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Zakah On Combining Young and Old (Animals) or Separating Them

Nov 22, 2019, 12:30 PM

Suwaid ibn Ghaflah said: “The zakah collector of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, came to us and I heard him say: ‘We do not collect zakah on suckling animals, nor do we separate between them [young and old], nor combine them together.’ A man came with a great humped camel (kawma), but he did not accept it as zakah.” It was reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i.

 Anas reported that Abu Bakr wrote to him: “These are the sadaqah stipulations which the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, made obligatory to the Muslims. [And of it] do not combine. There is no need to gather [young and old] animals nor to separate them to obtain the correct sadaqah amount. What happens to a mixture of young and old? When zakah is assessed on two associates, then they have to figure it out equally among them.” Al-Bukhari relates this.

Malik, in al-Muwatta’, says: “There are, for example, three partners, each having forty sheep on which zakah is payable. If they add their sheep together, their zakah will be only one sheep. Or, another example: two partners have 201 sheep. Their zakah will be three sheep. If they divide the flock among them, their zakah will be one sheep each.”

Ash-Shaf’i holds that this statement is addressed to both the owner and the zakah collector. Each is ordered not to add or separate his possessions to obtain a lower or higher sadaqah. Since the owner would naturally prefer a low sadaqah on his property, he would combine or separate his possessions accordingly. The same would also be true of the zakah collector, who might like to collect as much sadaqah as possible. By using the phrase khashyat Assadaqah (for fear of Sadagah), the Prophet meant that it may become more or less since both altematives were possible. This shows that he did not prefer one choice over the other. Therefore, he made both altematives possible. According to the Hanafiyyah: “This is, in a sense, a prohibition on the zakah collector’s separating the property of a person so that his sadaqah is not increased. For example: a man possesses 120 sheep. If they are divided into three lots of forty each, the zakah would amount to three sheep. Another example: if they combine the property of one man with the property of another, the sadaqah would increase. Thus, if a person owns 101 sheep and another owns an equal number, then the zakah collector, if he combines the two lots, would secure three sheep as payment toward zakah, while the actual amount due is only two sheep.”

Does Combining (Animals) Have any Effect? 

The Hanafiyyah hold that as far as the determination of zakah is concerned, combining (animals) has no effect. Whether such a combination is between partners or has ensued because of contiguity does not matter. There will be no zakah on the joint ownership of partners unless each of them attains a nisab. The consensus is that zakah has to be determined on the basis of sole ownership.

The Malikiyyah maintain that ownership of cattle is considered as one for the purpose of zakah. The combination becomes valid only for zakah when the co-owners in their own right possess a nisab. In addition to this, they should have a common herdsman, a common breed, a common pen, and the expressed intention of having joint ownership. If the herd of one of them is distinguished from the other, they will be considered two separate entities. In that case, each individual becomes liable for zakah. The combination affects livestock. What is taken as zakah from the herd will be distributed among the partners in accordance with each one’s share. If the property of one of the associates is separate, then all of it is considered combined.

According to the Shaf’iyyah, every share of the combination affects the zakah and the zakah on two or more associates’ separate properties becomes due. This may affect the amount of zakah due; for example, if two men, each possessing twenty sheep, combine their sheep, the zakah due is one, but if they do not combine them, then there is no zakah on either one. On the other hand, a combination of 101 sheep with the same number results in a zakah of one and one-half sheep. However, if the flocks of sheep are considered separately, then the zakah due on each lot is only one sheep. As for the case of three associates, each of them having forty sheep, if they combine them, the zakah due is one sheep-that is, the zakah due for each partner is one-third of a sheep. However, if treated separately, each should pay one sheep. In addition to this, the Shaf’iyyah moreover stipulates the following:

The partners should qualify financially to pay zakah.

The combined property must attain a nisab.

Its zakah is due at the end of the year.

None of the properties is singled out from the others as regards resting pen, grazing area, watering, herdsmen, and milking sheds.

Flocks of the same kind are bred by the same ram.

Ahmad agrees with the Shaf’iyyah, except that he limited the effect of combination to cattle and does not take into consideration any other properties.

Zakah on Buried Treasure and Precious Minerals 

The term rikaz is etymologically derived from rakaza, the perfect tense of the verb yarkuzu (the imperfect root). It means ‘to be hidden.’ Allah, the Exalted One, says: “Or hear from them the slightest sound” [Maryam 98]--that is, rikz means a slight sound.

In the present context, this refers to what was buried at the time of Jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period). Malik and many other scholars are of the opinion that rikaz means objects buried before the Arabs embraced Islam and which were dug up without any expensive effort or money. If these conditions cannot be met, then it is not considered Rikaz. Abu Hanifah holds that it is a name of an entity hidden either by the Creator or by the created one (man).

To be continued