Levy, payment, collection and distribution of Zakat in a manner as has been ordered is of much importance for the socio-economic development of any muslim society. It has enormous advantages in promotion of purifying the wealth of the rich and also meeting the needs of poor. The other advanges of Zakat are:
1. It is our religious obligation and one who pays Zakat is blessed by Allah almighty by further increase in wealth of the payer of the Zakat. 2. Due to Zakat, the poor people in the society are helped for meeting their needs. It secures the society from the development of evils. 3. The relationship between rich and poor is strengthened and the poor do not feel themselves as deprived. 4. Zakat promotes generosity and sympathy towards the poor and needy persons. 5. A person who pays Zakat feels quite relieved of his/her religious duty and also that his/her wealth has been santified after payment of Zakat.
Zakat is obligatory on the people who hold the following four types of properties:
1. Earth produce like grains and fruits etc. 2. The grazing animals 3. Gold and silver in any form 4. Commercial commodities.
A nisab has been fixed for Zakat due or not due and a minimum quantity or amount is stipulated, below which there is no Zakat due
Following is the minimum Nisab for Zakat:
Zakat on the 1st category: Earth produce
It may be in the shape of grains, fruits, wheat, rice, grapes, dates, barley etc it comes to 5 wasq which is approximately six hundred and seventy five kg of weight.
Here the payment of Zakat would be as follows:
1/10th or 10% of the total produce in case cultivation, irrigation was made through rains or canal or fountain etc and the farmer has not made any extra effort/expense. 1/20th or 5% of the total produce in case cultivation, irrigation was made by waterwheels and other devices for irrigation, and which involved extra labour.
Zakat on the 2nd category: grazing animals.
The subject is very lengthy and complicated. Therefore it is decided on case to case basis in the light of authentic Ahadith of the prophet (peace be upon him) or it can be consulted from scholars of Ahadith.
Zakat on the 3rd category: Gold, Silver and Cash etc:
For gold the minimum nisab is 20 Misqals approximately 92 grams, for silver the minimum nisab is 140 misqals approximately 595 grams
For Gold, Silver or Cash the amount of zakat is 2.5% of the total value/quantity provided it was possessed for atleast one year. The said ruling also applies on true goods, such as currency notes, coins, bills etc in any currency. However for the earthen produce and grazing animals the condition of time does not apply.
For the ornaments for personal use, some of the scholars have difference of opinion as to whether Zakat is payable on them or not. Therefore it is better to ask the scholar for the best opinion in the light of authentic ahadith.
ZAKAT on the 4th category, i.e. Commercial commodities which also includes land/buildings etc
For commercial commodities, the owner should calculate at the end of every year the present value in gross for payment of Zakat where the amount due would be 1/40th or 2.5%. Every saleable item, whether it is land, building, car, vehicle or machinery etc all fall under this category. If any building is purchased/constructed for rental purpose, zakat would be due on the rent received if it comes within the parameters of Nisab and not the building.
Please also keep in mind that:
1.If someone is indebted but he holds anything which is levyable to Zakat, Zakat will have to be paid. Indebtedness is no excuse for non payment of zakat. 2.There is no exemption for the wealth or money of the orphans and mentally retarded people. If there wealth or money reaches at the point of Nisab and one has passed, the Zakat will be due for payment. In this connection the guardians will give out Zakat in their behalf when Zakat is due.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DESERVE ZAKAT
The following eight categories deserve Zakat as has been mentioned in Quran Ch9 v60.
1. Fuqara (the poor) 2. Al-Masakeen (the poor) 3. Those employed to collect Zakat 4. Those who have been inclined towards Islam 5. To get the captives free 6. To those who are in indebtedness 7. Those who are struggling in the cause of Allah 8. To the wayfarer (who is cut off from everything).
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