Zakaah is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam. As beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "There is no owner of treasure who does not pay the Zakaah, but it will be heated in the hellfire and made into plates with which his sides and forehead will be branded until Allah passes judgement between His slaves on a Day the length of which will be like fifty thousand years, then he see shown his path and whether it leads to Paradise or to Hell. And there is no owner of camels who does not pay Zakaah on them, but a soft sandy plain will be prepared for him and they will be made to step on him. Every time the last of them has gone the first of them will return, until Allah passes judgement between His slaves on a Day the length of which will be like fifty thousand years, then he will see his path and whether it leads to Paradise or to Hell. And there is no owner of sheep who does not pay Zakaah on them but a soft sandy plain will be prepared for him and he will find none of them missing with twisted horns or without horns or with broken horns and they will be made to gore him with their horns and trample him with their hooves. Every time the last of them has gone the first of them will return until Allah passes judgement between His slaves on a Day the length of which will be like fifty thousand years, then he will see his path and whether it leads to Paradise or to Hell………" Sahih Muslim, hadeeth #987
In order to pay Zakaah, at least two conditions must be fulfilled:
1 that it reaches the nisaab (minimum threshold)
2 that one year has passed since it reached the nisaab
The nisaab is equivalent of 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver. The rate that must be paid for zakaah is one quarter of one tenth (2.5%). Zakaah must be paid on all kinds of wealth whether it is saved in a bank or otherwise. It is important to mention here Zakaah is even due on the money which is being saved for the marriage if it reaches the nisaab level and one year has passed since it reached the nisaab, whether it is in the form of gold, silver or paper currency. With regard to the property that is prepared to be rented out, there is no Zakaah on it; rather zakaah is to be paid on the rent when one year has passed and if it reaches the nisaab level. But if you spend this rent and do not save any of it then there is no Zakaah on it.
Jewellery that has been prepared to be worn and used as an adornment is something concerning which the fuqaha differed. Apart from Hanafis, majority are of the opinion that it is not obligatory to pay Zakaah on the jewellery prepared to be worn. But the opinion of the Hanafis is most authentic based on the great deal of evidence which say that Zakaah on such jewellery is to be paid. Narrated by Aaisha (radiallahu anha) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered upon me and I was wearing rings of silver on my hand. He said, "what is this? O Aaisha?" I said, I made them to adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allah." He said , "have you given Zakaah on them?" I said,"No": He said: " the punishment for them in Hell is enough for you." Abu Dawood, hadeeth # 155 ( grade sahih according to Allama Albaani).
The nisaab for An'aam ( camel, cattle and sheep)
According to the scholarly consensus, the nisaab of camel is 5 on which one a sheep is to be gieven as zakaah. For ten camels, two sheep must be given etc.,
The nisaab for cattle is thirty according to the majority of scholars. Because Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "for 30 cattle a tabee' or tabee'ah is due. Tirmidhi, hadeeth # 622 ( classed as sahih by Albaani). The tabee' (male) and tabee'ah ( female) is a bovine that is one year old and has entered its second year.
The nisaab for sheep is forty according to the consensus of scholars for which one sheep is due.
Zakaah must be given on grains as well as fruit that can be measured and stored whether they are foods or otherwise. As Prophet (peace be upon him ) said, "with regard to that which is irrigated by rainfall and springs or has a taproot, the zakaah is one tenth and with regard to that which is irrigated by drawing water, the zakaah is half of one tenth." Sahih bukari, hadeeth #1483
This hadeeth is general in meaning and applies to everything that is produced by the earth.
Prophet (peace be upon him) also said that there is no Zakaah due on grains or dates unless they reach five wasqs." Sahih Muslim, hadeeth #979
So, it is not obligatory to give Zakaah on grains and fruits unless they reach the minimum threshold which is five wasaqs. A waqs is 60 saa' and a saa' is four mudds and the mudd is what may be held in the cupped hands of a average build.
Zakaah is also due on trade goods as is mentioned in Qur'an where Allah says in sura Al Baqara, aayt # 267, "O you who believe! Spend of the goods which you have earned, and of that which We have produced from earth for you."
But zakaah is not due on the house in which one lives or on the car which for use, no matter how valuable it may be. But with regard to land, houses and the likes that are prepared for sale, zakaah is due on these according to their value each year when a full year has passed regardless of whether their value has risen or fallen, if the owner has firmly resolved to sell them.
Majmoo fatwa sheikh bin baaz 14/173.
Asiya Gani teaches at a Madrasa