Zakat al-Maal - The Obligatory Charity

by Shaykh Abû Bakr Jâbir al-Jaza'iry

Legal Ruling

Allah has obligated Zakah upon every Muslim who possesses a minimum amount of wealth, according to some conditions. Allah made Zakah obligatory in His Book by His statement;

Take from their wealth Sadaqah in order to purify them and sanctify them with it. [9:103]

And His statement: O you who believe! Spend from the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you. (2:267)

And His statement: And establish the prayer (Salah) and pay the obligatory charity (Zakah). (73:20)

Zakah was also made obligatory by the statement of the Messenger saws: lslam was built upon five (pillars): The testimony that none has the right to be worshipped hut Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the establishment of the prayer (Salah), paying the obligatory charity (Zakah), pilgrimage to the House (Hajj to the Ka’bah in Makkah) and fasting (the month of) Ramadhan.) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

And his statement: I was commanded to fight the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the obligatory charity (Zakah) If they do that, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except according to the right of Islam, and their reckoning is with Allah . (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

And his statement in advising Mu’adh when he sent him to Yemen: Verily you are going to a people who are People of the Scripture, so invite them to the testimony that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and I (Muhammad saws ) am the Messenger of Allah. If they obey you in that, inform them that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, has obligated them to (pray) five prayers every day and night. If they obey you, then inform them that He has obligated them to give charity from their wealth that is to be taken from their wealthy and given to their poor. If they obey you in that, then stay away from (taking) the best of their wealth. And beware of the supplication of the oppressed person, for verily there is no veil between it and Allah. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It’s Wisdom

The following are some of the points derived from the wisdom of legislating Zakah:  Purification of the human soul from the vices of stinginess, greed, covetousness and lustfulness.

Comforting the poor and fulfilling the needs of the needy, distraught and deprived people. Establishing comprehensive benefits that the life of the Muslim community (Ummah) and its happiness depend upon.

Limiting the inflation of wealth among the wealthy, and at the hands of the businessmen and merchants. This is so that the wealth will not be restricted solely to one limited group of people, nor controlled by only the wealthy.

The Ruling of One Who Refuses to Pay Zakah

Whoever refuses to pay Zakah, while denying its obligation, has disbelieved. Whoever refuses to pay Zakah due to stinginess, while affirming its obligation, has committed a sin. In this case Zakah is taken from such a person by force and he is also given some disciplinary punishment. If he fights in refusing to give it, he is fought until he submits to the command of Allah and pays Zakah. This is due to Allah the Almighty’s statement: So if they repent, establish the prayer and give Zakah then they are your brethren in religion. (9:11)

This is also due to the Prophet’s statement: I was commanded to fight the people until they teshfy that none has right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay Zakah. If they do this, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except by the right of Islam, and their reckoning is with Allah. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Likewise, concerning fighting those who refused to pay Zakah, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said: “By Allah, if they refuse to give me (of Zakah) a young she-goat that they used to give to Allah’s Messenger …. I will fight them for it.” (Al-Bukhari)

In this situation the Companions agreed with him (Abu Bakr) about this, so there was a consensus among them.

Taken from the book Minhaj Al-Muslim vol.2, published by Dar-us-Salam Publications


When is Zakat due date?

Zakat is due after one Lunar (Hijri) year starting from either the first day you acquired the amount of Nisab or the day you paid Zakat last year. The month of Ramadhan is considered to be the best time to pay Zakat.

What is Nisab and its current value?

Nisab is the exemption limit for the payment of Zakat. In other words, it is the amount which savings or capital or product must exceed in order for the Muslim owner to be obliged to give zakat.

Gold and Silver

"Those who hoard up treasures of gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah; give them the news of a painful punishment, on the Day when that (wealth) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their forehead, their sides, and their backs, (and it will be said to them:) 'This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.'" [Al-Quran 9:34-35]

Further, Asma bint Yazid reported: "My aunt and I, while wearing gold bracelets, went to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He asked: 'Did you pay their Zakat?' She related that they had not. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Do you not fear that Allah will make you wear a bracelet of fire? Pay its Zakat." [Al-Quran -Narrated by Ahmad (6:461) with a good chain, as Haythami declared in Majma` al-zawa'id (3:67)]

Furthermore, Aisha narrated: "The Messenger of Allah came to me and saw me wearing silver rings, whereupon, he asked: 'What is this, Aisha?' I replied: 'I made them to adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allah.' He said: 'Did you pay their Zakat?' I said: 'No, or what Allah wishes.' Then he said: 'Their punishment in Hell is enough for you.'" (Narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan with a strong chain, Daraqutni in his Sunan, and Baihaqi in his Sunan (4:140))

Gold and silver, whether in the form of jewelry otherwise, will always be subject to Zakat provided their respective weights exceed the nisab amount. Nisaab ul-Zakat for naqd (gold and silver) is defined as the minimum amount of naqd specified by shari’a below which one is not required to pay zakat, whereas if one’s wealth exceeds it then zakat becomes incumbent.

And it is known that zakat ul-maal (wealth) in shari’a is required for the two types of naqd—gold and silver—and what serves their function in modern times (commonly referred to as cash), whether it is dollars or riyals or pounds or otherwise.

Nisaab for gold (and for currencies made from gold) is 20 mithqaalan and Nisaab for silver and currencies made from silver is 200 dirhams.

To see the equivalent of that in other units for this year, see the chart below. It becomes incumbent upon anyone who owns more than this amount in any form to pay zakat on it in the amount of 2.5%.





Troy Oz


20 mithqal





200 dirhams




The prices of gold and silver vary everyday in international markets. As of August 23, 2011 the price of gold is approximately $58.70/gram and for silver is $01.34/gram, hence the nisab for gold is approximately $5,135.66 ($58.70 x 87.49 grams) and the nisab for silver was approximately $820.53 ($1.34 x 613.35 grams).


The amount of cash held, whether in a bank or personally on hand, at the end of the relevant Zakat year will always be subject to Zakat. Moneys lent and advanced are, for Zakat purposes, treated as cash and Zakat must be paid on such loans each year.

The Nisab for cash is equivalent to the value of gold or silver (whichever is less). At present Nisab of silver is less, so cash may be calculated according to silver.

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