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 is the 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’ [al-A’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 an-Nawawi’s al-Majrnu’.”
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, (SAW), 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.’ “
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.”
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 al-Bukhari and Muslim.
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.
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.”
To be continued