenting on the issue, an-Nawawi said: "In our view and the views of Malik, Ahmad, and the majority of scholars, the amount of property liable for payment of zakah, such as gold, silver, or cattle, is tied to the completion of nisab through the turn of a whole year. If the nisab decreases in any time of the year, [the counting of] the year discontinues. Later, if the nisab is completed, the year count is resumed from the time of its completion."

On the same subject, Abu Hanifah holds: "What matters isthe availability of nisab at the beginning and end of the year. Its decrease at any time in between does not matter, even though the zakah payer had two hundred dirhams and he lost all but one dirham during the year, or if he had forty sheep, all of which died except for one during the year. If, at the end of the year, he had two hundred dirhams, or forty sheep, then he must pay zakah on all of that. This condition is not applicable to the zakah of plantations and fruits, for their zakah should be paid on the harvest day. Allah, the Exalted One, says: 'And pay the due thereof upon the harvest day' [alA'raf 142]."

Al-'Abdari elaborated that: "The holdings subject to zakah are of two kinds. The first kind grows by itself: crops and fruits. The second kind is used for growing and production: money, merchandise, and cattle. In the former case, zakah should be paid at the time of harvest. In the latter case, it should be paid at the end of the haul. This was the opinion of all jurists as reported in anNawawi's al-Majrnu'."

Fiqh 3.9: Zakah on the Holdings of Infants and Mentally Retarded People

The guardian of a child or of a mentally retarded person must pay zakah on his behalf from his property if it constitutes a nisab.

'Amr ibn Shu'aib reported from his father backed up by a chain of sources going back to 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "One who becomes the guardian of an orphan with property must trade on his behalf and not leave it passive in order to avoid depletion of the property by sadaqah."

However, this hadith has a weak link. Still, al-Hafiz affirms that: "There is a similar hadith of the mursal type in the compilation of ash-Shaf'i, who confirmed that it is considered a sound one. 'Aishah used to set aside zakah for the orphans who were under her protection."

At-Tirmizhi concludes that: "Jurists differ on this issue. More than one companion of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said that zakah may be taken from an orphan's property. Among these are: 'Umar, 'Ali, 'Aishah, and Ibn 'Umar. This view is also supported by Malik, ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq. Another group, including Sufyan and Ibn al-Mubarak, hold that: 'Zakah should not be taken out of an orphan's property.' "

Fiqh 3.9 a: The Insolvent Debtor

Whoever has property must pay its proper zakah. If the property is indebted, he may first pay off his debt, then in case the remainder is enough to constitute a nisab, he must pay zakah. If he does not hold the nisab, he does not have to pay it since he is poor. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Only the wealthy are required to give charity." This hadith is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari. The latter records it in mu'allaq form. The Prophet also said: "Zakah is levied on the rich and paid to the poor." It is all the same, whether he is indebted to Allah or to man, because one hadith states: "Allah's debt is more deserving of fulfillment."

Fiqh 3.10: Zakah Owed by a Deceased Person

If a person dies before he pays zakah, then it must be taken from his estate.

According to ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, Ishaq, and Abu Thaur, it is obligatory that zakah be paid from the property of the deceased, and this payment receives preference over debt, legacy, and inheritance for Allah says: "... after payment of legacies and debts is what you leave ..." [an-Nisa' 12]. Zakah is a debt payable to Allah.

A man came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said: "My mother died while she still had to make up one month of fasting. Shall I make it up for her?" The Prophet replied: "If there was any debt upon your mother, would you pay it off for her?" The man answered: "Yes." The Prophet then observed: "A debt to Allah is more deserving to be paid off." This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.

Fiqh 3.10 a: The Niyyah (Intention)

Since the payment of zakah is an act of worship, its validity depends upon the expression of one's intention. That is, the zakah payer should pay it for the sake of Allah; he should make up his mind, with all of his heart, that zakah is an obligation to be discharged. Allah says: "And they are commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, sincere in their faith in Him alone" [al-Bayyinah 5].

It is related in al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "The value of [one's] deeds is determined by [one's] intentions; and thus for each shall be according to his intentions." Malik and ash-Shaf'i say that the intention is to be made at the time of rendering zakah. Abu Hanifah holds that the intention must be present at the time of payment or when zakah is being set aside from one's assets. Ahmad's view is that it is permissible to express the niyyah a little earlier before payment.

Fiqh 3.11: Payment of Zakah in Due Time

Zakah must be paid immediately at its due time. Deferring payment of zakah is prohibited, unless the payer for some valid reason cannot pay it on time. In such a case, he may wait until he is able to pay it. It is related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari that 'Uqbah ibn al-Harith said: "Once I performed the 'asr prayer with the Prophet, upon whom be peace. When he concluded the prayer, he hurriedly went to his house and retumed immediately. Noticing the amazed faces, he said: 'I left at home a piece of gold which was meant for sadaqah, and I did not want to let it remain a night in my house, so I ordered it to be distributed.'"

Ash-Shaf'i and al-Bukhari (the latter in his Tarikh) relate from 'Aishah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Whenever sadaqah which is payable is mixed with a property, it will destroy that property." The same hadith is related by al-Humaydi with this addition: "If you have to pay sadaqah which is payable, then it must be set aside, or the unlawful [property] will destroy the lawful one."

Fiqh 3.11 a: Paying Zakah in Advance

It is permissible for zakah to be paid for even two years in advance. Al-Zuhri did not see any problem in paying his zakah before the hawl. Al-Hasan was once asked if a man who had paid his zakah for three years in advance fulfilled his obligation. Al-Hasan answered in the affirmative. Of this view, ash-Shaukani said: "This was the view of ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, and Abu Hanifah. It was supported by al-Hadi and al-Qasim." Al-Mu'ayyad-billah also subscribes to this opinion as being better, but he says that Malik, Rabi'ah, Sufyan ath-Thauri, Dawud, Abu 'Ubayd ibn al-Harith, and an-Nasir (who comes from the Prophet's family) held that one's obligation is not discharged if the zakah is paid before the expiration of the year. They formulated their stance on the Prophet's hadith, already mentioned, which makes the zakah mandatory for the payer only when he has his possessions for a year. However, this does not invalidate the view of those who maintain that paying zakah in advance is lawful, for undeniably the obligation of zakah is associated with the expiry of one full year. The difference is only on the point of whether one's obligation is discharged if the zakah is paid before the year has expired." Ibn Rushd sums up the subject: "The controversy arises from the question whether it is an act of worship or an obligation owed to the poor. The group which considers it an act of worship, like salah (prayers), does not agree that it should be paid before its time. On the other hand, the group which views it as similar to the case of deferred obligatory dues approves its voluntary payment in advance." In support of his view, ashShaf'i relates a hadith from 'Ali that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, asked for al-'Abbas' sadaqah before its due date.

Fiqh 3.12: Invoking Blessing for the Zakah Payer

It is desirable that the recipient invoke blessing for the zakah payer at the time of its payment, for Allah says: "Take alms of their property that you may purify and sanctify them and pray for them. Verily, your prayers are a comfort for them" [at-Taubah 103]. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn Abu Awfa that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, on receiving sadaqah would say: "O Allah, bless the family of Abu Aufa." This is related by Ahmad and others.

Wa'il ibn Hajr reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prayed for a man who had offered a fine she-camel in his zakah payment: "May Allah bless him and make his camels beneficial to him." This is related by an-Nasa'i.

Ash-Shaf'i says: "According to this hadith, the leader may pray for the almsgiver upon receiving his payment by saying: 'May Allah reward you in turn of what you have offered, and may Allah bless what you still possess.' "

Fiqh 3.13: Holdings subject to zakah

Islam enjoined zakah on crops, fruit, livestock, merchandise, minerals, gold, silver, and treasures.

Fiqh 3.13 a: Zakah on Gold and Silver

Says Allah concerning zakah on gold and silver: "... As for those who hoard treasures of gold and silver and do not spend them for the sake of Allah--warn them of grievous suffering [in the life to come]" [at-Taubah 34]. Thus, zakah is prescribed for gold and silver--whether they are in the form of coins, ingots, or dust--as long as the amount owned constitutes a nisab, a period of a year has passed, debts are settled, and/or basic needs satisfied from it.

Fiqh 3.13 b: The Nisab of Gold and Its Due

The minimum of nisab for gold is twenty dinars owned for one year. Its due is a quarter of a tenth, that is, half a dinar. For any amount over twenty dinars, a quarter of a tenth is levied upon it. 'Ali reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "There is nothing upon you in gold, until it reaches twenty dinars. Thus, if you have twenty dinars at the end of the year, then there is half a dinar levied on it [as zakah]. Any additional amount will be calculated in this manner. There is no zakah on property until it has been owned for one year." This hadith is related by Ahamd, Abu Dawud, and al-Baihaqi. Al-Bukhari grades it authentic and alHafizh verified it.

Zuraiq, the Fazarah clan's protege, reported that 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz wrote to him after he became caliph: "Take what passes by you of the commerce of the Muslims--those who trade with their properties--a dinar for each forty dinars. From that which is less than forty, calculate on the lesser amount until it reaches twenty dinars. If you have to take one-third of a dinar, disregard it and do not take anything on it. Afterwards, give them a written release of what you have levied from them until the year expires." This is related by Ibn Abu Shaibah.

Malik says in his al-Muwatta': "The uncontroversial tradition that we have is that the zakah due on twenty dinars is like the zakah due on two hundred dirhams." Twenty dinars are equal to twenty-eight Egyptian dirhams in weight.

Fiqh 3.14: The Nisab of Silver and its Due

There is no zakah on silver until the amount exceeds two hundred dirhams. The amount payable is a quarter of a tenth for any amount. There is no zakah exemption on (silver) coins if they attain a nisab.

'Ali reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "I exempt you from paying zakah on horses and slaves. Pay, then, zakah on silver, one dirham for each forty dirhams. Zakah is not due on ninety or one hundred dirhams of silver. If it reaches two hundred dirhams, five dirhams are to be paid." This was related by the authors of as-Sunnan (The Traditions). At-Tirmizhi relates: "I asked al-Bukhari if he confirms this hadith. He said: 'It is authentic.' " At-Tirmizhi also says: "Jurists recognize that sadaqah should be taken out of any amount less than five ounces (awaq). One ounce (uqiyyah) equals forty dirhams. Five awaq equal 200 dirhams. Two hundred dirhams equal twenty-seven riyals equal 555 1/2 Egyptian piasters."

Fiqh 3.14 a: Combining Gold and Silver

If a person owns gold and silver, but neither of them on its own constitutes a nisab, he should not combine the two in order to obtain a nisab. This is because they are not of the same kind. The basic rule is that no category can be combined with another. It is the same for cows and sheep. For example, if someone has 199 dirhams and nineteen dinars, he is not supposed to pay zakah on them.

Fiqh 3.15: Zakah on Debt

Debts are of two kinds:

1 A debt which is acknowledged by the debtor with the willingness to pay it off, and

2 A debt which is not acknowledged either because the borrower is insolvent or its payment is deferred.

In the first case, scholars have formed the following views:: The first view:

'Ali, ath-Thauri, Abu Thaur, the Hanafiyyah, and the Hanbaliyyah hold that the creditor should pay zakah on the debt, provided he has received it from the debtor, in that zakah will be payable retroactively.: The Second view:

'Uthman, Ibn 'Umar, Jabir, Tawus, anNakha'i, al-Hasan, az-Zuhri, Qatadah, and ash-Shaf'i hold that the creditor should pay zakah on the value of a debt owed on time, even though he did not receive it yet, since he is eventually going to receive it and use it. It is similar to the zakah of any deposited amount.: The third view:

'Ikrimah, 'Aishah, and Ibn 'Umar hold that no zakah is due on debt since it does not grow. It is similar to the case of acquired assets.: The fourth view:

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab and 'Ata ibn Abu Rabah hold that zakah should be paid for one year if the debt is returned to the creditors.

2 For the second case, Qatadah, Ishaq ibn Abu Thaur, and the Hanifiyyah hold that its zakah is not compulsory on this type of debt, since the creditor cannot benefit from it. Ath-Thauri and Abu 'Ubayd hold that on receipt (of it) the creditor should pay its zakah retroactively since it his and he may use it at his own free will, like the zakah on the debt of a rich person. The last two views are attributed to ash-Shaf'i. 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz, alHasan, al-Layth, al-Auza'i and Malik agree that he should pay zakah on it for only one year when he receives it.

Fiqh 3.16: Zakah on Banknotes and bonds

Since they are documents with guaranteed credits, banknotes and bonds are subject to zakah once they attain the minimum of nisab--that is, a person may change them into currency immediately. The minimum of nisab is twenty-seven Egyptian riyals.

Fiqh 3.16 a: Zakah on Jewelry

Scholars agree that no zakah has to be paid on diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, corals, chrysolite, or any kind of precious stones unless they are used for trade. There is, however, disagreement over whether women's gold or silver jewelry is exempt. Abu Hanifah and Ibn Hazm hold that zakah is compulsory on gold and silver jewelry provided they constitute a nisab. Their view is based on the report of 'Amr ibn Shu'aib from his father from his grandfather: "Two women with gold bracelets on their wrists came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace. The Prophet said: 'Do you want Allah to make you wear bracelets of fire on the Day of Judgment?' They answered: 'No.' He said: 'Then pay the zakah which is due on what you wear on your wrists.' "

In the same way, Asma' bint Yazid reported: "My aunt and I, while wearing gold bracelets, went to the Prophet, upon whom be peace. He asked: 'Did you pay their zakah?' She related that they had not. The Prophet said: 'Do you not fear that Allah will make you wear a bracelet of fire? Pay its zakah.' " Al-Haythami confirms that it was narrated by Ahmad, and its chain is good.

'Aishah narrated: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, came to me and saw me wearing silver rings. Thereupon, he asked: 'What is this, 'Aishah?' I replied: 'I made them to adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allah.' He said: 'Did you pay their zakah?' I said: 'No, or what Allah wishes.' Then he said: 'Their punishment in Hell is enough for you.' " This is related by Abu Dawud, ad-Daraqutni, and al-Baihaqi.

Malik, ash-Shaf'i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal hold that there is no zakah on women's jewelry regardless of its value. Al-Baihaqi relates that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah was once asked if jewelry was subject to zakah. He replied that it was not, even if its value exceeded one thousand dinars.

Al-Baihaqi also narrates the case of Asma': "Asma' bint Abu Bakr used to adorn her daughters with gold. Although its value was around fifty thousand dinars, she did not pay zakah on it."

It is related in al-Muwatta' from 'Abdurrahman ibn al-Qasim from his father that 'Aishah used to take care of her nieces, who were orphans under her protection, and adorned them with jewelry without paying its zakah. Also in al-Muwatta' it is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar used to adorn his daughters and slave girls with gold without paying zakah.

Summing up the subject, al-Khattabi concludes: "What appears in the Qur'an supports the view of those who hold that zakah is obligatory on gold and silver, and the traditions also support this. Those who did not consider it obligatory based their view on speculation and some of the traditions. However, to be on the safe side, it is better to pay." These different views deal with allowable gold or silver adornment. As for other adornments which are prohibited-- that is, a woman wearing a man's adornment--their zakah should be paid. The same rule is applied to gold or silver utensils.

Fiqh 3.17: Zakah on a Woman's Dowry

Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that there is no zakah on the dowry of a woman until she comes to possess it. At the same time, the dowry must constitute the nisab at the end of the year. The position, however, will be different if the woman has accumulated a nisab other than the dowry. In such a case, any amount she receives should be added to the nisab, and zakah should be paid at the end of a year of possession. Ash-Shaf'i holds that a woman must pay zakah on her dowry at the end of one year, even if it is before the wedding. The probability of its restitution because of nullification, or its fifty percent refund because of divorce, does not exempt her from paying it. The Hanbaliyyah are of the opinion that dowry is a credit for women and that it is similar to debts. If the recipient of a dowry is rich, the payment of its zakah is obligatory. If the recipient is insolvent, or does not acknowledge it, then, according to al-Khiraqiyy, the zakah is obligatory regardless of the consumation of marriage. If a woman receives half of her dowry (in the case of her divorce before consumation), she should pay zakah only on the received half. However, if all of the dowry is cancelled before she receives it (in the case of nullifying the marriage on her behalf), she is under no obligation to pay its zakah.

Fiqh 3.17 a: Zakah on House Rent

Abu Hanifah and Malik maintain that the rent is not payable to the landlord at the time of the contract but at the expiry of the renting period. Thus, the landlord who rents out a house should pay the zakah on his house rent, provided the fixed amount meets the following conditions: receiving of the money and completion of nisab at the end of the year. The Hanbaliyyah think that once the contract is concluded, the landlord is entitled to have rent. Thus, if someone leases his house, the zakah is due upon its fixed rate reaching a nisab at the end of the year. This is so because the landlord has the right to spend the rent the way he wants to. The possibility of cancelling the lease does not invalidate the obligation to pay zakah. This case is similar to the case of dowry before the consumation of a marriage. If the rent is an arrear rent, then it should be treated as a debt either as paid or postponed. In al-Majmu', an-Nawawi says: "If somebody leased a house and was paid in advance, he should pay its zakah on receiving it. This is uncontroversial."

Fiqh 3.18: Zakah on Trade

The majority of scholars among the companions, the followers, the generation after them, and the jurists who came subsequently held that zakah on merchandise is compulsory. Abu Dawud and alBaihaqi relate that Samurah ibn Jundub reported: "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to command us to pay sadaqah from [the goods] we had for sale." Ad-Daraqutni and al-Baihaqi relate that Abu Zharr reported the Prophet, upon whom be peace, saying: "There is sadaqah on camels, sheep, cows, and house furniture." Ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, Abu 'Ubaid, ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi, and 'Abd ur-Razzaq relate that Abu 'Amr ibn Hammas reported from his father that he said: "I used to sell leather and containers. Once, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab passed by me and said: 'Pay the sadaqah due on your property.' I said: 'O Commander of the Faithful, it is just leather.' He replied: 'Evaluate it and then pay its due sadaqah.' "

Commenting on its credentials, Ibn Quadmah says in alMughni that this is a kind of story which is well-known and indisputable. This might be a consensus of opinion.

On the other hand, the Zahiriyyah maintain that merchandise is not subject to zakah. They differ, says Ibn Rushd, because of their use of analogical reasoning to the obligation of zakah and because of their disagreement on the authenticity of Samurah's and Abu Zharr's reports.

However, the majority of jurists view merchandise as a property which increases in value. Hence, by analogy, it is similar to the three categories upon which zakah must be paid: plantations, cattle, and gold and silver.

It is stated in al-Mandr: "Most scholars agree that zakah is obligatory on merchandise even though there is no clear-cut ruling in the Qur'an or the sunnah on this issue. However, there are a number of reports that corroborate each other with regard to the evidence provided by [their] texts. Their rationale is that since merchandise is a form of cash, there is no difference between it and dinars or dirhams in terms of which it is valued. This means that the form of the nisab can alternate between value in the form of cash and that which is valued in the form of merchandise. If zakah had not been obligatory on merchandise, the rich--or most of them --would have converted their cash into merchandise for trading purposes, making sure that the nisab of gold and silver is never possessed by them for a year."

The main consideration here is that by levying zakah on the rich, Allah the Exalted wants to help the poor and to promote the welfare of the people in general. For the rich, its benefit lies in cleansing their persons of stinginess--both in money and feelings. For the poor, its benefit lies in easing their circumstances. Zakah thus eliminates the causes of corruption which results from the increase of money in a few hands. It is this wisdom which the Qur'an refers to when it deals with the distribution of booty: "... that it becomes not a commodity between the rich among you" (al Hashr 7). Therefore, it is not reasonable to exempt businessmen from their societal obligations when they possess most of the nation's wealth.

Fiqh 3.19: When Goods can be Judged as Trading Goods

The author of al-Mughm states that: "Merchandise can only be considered as trading goods for two reasons:

1 The actual possession of merchandise is acquired by an act such as a commercial transaction, marriage, divorce demanded by the wife (khul'), acceptance of a gift, bequest, booty, and other lawful acquisition. This is because that which is not subject to zakah cannot be considered as so subsequent to its possession on the basis of niyyah (intention) only, as, for example, in the case of fasting. It does not make any difference whether a person came to possess such items by buying them or not because his possession is by an act similar to inheritance.

2 The goods are intended, at the time of possession, for trade. These are considered as non-trade goods even though the person intends to use them later for trade.

However, if he possesses these goods through inheritance and intends them for trade, they are not considered as trade goods because the determining factor in such cases is the status of acquisition, not the temporary state of trade. Mere intention will not provide a valid reason to change its status. For example, if a person intends to travel without embarking upon it, then the mere expression of his intention will not constitute the act of traveling. Likewise, if a person bought merchandise for trade and then intended it for possession, it would be considered as such and zakah will not be paid on it.

Fiqh 3.20: How is Zakah on Trade Money to be Paid

One who possesses merchandise with a nisab for a year should pay zakah on it, the amount of which is a quarter of a tenth of its value. This should be done by a businessman every year. However, the period of a year does not come into effect unless his inventory constitutes a nisab.

Assuming a businessman possesses merchandise short of a nisab and part of a year has passed, his inventory subsequently increases through an unusual rise in value (because of supply and demand or through price fluctuation) so that it constitutes a nisab; or he sold merchandise for the price of a nisab; or during the course of the year he comes to possess other merchandise which, together with his previous amount, completes a nisab; then, the hawl (for the purpose of zakah) starts at that time, and the time elapsed is not taken into consideration. This is the view of the Hanafiyyah, ath-Thauri, ashShaf'i, Ishaq, Abu 'Ubaid, Abu Thaur, and Ibn al-Munzhir.

According to Abu Hanifah, if the merchandise in possession constitutes a nisab at the beginning of the year and also at the end, zakah will still be applicable even though the nisab might have decreased within that time. The reason is that it is difficult to ascertain its completeness in the intervening period.

The Hanbaliyyah hold that if the merchandise decreases during the course of the year and increases again until it constitutes a nisab, the (requisite) period of a year starts all over again because it has been interrupted in its course by the decrease.

Fiqh 3.21: Zakah on plants and fruit

Allah has made zakah obligatory on plants and fruit, for He says: "O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth" [alBaqarah 267]. Zakah is called expenditure (nafaqah). Giving the justification for paying zakah on produce, Allah says: "He it is who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and the date palm and the crops of diverse flavors, and the olive, and the pomegranate, like and unlike. Eat of the fruit thereof when it produces fruit, and pay its due upon the harvest day" [alAn'am 141]. In his explanation of the word haqq (due) in the preceding 'ayah, Ibn 'Abbas says that by haqq is meant both the obligatory zakah and the 'ushr (tithe) and the half-tithe.

Fiqh 3.21 a: Zakah on Plants and Fruits at the Time of the Prophet

During the time of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, zakah was levied on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins.

Abu Burdah related from Abu Musa and Mu'azh that when the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, sent the (latter two) to Yemen to teach its inhabitants Islam, he commanded them to levy sadaqah only on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins. This hadith is related by ad-Daraqutni, al-Hakim, at-Tabarani, and al-Baihaqi.

Commenting on the status of the report, al-Baihaqi says that its chain is muttasil (uninterrupted) and its narrators are credible.

Whether sadaqah on such items should be considered zakah or not, Ibn al-Munzhir and ibn 'Abd al-Barr say: "The scholars are of the opinion that sadaqah is obligatory on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins." This opinion has its roots in a saying by Ibn Majah that the Messenger, upon whom be peace, regulated the payment of zakah on wheat, barley, dates, raisins and corn. Muhammad ibn 'Ubaidullah al-'Arzumi, a narrator in its chain, however, is of questionable status in the eyes of the scholars, and as such, his report is not credible.

Fiqh 3.22: Plants and Fruits Which Were Not Subject to Zakah

Zakah was not levied on vegetables or fruit, with the exception of grapes and fresh dates (rutab). 'Ata ibn as-Sa'ib reported that 'Abdullah ibn al-Mughirah wanted to levy sadaqah on Musa ibn Talha's vegetables. The latter objected, saying: "You have no right to do that. The Messenger of Allah used to say: 'There is no sadaqah on this [vegetables].' " This is related by ad-Daraqutni, alHakim, and al-Athram in his Sunan. This hadith is mursal.

Musa ibn Talhah says: "Five things [which were subject to zakah] were mentioned by the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: barley, wheat, sult [a kind of barley having no husk], raisins, and dates. Whatever else the land produces is not subject to the 'ushr. It is also reported that Mu'azh did not levy sadaqah on vegetables."

Commenting on the status of these reports, al-Baihaqi says: "All of these hadith are of the mursal kind but were reported from different authorities. Nevertheless, they confirm each other." The hadith on this subject include the sayings of 'Umar, 'Ali, and 'Aishah.

Al-Athram narrated that one of Caliph 'Umar's governors wrote to him conceming grape plantations, including peaches and pomegranates which produced twice as much harvest as the grapes. He wrote back: "There is no 'ushr (tithe) on them. They pertain to 'udah--items that cannot be distributed in inheritance."

At-Tirmizhi agrees with the preceding and says: "The practice [based upon this] among most jurists is not to levy sadaqah on vegetables." Al-Qurtubi also supports this: "Zakah is to be levied on the muqtat [land products used as stable food] and not on vegetables." In at-Ta'if, they used to grow pomegranates, peaches, and citrus, but there is no confirmation that the Prophet and his successors levied zakah on them.

Ibn al-Qayyim contends: "It was not his [the Prophet's] practice to levy zakah on horses, slaves, mules, donkeys, and vegetables, melons, cucumbers, and fruits, which cannot be stored or measured by capacity. The only exceptions were grapes and fresh dates. On the latter two kinds, zakah was levied as a whole, without differentiation whether or not they were dry."

Fiqh 3.23: The Opinion of Jurists

There is no difference of opinion among jurists concerning the obligatory nature of zakah on plants and fruits. They do, however, differ on the kinds of plants and fruits which should be subject to zakah. Here is the broad spectrum of opinions on the subject:

Al-Hasan al-Basri and ash-Shu'abi hold that zakah is only on the specified items (in the Qur'an and sunnah)--that is corn, dates, and raisins--since other kinds are not mentioned. Ash-Shaukani upholds this view.

Abu Hanifah maintains that zakah is due on every type of produce of the land including vegetables, but excluding what is not intentionally planted and cultivated such as firewood, bamboo, grass, and those trees which bear no fruit. His opinion is based upon the general meaning of the Prophet's saying: "From what the heavens irrigate, a tithe [is due]." The meaning is general and encompasses all types of arable products, which are planted to make the land grow, and therefore refers to any agricultural practices similar to the growing of grains (habb).

Abu Yusuf and Muhammad hold that zakah is payable on every product of the land, provided it lasts the whole year without too much care or treatment. This includes produce measured by capacity, such as grains, or by mass, such as cotton and sugar. If the produce does not last a whole year, such as the two kinds of cucumber (quththa' and khiyar), watermelons and others of their kind, there is no zakah on them.

Malik holds that zakah is payable on that which is produced on the land and which stays, becomes dry, and is planted by human beings. This includes land produce used as nonperishable food (muqtat), such as safflower and sesame seeds. According to him, there is no zakah on vegetables and fruits such as figs, pomegranates and apples. Ash-Shaf'i maintains that zakah is payable on any produce, provided the resulting crop is used as regular food which can be stored and planted by human beings, such as grains and barley.

An-Nawawi says: "Our opinion is that there is no zakah on any trees other than palm and grapevines. There is also no zakah on grains other than the one which is or can be stored, and no zakah on vegetables." Ahmad is of the opinion that there is zakah on everything that Allah causes the land to produce, such as grains and fruits, that can be dried, preserved, measured and planted by human beings, whether they be considered nonperishable foods, such as wheat and qutniyyat (including peas, beans, lentils and such other grains), or spices and herbs (ahariz), such as coriander, caraway seeds, or seeds such as linseed of the fluz plant (kittan seeds), the seeds of the two kinds of cucumber (quththa' and khiyar), or safflower and sesame seeds.

According to Ahmad, zakah is also payable on dry fruits such as dates, raisins, apricots, figs, almonds, hazel nuts, and pistachio nuts if the preceding specifications apply to them. There is no zakah on fresh fruit such as peaches, pears, apples, apricots, and figs. In the same way, it is not due on vegetables such as the two kinds of cucumber, watermelons, eggplants, turnips, and carrots.

Fiqh 3.24: Zakah on Olives

An-Nawawi says: "As for olives, our [Shaf'iyyah] view is that there is no zakah on them." This is also the opinion of Hasan ibn Salih, Ibn Abu Layla, and Abu 'Ubaid.

Scholars such as as-Zuhri, al-Auza'i, al-Layth, Malik, athThauri, Abu Hanifah, and Abu Thaur maintain that there is zakah on olives. Az-Zuhri, al-Layth, and al-Auza'i hold: "Determine its quantity by conjecture (yukharras), and then take its zakah in the form of olive oil," while Malik says: "There is no need to compute its quantity by conjecture (yukharras). Take a tithe subsequent to the olives being pressed and attain the weight of five awsuq."

Fiqh 3.24 a: The Origin of the Different Opinions Concerning Zakah on Plants and Fruits

Of their differences on the payment of zakah pertaining to plants and fruits, Ibn Rushd informs us: "The difference of opinion lies in the fact that some jurists confine paying of zakah to only those items of consumption which are generally agreed upon, while others go beyond those items and include dried fruits in them too. [The crux of the issue is]: What qualifies the four edible items [wheat, barley, dates, and dried grapes] for zakah? Are they subject to zakah because of their being delineated as such or because of their special import to the subsistence of life? Those who subscribe to the first view restrict payment of zakah to the four edibles, and those who subscribe to the second view extend the obligation to all land produce except for grass, firewood, and bamboo. There is a consensus on the latter being excluded from zakah. However, when it comes to the use of analogy based on a general statement, both groups rest on shaky ground."

The saying of the Prophet, which uses the expression allazhi yaqtazhi, reads: "From what the heavens water, a tithe [is due], and from what is watered by irrigation [nazh] a half a tithe." The relative pronoun ma is used to mean al-lazhi, which is a general expression. Allah, the Exalted, also says: "It is He who has brought into being gardens--both the cultivated ones and those growing wild--and the date palm, and fields bearing multiform produce, and the olive trees, and the pomegranate: all resembling one another and yet so different. Eat of their fruit when it comes to fruition, and give unto the poor their due on the harvest day ..." [al-An'am 141].

Analogically speaking, zakah aims at counteracting poverty and this cannot be done through zakah on land produce which is edible and sustains life.

Restricting a general statement with this kind of analogical reasoning vitiates zakah on all land produce except ones which sustain life. Those who follow the general import of the Prophet's saying add some more to the generally acknowledged four items. Excluded of course are the ones on which there is consensus.

Again, those who agree upon land produce of a subsistance kind often differ over whether it can be considered as being subsistent. Can analogical reasoning be the basis of what they agree upon or not? An example of such a disagreement is that of Malik and ash-Shaf'i regarding olives. Malik holds that zakah on olives is obligatory, while ash-Shaf'i is against it, according to a latter view expressed in Egypt. The reason for his disagreement is whether olives could be considered as food vital for life or not.

Fiqh 3.26: Nisab of Plants and Fruits

Most scholars say that there is no zakah on plants or fruits until they attain the amount of five awsuq. Furthermore, this becomes applicable only after the chaff, straw, and husk are removed. If it is not cleansed of husk, then the amount of zakah would be ten awsuq.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "There is no sadaqah (zakah) on that which is less than five awsuq." It is also narrated by Ahmad and al-Baihaqi with a good chain.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "There is no sadaqah on any amount of dates or grains less than five awsuq." A wusuq by consensus of opinion is sixty sa'as (a cubic measure of varying magnitude). This hadith is said to be munqati that is--a hadith with an interrupted chain.

Both Abu Hanifah and Mujahid hold that zakah is due on any amount, little or big, in accordance with the generic nature of the Prophet's saying: "From what the heavens water, a tithe [is due] ..." This is because land produce is perishable and cannot be preserved for a whole year. In that case, such produce does not attain a nisab within a one-year period.

Ibn al-Qayyim's discussion of the subject is that the authentic and explicit sunnah for a tithe's nisab is the hadith: "From what the heavens water, a tithe [is due], and from what is watered by irrigation (gharb-vessel) a half a tithe." This is applicable to both small and large quantities as opposed to the specific amount mentioned in other hadith. In its application, a generic statement is as important as a specific one. Should there be a conflict between the two, then the most comprehensive will be applicable. This is the rule.

It has been said that both of the preceding hadith ought to be followed. In their essence, they do not contradict each other, nor does one of them have to cancel the other. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, has to be obeyed in this matter, for he said: "From what the heavens water, a tithe [is due] . . ." This saying seeks to distinguish between the two (categories): one on which a tithe is due, and the other on which only half of the tithe is due. He therefore distinguished between the two categories only in respect to the amount due. There is no mention of any amount of nisab in this hadith. However, he mentioned it explicitly in another hadith which cannot be ignored as something that is general or is intended to be so and not otherwise. It is similar to other statements of general import which have been explained in the texts.

Ibn Qudamah concludes: "The saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, that 'there is no sadaqah [zakah] on anything less than five awsuq' is agreed upon. This hadith is specific, and for this reason takes precedence and clarifies his previous statement of general import. This is similar to his saying that 'zakah is due on all freely grazing camels,' which becomes explicit by his other saying on the same subject: 'There is no sadaqah on less than five camels.' Likewise his saying: 'Sadaqah on silver is a fourth of the tithe,' becomes specific by a latter utterance: 'There is no sadaqah on any amount less than five ounces.' Thus, it is possible to have holdings which qualify for sadaqah per se, but on which it is not levied."

When it comes to land produce, possession of a property for a year cannot be used as criterion, because their maturity or growth is completed by the time of harvest, and not by their continuity extended beyond a year. However, possession is considered for goods other than land produce since it is generally assumed that by the end of the year they must have completed their growth. The principle of attaining a nisab on any property is based on the understanding that a nisab is an amount large enough to be subjected to zakah. This may be explained by recalling that sadaqah is obligatory for the rich, which presupposes the existence of nisab generated by their holdings. For produce which cannot be measured but qualifies for zakah, a sa'a is used. One sa'a is a measure equal to one and one-third cups (gadah). Thus, a nisab is fifty kaylah (kaylah is a dry measure of weight, in Egypt it is equal to 16.72 L). As to the produce which cannot be measured, Ibn Quadamah says: "The nisab of saffron, cotton and such items is to be weighed at 1,600 Iraqi pounds (ratl, an Iraqi ratl equals approximately 130 dirhams). Thus, its weight is estimated."

Abu Yusuf says that if the produce cannot be measured, then zakah can only be levied on it when its value attains the nisab of articles subject to the lowest standard of measurement. Thus, zakah will not be levied on cotton until its value reaches five awsuq of an article to the lowest value so measured, such as barley and the like. This is because it is impossible to measure the article in itself except by the lower price of two nisabs. According to Muhammad ibn al-Hasan: "For zakah, a product has to reach five times the greatest value of its kind. Thus, zakah is not payable on cotton when it reaches five qintars, because evaluation by means of wusuq is based on the consideration that its value is higher than what is valued in kind."

Fiqh 3.28: The Rate of Zakah

The rate of zakah differs according to the method of irrigation. If it is watered naturally without the use of artificial means, then the zakah payable is a tithe (one-tenth) of the produce. However, if it is irrigated by a mechanical device or with purchased water, then the zakah payable is half a tithe.

Mu'azh reports that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "On that which is watered by the heavens, or by an adjacent water channel, a tithe is due. As for what is irrigated through a well or a stream, its zakah is half a tithe." This hadith is narrated by alBaihaqi and al-Hakim, and is graded sahih.

Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "On that which is watered by the heavens or springs or its own roots, a tithe is due, and on that watered by a well or a stream, half a tithe." This hadith is narrated by al-Bukhari and others.

In case the land is watered equally by artificial as well as natural means, then zakah payable will be three-fourths of a tithe.

Ibn Qudamah stated that he did not know of any difference of opinion on the preceding hadith. If one method of watering is used more than the other, then for calculating zakah, this would be the determining factor. This is the view of Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, athThauri, and ash-Shaf'i (one of his two opinions).

All of the costs involved in harvesting, transportation, threshing, cleaning, storing, and others are to be borne by the owner from his property and should not be accounted for against the zakah to be paid.

Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn 'Umar hold that whatever is borrowed for the purpose of tilling, planting, and harvesting should first be taken out.

This is evident from their following statements reported by Jabir ibn Zaid that Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn 'Umar said that a man who borrows in order to spend it either on cultivation (of his land) or on his family must first pay off his debt, then pay zakah on the rest. Ibn 'Abbas said: "First he must pay off what he spent on cultivation, and then pay zakah on the rest." Yahya ibn Adam related this in al-Kharaj.

Ibn Hazm relates from 'Ata that all expenses are to be deducted first. If zakah is applicable to the remaining amount, only then will it be paid.

Fiqh 3.29: Zakah on Kharajiyyah Land

Land subject to tax is divided into two categores:

1 'ushriyyah land (tithe land): land owned by people who accepted Islam willingly or who were conquered by force and had their land divided among the conquerors, or land revived and cultivated by Muslims; and

2 kharajiyyah land (taxable land), land conquered by force and left to its original owners on the condition that they pay the required land tax.

Just as zakah is payable on 'ushriyyah, so it is paid on kharajiyyah when the inhabitants of the latter accept Islam or when a Muslim buys it. In that case, both the tithe and the kharaj become due, and neither of them will negate the application of the other.

Ibn al-Munzhir witnesses: "This is the view of most of the scholars, including 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz, Rabi'ah, az-Zuhri, Yahya al-Ansari, Malik, al-Awzai, ath-Thauri, al-Hasan ibn Salih, Ibn Abu Layla, al-Layth, Ibn al-Mubarak, Ahmad, Ishaq, Abu 'Ubaid, and Dawud." Their opinion is derived from the Qur'an, the sunnah, and the exercise of their intellect--that is, by means of analogical reasoning or qiyas.

The Qur'anic verse referred to is: "O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned and of that which We produce from the earth for you" [al-Baqarah 267]. Sharing the produce of ones land with the poor is obligatory, whether the land is kharajiyyah or 'ushriyyah. The sunnah referred to is: "From what the heavens water, a tithe [is due]." This hadith encompasses in its general meaning both the kharaj and the 'ushriyyah land.

As to the analogical reasoning (qiyas), both zakah and kharaj are a kind of obligations (hagq), each based on a different reason, and one does not nullify the other. It is similar to the case when a person who is in the state of ihram kills privately owned game (for eating). Since the tithe is payable by the force of the text, it cannot be negated by kharaj, which becomes payable by the force of ijtihad. Abu Hanifah holds that there is no tithe on kharaj land. Kharaj, he says, is due only when the land is conquered, (whereas) one of the conditions governing the obligatory nature of the tithe is that the land should not be kharajiyyah.: The Validity of Abu Hanifah's View

Imam Abu Hanifah provides the following evidence for his view: According to Ibn Mas'ud, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Neither kharaj nor tithe ['ushr] are payable simultaneously on the land of a Muslim."

The preceding hadith is by consensus held to be weak (da'if). Yahya ibn 'Anbasah reported it on the authority of Abu Hanifah from Hammad from Ibrahim an-Nakha'i from 'Alqamah, from Ibn Mas'ud from the Prophet, upon whom be peace.

Al-Baihaqi probes its chain and says in al-Ma'rifah as-Sunan wa al-Athar: "The preceding hadith is narrated by Abu Hanifah from Hammad from Ibrahim on his own authority. Thus, Yahya reported in suspended (marfu') form." Yahya ibn 'Anbasah is well-known for interpolating unauthentic sayings and attributing them to established authorities. This was related by Abu Ahmad ibn 'Adiyy al-Hafiz as we were informed by Abu Sa'id al-Malini about him."

Likewise, al-Kamal Ibn al-Humam, a leading Hanafiyyah, considers the hadith weak.

Ahmad, Muslirn, and Abu Dawud relate from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Iraq would refrain from paying its qafiz' and dirham, Syria its mudd and dinar, and Egypt its ardab and dinar. Thus, you would come back from where you had started." He said this three times. Abu Hurairah heard this in person.

This hadith does not provide evidence to the effect that zakah should not be taken from kharaj land. The scholars interpret it to mean that the conversion of these countries to Islam would eliminate land tax. It may also have alluded to dissensions which could prevail at the end of time and which would lead to neglecting or fulfilling the obligation of zakah, jizyah and other such dues by them.

An-Nawawi says: "If this hadith means what they [the Hanafiyyah] claim, then it means that zakah could not be enjoined on dirhams, dinars, and merchandise. If this is so, then nobody subscribes to it."

It was reported that when the dahqan (grandee) of Bahr al-Mulk embraced Islam, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said: "Give him the land and collect the land tax from him." This is a clear statement on the matter of taking kharaj without demanding payment of the tithe.

This incident indicates that kharaj is not cancelled for any person after he embraces Islam, nor does it lead to the cancellation of tithe. He mentioned kharaj here as a way of stating that it will not be cancelled by embracing Islam, like jizyah. As for the tithe, it is well known that it is binding on a free Muslim, so there is no need to mention it. He also did not mention the levy of zakah on cattle. This holds for the payment of zakah on silver and gold and other valuables. Perhaps the dahqan (grandee) did not possess anything which required the levy of a tithe on it.

It is said that the practice of the rulers and imams was not to combine the 'ushr and kharaj. Ibn al-Munzhir disapproves of such a practice because 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz did combine the two.

It is also said that kharaj is the opposite of 'ushr. This means that kharaj is a consequence of conquest, whereas 'ushr is an act of worship. Therefore, the two cannot be combined (at one time) and obtained simultaneously from the same person. This held true in the beginning (when lands were conquered), but it is not tenable in the long run. Nevertheless, not all forms of kharaj are based on force and conquest since some of its forms are instituted without force as, for example, in the case of lands adjoining a kharaj land or in the case of acquired and revived land watered with streams.

It is also said that the reason behind the imposition of kharaj and 'ushr is one--that is, an actually or potentially yielding land. This can be explained by recalling that if it is marsh land of no benefit (sabkhah), there is no kharaj or 'ushr on it. That is, one cause cannot demand two dues of the same kind. This is similar to the case of an individual who for a year possesses free-grazing camels (sa'imah) intended for sale, for such a person is not required to pay two kinds of zakah--that is, one for possession and one for trade.

This is not the case because the 'ushr (tithe) is payable on the land's produce and the kharaj on the land itself, regardless of whether it is planted or not. As to the admissibility of the unity of cause, alKamal ibn al-Humam explains there is nothing to prevent two obligations from being connected to one cause, such as land.

Most scholars are of the opinion that anyone who rents a piece of land and cultivates it must pay the zakah, not the true owner of that land. To this Abu Hanifah replies: "Zakah is due on the land owner." Ibn Rushd holds: "Their difference lies in whether the 'ushr is payable on the land itself or its produce." Obviously, zakah, as their views suggest, is payable on either of them. The difference is only of priority, considering that both the produce and the land belong to the same owner. Most scholars say that zakah is due on seeds (habb). Abu Hanifah holds that the essence of obligation rests with the land. Ibn Qudamah inclines toward the majority's view and says: "The obligation lies on the produce and is payable by its owner, as in the case of zakah on the value [of a property] intended for trade. Also, it is similar to the tithe payable on the produce of the land owned." Their (the Hanafiyyah) view is not authentic, for if zakah were to be levied on the value of the land, then it would have been obligatory even if the land was not cultivated, as is the case with the land tax, and even nonMuslirns would not be excluded from its application. Be that the case, kharaj would have to be estimated on the land itself, not on the value of produce--that is, it would be considered part of the expenditure of fay', not the expenditure of zakah.