Question: How should one calculate the minimum level of richness to determine whether one is obligated to give zakat?
It is as follows:
1. The minimum zakatable amount called nisab is 20 mithqal, that is, 96 grams of gold or its equivalent in cash or trade goods. One who possesses minimum amount of wealth requiring one to pay zakat or to perform udhiyyah is defined as rich. When a complete (lunar) year passes over the date after one has become rich, it will be fard (obligatory) upon one to give zakat. In our religion, the zakatable assets of a wife and a husband are calculated separately. Zakat is due upon the one who qualifies as a rich person.
2. Receivables are included in the nisab of zakat. After one has collected them, one must give zakat for previous years as well. It is permissible to give the zakat of receivables before one collects them, too. One's debts must be deducted from one's money or assets, and the zakat must be paid on the remainder.
3. Things that are not for trading purposes, such as houses, pieces of land, vehicles, or fixtures, are not included in the calculations to determine nisab. Zakat must be given on assets purchased for trading purposes, gold, silver, and all forms of currency. Zakat is not given on houses or cars. However, the one who buys and sells cars, houses, or pieces of land (that is, one does it as a job) must pay zakat on them.
4. Decreases or increases in zakatable assets throughout a year are not taken into consideration. After a year passes over the date when one has reached nisab, one-fortieth of it must be given if the remainder reaches nisab. Zakat must be given on the whole money and trade goods, not only on profit.
5. Property that is lost, that has been usurped, or the place where it was buried has been forgotten, and dues that are denied are not included in the calculation of nisab. If they are recovered, the zakat of previous years is not paid. Dues for which there are written proofs or two witnesses or that are confessed by the debtors, are included in the nisab even if they are kept by an insolvent or a poor person. When one receives them, one pays zakat for previous years as well.
6. Zakat is not due upon a woman's jewelry except gold and silver. She does not have to give zakat on her diamond, emerald, etc. In the Shafi'i Madhhab, she does not have to give zakat on her jewelry even if it is gold or silver. (Hidaya)
7. Destruction of nisab means its coming down to zero or its being reduced below zero due to getting into debt.
8. If one calculates zakat wrongly and gives two gold coins instead of one gold coin before due-date, one can deduct this one gold coin from the zakat of the following year if one realizes one's mistake. If one gives zakat less than the calculated amount before due-date, one must complete it when due-date comes.
9. Salaries and wages that civil servants and employees are to receive do not become their property before they receive them because though they are rightful entitlements, goods rightfully entitled to one do not become one's property before one takes possession of them. The money that is deducted from them by unions or insurance companies and that has not been received yet are not included in the calculation of zakat.
10. Gold and silver are counted as trade goods regardless of the purpose they are kept. Zakat must be given on them if one reaches nisab when one calculates them together with other forms of currency and trade goods.
11. A woman is permitted to give zakat to her husband who is poor and in debt. A woman who will be given gold by her husband as her non-muajjal mahr (deferred mahr) must include it in the nisab of zakat. Zakat is not due upon a woman's jewelry except gold and silver; she does not have to give zakat on her diamond, emerald, etc. In the Shafi'i Madhhab, a woman does not have to give zakat on her jewelry even if it is gold or silver. (Hidaya)
12. Zakat is given after it has become fard (obligatory) on a person. When one has reached nisab, one should write down that lunar date. For example, if one has reached nisab on Rajab 3, one must give zakat on Rajab 3 the following year if one possesses money or trade goods reaching nisab. One does not have to wait for Ramadan to come in order to give zakat. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with giving zakat before due-date. Nay, it is better. One is even permitted to give zakat of the next few years in advance. If one calculates one's zakat wrongly and gives two gold coins instead of one gold coin before due-date, one can deduct a gold coin from the zakat of the following year.
13. Shares are of two types: registered shares and bearer shares. Bearer shares are transferable. That is, they may change hands many times like foreign currency. They may be sold whenever a holder wishes. Bearer shares, like trade goods, must be included in nisab as per the market value of it on the date when zakat is calculated. One who purchases a registered share must include one's money, except fixtures and fittings of the factory, in the nisab of zakat when due-date comes.
14. If, when fish raised in a lake are sold, the money earned reaches nisab together with other zakatable assets, the zakat of it must be given. If one has a few cows and sells plenty of milk, one does not have to give zakat on the cows. However, the money one earns from milk must be included in the nisab of zakat when due-date comes.
15. Even a Muslim who does not perform salat regularly or fast in the month of Ramadan must give zakat, too. It is makruh to give zakat to a poor person without any debt as much as the amount of nisab or more. When giving zakat, it is not necessary to explain to the recipient that one is giving zakat. It is permissible to say that it is a gift. Zakat is given from goods one trades in or their equivalent in gold.
Question: Some people say that it is necessary to retouch the nisab of zakat. Is the nisab of zakat not definite?
Today, there are people, as if the religion were sent recently, who try to change the rulings that have been practiced for 14 centuries and that were explained and confirmed by Islamic scholars. Some try to eliminate hijab. Some encourage women to perform salat during menstruation and postnatal bleeding. Some deny qadar. They attempt to change one's fate by using such statements as "Poverty is not our qadar." Some praise Kharijites by describing them as the earliest democratic and republican group in the history of Islam.
Some claim that Doomsday will occur in the near future. Once a strange man said, "A devastating earthquake will take place in Istanbul, and five million people will die. Wise ones should leave Istanbul." It is written in the Qur'an al-karim that no one, except Allah, knows when Doomsday will occur. Today, it is not possible to foreknow the time when an earthquake will strike. It is haram to distress people by giving news from unknown.
A reformist movement continues in the world. At some places, salat, one of the five fundamentals of Islam, is conducted before its due time with a wiev to rendering it invalid. People are made to perform hajj a day before due-time so that it will not be valid. Zakat must be given in gold, in silver or in goods one buys and sells. However, people give it from other goods; as a result, zakat is not valid. Nowadays, some people try to eliminate udhiyyah. They say that people should not sacrifice animals and instead should give the money to the poor. Could our religion not say that the money spent for sacrificing animals had to be given to the poor if there were people in need? Was our Master the Prophet not able to think it? Were Islamic scholars not able to think it for 1400 years?
Such a suggestion can be made either by a person ignorant of Islam or by a person who wants to alter it. In Islam, if a man, for example, has 29 cows, 39 sheep, and 4 camels together with 50 grams of gold, he does not have to give zakat. Moreover, if he has animals other than the mentioned ones to benefit from their wool, to carry loads, or to ride, he does not have to give zakat on them either because saima animals (if those animals that graze in the fields free of charge for more than half of the year are intended for breeding [or for milk], they are termed saima animals) of different families, such as camels and cattle, are not added to one another or to other commercial goods during the calculation of the nisab of zakat. He, though he has so much wealth, does not have to give zakat because Islam prescribed so. If one adds them one another during the calculation of nisab, one has left the way prescribed by the religion. If another person, on the other hand, does not have so much wealth but has 100 grams of gold, he/she is, Islamically, considered rich and has to give zakat. It is out of place if the reformist says "One who has much wealth does not give zakat but one who has lesser than it must give." Nay, one has to give ushr on crops, even if one is poor.
The reason why these matters are raised as problematic is that people do not act on fiqh books. In Islam, there is nothing that is missing. There will be no problem if we follow fiqh books. According to fiqh books, the value of goods is not determined by currency, cows, cattle, or camels. It is written in the book Kashf-i Rumuz, "The value of goods is determined by gold and silver." Today, as the value of gold is lesser, even lesser than one-seventh, when compared with that of gold, it is written in Radd al-Mukhtar that calculations of zakat must be scaled to only gold coins.
The value of trade goods is not calculated by gold or silver which is not used for money. It is calculated by the one that has the lowest value of the kinds of gold and silver money monetized by the government. For those who believe what fiqh books say, this is the truth of the matter.
Question: A reformist writer reduces the nisab of zakat from 96 grams to 80 grams because he thinks that it is more advantageous to the poor. Is what he does not a reform?
Units of measurements are designated as shar’i (Islamic) and ’urfi (customary) units. Shar’i units are the ones used during the era of our Prophet Muhammad sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sallam. 'Urfi units are different from shar'i units. ’Urfi units denote units of measurement adopted by the government. The nisab of gold is 20 mithqals. The weight of one mithqal differs in the four madhhabs. In the Hanafi Madhhab, one mithqal is 20 qirats (carats). One qirat-i shar’i (qirat in the Shari'ah) equals five peeled cut-ends of dry barley seeds. During experiments made on a very accurate balance, it has been observed that 5 seeds of barley with this quality weighed 0.24 g. Hence, one shar’i mithqal is 100 seeds of barley, that is, 4.8 g. Hence, the nisab of gold is (20 x 4.8) 96 g.
If one uses the weight of the ’urfi qirat (0.20 g) during the calculation, the product of 4 grams would not be the correct weight of a shar’i mithqal. By using the wrong qirat designation, it is incorrect to say the nisab of gold equals 4x20=80 grams. Hadrat Ibn Abidin says in the topic of the zakat of assets, "Qirat-i urfi is 4 seeds of barley." The writer mentioned in the question says, "In the beginning, I, in conformity with what Islamic scholar said, stated that the nisab of gold was 96 g. However, I now shift to 80 g because it is more advantageous to the poor." Is what is more advantageous to the poor a criterion in the religion everywhere and every time? If it is, why does he shift to 80 g instead of 70 g? If the nisab were 10 grams of gold, would it not be much more advantageous to the poor? If the nisab were 10 g, would it not be advantageous to the poor? Nay, if the nisab for gold were removed completely, would it not be much more advantageous? Changing the nisab of gold on the pretext of the benefit of the poor by disregarding the standard stated by scholars is a reform in the religion. We must not believe reformists who try to alter the religion based on their own personal thoughts. We must ask them a reference from credible fiqh books.
Question: Every year people talk about 20 mithqals of gold for zakat and certain amount of flour and wheat for sadaqa al-fitr. What is the use of it? Is it not sufficient to calculate and to announce the amount of zakat and fitra in lira in Turkey and in euro in Germany? Secondly, Shafi'is clean najasat with soil instead of detergent. Why do they not move with the times?
It is not we who founded the religion that we can have the authority to change it. No one has the authority to add something to or deduct something from it. Alterations made to the religion are termed bid'at. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif:
(Every bid'at is deviation, and a person of deviation is in Hell.) [Muslim]
Our religion states that the nisab of zakat, sadaqa al-fitr, qurban and value of goods are determined by gold. (Kashf-i Rumuz)
The amount of nisab is calculated with the one that has the lowest value of the kinds of gold and silver money monetized by the government. It is not calculated with gold or silver which is not used for money. This rule is valid until Doomsday. For example, today it is calculated based on the gold coins, such as Aziz, Hamid [they are used in Turkey], with the lowest value. One who possesses 20 mithqals of gold or its equivalent in trade goods is considered rich. If a complete lunar year has passed, one must pay zakat on it. (Radd-ul-Mukhtar)
Zakat of sheep is one-fortieth. That is, one who possesses 40 sheep must give one of them as zakat. No one has the authority to change it to one-thirtieth or one-fiftieth. For sadaqa al-fitr, certain amount of wheat, flour, barley, dates, or raisins is given. That is, the amount prescribed for them must be taken as standard. It cannot be scaled to bananas or walnuts. The standard is what Islam prescribed. For example, as our religion says, "As sadaqa al-fitr, 3500 grams of barley or its equivalent in gold or silver must be given," this rule is valid until Doomsday.
Whoever revealed the religion is the one who has the authority to change it. Islamic law does not change with the times. No new interpretation can be made on it with the arrival of a new century. Tafsir is not made according to the needs of a century. In the Shafi'i Madhhab, if a wet dog touches somewhere, it is necessary to wash it with water seven times. One of the washings must be done with a water-soil mixture. It is not correct to say, "Today there are soap and detergent. There is no need to wash it with soil-water mixture." We must obey the orders of our religion in exactly the same way as it prescribed them. We have nothing to say for those who do not want to obey them.
Question: Are salaries and wages to be received included in the nisab of zakat?
Salaries and wages that civil servants and employees are to receive are not included in the calculation of nisab before they are received.
Question: We have inherited money that we have not shared yet. Do we have to include it in the nisab of zakat?
Yes, it must be included in the nisab, but you do not have to give zakat on it until you receive it. When you receive it, you do not have to give zakat on it for previous years.
Question: Is a gold tooth included in the nisab of zakat?
Yes, it is included.
Question: Is the land that one has intended afterward to sell included in the nisab of zakat?
No, it is not included.
Question: Should a man who has the debt of mahr to his wife deduct this amount from the nisab of zakat?
Yes, he must deduct it from the nisab of zakat. One's debts are deducted from one's nisab no matter who the creditor is.
Question: Are loans paid in 25 or 30 years in installments deducted from the nisab of zakat?
Yes, the entire amount is deducted, even if they are paid in 30 years by monthly installments.
Question: Today is the day when I must give my zakat. Can I deduct from the nisab of zakat the money that I will pay for hajj after 10 days?
No, it is not deducted from the nisab of zakat.
Question: When calculating zakat, should I deduct the rent that I will pay?
The rent that has already fallen due is deducted from the nisab of zakat, but rent for upcoming months is not deducted.
Question: Is a timeshare included in the nisab of zakat?
No, it is not included.
Question: If one has two or three houses and has given them on rent, does one have to give zakat? If not, can one receive zakat?
Houses, even if they are more than one, are not included in the nisab of zakat. However, they are included in the nisab of udhiyyah. It is haram for a person having the nisab of udhiyyah to receive zakat. (Radd-ul-Mukhtar)
Question: How should we pay zakat on rental coming from our houses?
Rental income is not different from other types of income. For example, the calculation is not made by taking the entire rent of a year into account. When one's zakat due-date comes, one must check whether one's money has reached nisab or not. If it has reached nisab, one must give zakat on it.
Question: I have 12 kilograms of silver at home, e.g., a silver candy bowl, silver ewer, silver plate. How much zakat should I pay for 12 kilograms of silver?
For 12 kilograms of unprocessed silver, 300 grams of silver or its equivalent in gold must be given. If it is processed, zakat is given based on the value of it by taking the value of art and workmanship into account. For example, if 12 kilograms of silver is worth 6000 € but if it is worth 10 000 € when it is processed, its zakat is given based on 10 000 €.
Question: We do not have money or gold. We have only 500 grams of silver goods, but their market value is very high and exceeds nisab. Do we have to give zakat on them?
The nisab for silver is 672 g. Even though the value of your silver goods is high, zakat is not given on them because they do not reach nisab in weight. The zakat for silver and gold is determined by weight. If the silver goods you mentioned were sold, you would have to give zakat on the money as it exceeds nisab.
Question: Is it permissible to receive zakat for a person who is considered rich according to the nisab of silver?
It is permissible. As long as the value of 200 dirhams [672 grams] of silver is less than the value of 20 mithqals [96 grams] of gold, the nisab of gold is taken into account.
Question: When a lease is signed by a lessee and a landlord, is the entire amount of rent for a year deducted from the nisab of zakat as a debt?
No, it is not deducted from one's nisab unless it has fallen due. The unpaid rents that one will pay retrospectively are deducted from one's nisab as a debt.
Question: It is written on your website, "Salaries and wages that civil servants and employees are to receive do not become their property before they receive them." I have got five months arrears to receive. Are they not included in the nisab of zakat?
They are different things. The former is a right, while the latter is something that has fallen due. House rents that have fallen due are included in one's nisab. All types of dues to be received are included in one's nisab. That rents to be received must be included in nisab is explained as follows in the book Se'adet-i Ebediyye:
Dayn-i mutawassit is the dues that are to be received for the selling of items of necessity such as houses, food and drink, and for the rentals of houses. They are included in the calculation of nisab.
Salaries and wages that civil servants and employees are to receive do not become their property before they receive them. They are not included in nisab before they are received. That is, it is not necessary to give zakat on them. The case is not so with the bonds taken in exchange for what is sold. These and stocks and securities are included in zakat every year. (Se'adet-i Ebediyye)
Though salaries and wages are rightful entitlements, they are not the property of employees. However, the money to be received in return for selling of a house and rents are debts to be received, so they must be included in nisab.
Question: Promissory notes are given to dismissed employees to be paid money on a specific date in return for their unpaid salaries and severance pay. It is not certain whether money will be paid when due date comes. Should one who has a promissory note include it in nisab?
The ruling about promissory notes is not like the ruling about salaries. Promissory notes are included in nisab. If one who has a promissory note that exceeds nisab in value has as much money as to perform udhiyyah, one must perform udhiyyah. As for zakat, one must give zakat when one takes possession of the money. There is nothing wrong if one gives zakat in advance.