THE NISAB AND ZAKAT FOR DIFFERENT ITEMS OF WEALTH

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The Nisab and Zakat for Gold, Silver, and Other Jewelry. The nisab for gold is 20 dinars (approximately 90 grams) and for silver is 200 dirhams (approximately 600 grams), both being owned for one year. The due on them is one-fortieth of their value. Any additional amount is to be calculated in this manner. Gold and silver are combined. Thus, if one has gold and silver whose value is equal to 200 dirhams of silver, zakat must be paid. Likewise, gold, silver, banknotes and the like, and commercial merchandise are also combined. Things made of gold and silver are treated like gold and silver. In other words, if the weight of gold and silver they contain amounts to the nisab, their zakat is paid.

Although most of the scholars opine that no zakat has to be paid on diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, corals, or other precious stones that women wear as ornaments and unless they are used for trade, it is piety and a measure to be saved from the obligation of zakat, which is both God’s and people’s right on rich people, to make some payment due to them. One should not buy such precious stones in order to avoid paying zakat.

Banknotes, Checks, and Bonds. As these are documents with guaranteed credits, banknotes, checks, and bonds are subject to zakat, at the rate of one-fortieth of their value, when they are owned for one year and attain the minimum of nisab (being equal in value to 200 silver dirhams). A person may change them into currency immediately. They are combined with currencies, gold and silver, and commercial merchandise.

Commercial Merchandise. Any commercial merchandise that is religiously lawful to use, consume, buy, and sell (e.g., clothes, grain, iron, copper, cattle, sheep, houses, shops, and cars) is subject to zakat. Their due is one-fortieth. Due to gold’s stable value, jurists maintain that it should be the basis upon which the nisab of commercial merchandise is determined.

Buildings and Vehicles of Transportation That Are Sources of Income. One who rents out a house, a shop, tools, vehicles, or land, or who has vehicles working in transportation, must pay zakat on the rent and income received. If their annual revenue is equal to nisab, after the money spent on them is deducted, the owner pays their zakat every month. Since they are compared with land and land products, their zakat rate is one-tenth.

Industrial Investments and Means of Production. These items are currently among the greatest sources of income. Although people’s private houses, tools, and machines by which they earn their living are not subject to zakat, industrial investments and means of production (e.g., factories) are, for they are growing and sources of revenue. Some jurists compare them to land and land products, and say that their zakat rate is one-tenth. Others compare them to commercial activities and merchandise, and say that their zakat rate is one-fortieth of the value remaining after debts, expenses on necessary material, workmanship, production, marketing, and financing have been subtracted.

Wages, Salaries, and Independent Businesses. Since wages, salaries, and earnings from independent businesses are steady and continuous and potentially growing, they are subject to zakat if the amount remaining after the yearly average expenditure on livelihood reaches nisab. The rate is one-fortieth. Although there are diverse standards of living, Muslims do not think of living a comfortable life when the majority of Muslims and humanity are living a below-average life. Some jurists say that this type of zakat should be paid after one year; others say that it should be paid monthly.

Cattle, Sheep, and Goats. Cattle, camels, sheep, and goats are subject to zakat. They must be commercial or grazing, and have been in one’s possession for a year. The nisab of each is as follows:

  • When one has 5 grazing camels for one year, their due is 1 sheep, which is also the due for 5 to 9 camels. The due for 10 to 14 camels is 2 sheep, for 15 to 19 camels is 3 sheep, and for 20 to 24 camels is 4 sheep. The due for 25 to 35 camels is a 2-year-old she-camel, for 36 to 45 is a 3 year-old she-camel, for 46 to 60 is a 4-year-old she-camel, for 61 to 75 is 5-year-old she-camel, for 76 to 90 is 2 3-year-old she-camels, and for 91 to 120 is 2 5-years-old she-camels.
  • The nisab for cattle is 30. For 30 to 40 heads of cattle, a 2.5-year-old male or female weaned calf; for 40 to 60, a 3-year-old weaned calf; for 60, 2 1-year-old calves. When there are more than 60 heads of cattle, the rate is 1 calf for each 30 heads and 1 weaned calf for each 40 heads.
  • When one has 40 sheep or goats, their due is 1 sheep or goat. For 40 to 120 it is the same, for 120 to 200 it is 2 sheep, for 200 to 399 it is 3 sheep, and for 400 to 500 it is 4 sheep.

Farm Products. The zakat on farm products is paid when they are har-vested. One must calculate them in advance if he or she wants to use or benefit from them. Most scholars maintain than their nisab is about 50 quarters, that is, if one has that amount of farm products, one must pay their zakat. The due for farm products naturally irrigated (with rain) is one-tenth; if they are irrigated by their owner, who must pay the related expenses, the due is one-twentieth.

Minerals, Mines, Buried Treasure, and Sea Products. The zakat on such items is one-fifth. If a buried treasure is found in a land whose owner is unknown or belongs to the state, one-fifth of it is given as zakat and the rest belongs to the finder. If it is found in a land whose owner is known, one-fifth is given to the owner. Scholars have ruled that there is no nisab for such items. However, some maintain that when these items are worth about 600 dirhams of silver or 90 grams of gold, zakat must be paid.

Senturk, Omer Faruk. “Charity in Islam” Tughra Books Press. January 2007