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Amount of Zakaat al-Fitr



The amount to be given is one saa’ of food, according to the measure of saa’ used by the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because of the following hadeeth.


- Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “At the time of the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) we used to give it in the form of a saa’ of food…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1412).


The weight of the saa’ [which is a measure of volume] varies according to the type of food concerned, so when giving zakaat al-fitr by weight, one must make sure that what is given is equivalent to a saa’ of that type of food. A saa’ is approximately equivalent to three kilograms of rice.


Just as Allaah has created people with different colours, attitudes and levels of knowledge, so too their deeds and provision vary. He has made some of them rich and some poor, to test the rich as to whether they show gratitude, and to test the poor as to whether they are patient. Because the believers are a brotherhood, and brotherhood is based on compassion, kindness, love and mercy, Allaah has enjoined upon the Muslims zakaah which is taken from the rich and given to the poor. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allaah for them. Verily, your invocations are a source of security for them”[al-Tawbah 9:103] 


Zakaah purifies and cleanses wealth, and purifies the soul from stinginess and miserliness. It strengthens the love between the rich and poor, takes away hatred, makes security prevail and brings happiness to the ummah happy.  


Allaah has made the payment of zakaah obligatory upon everyone who owns the nisaab (minimum amount) for one year (2.5%). The rate of zakaah on gold, silver, other metals and trade goods is one quarter of ten percent (2.5%).


On agricultural produce and fruits the amount is one-tenth of One tenth (1%) if it is irrigated (by artificial means), and one-half of one-tenth if it is not irrigated (5%) (by artificial means, i.e., it is watered by rainfall or other natural means).


 Concerning an’aam animals (i.e., sheep, goats, cattle and camels) the details are explained in the books of fiqh… Whoever pays zakaah, Allaah expiates his sins thereby, and blesses his wealth, and stores up for him a great reward. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 



“And perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, and whatever of good (deeds that Allaah loves) you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allaah. Certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what you do”[al-Baqarah 2:110] 


Withholding zakaah brings disasters and evils upon the ummah. Allaah has threatened those who withhold it with a painful torment on the Day of Resurrection. He says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“O you who believe! Verily, there are many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks who devour the wealth of mankind in falsehood, and hinder (them) from the way of Allaah (i.e. Allaah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism). And those who hoard up gold and silver (Al‑Kanz: the money, the Zakaah of which has not been paid) and spend them not in the way of Allaah, announce unto them a painful torment.


On the Day when that (Al‑Kanz: money, gold and silver, the Zakaah of which has not been paid) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them:) ‘This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard’”

[al-Tawbah 9:34-35] 


Concealing one’s zakaah is better than paying it openly in front of people, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 


“If you disclose your Sadaqaat (almsgiving), it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you. (Allaah) will expiate you some of your sins. And Allaah is Well-Acquainted with what you do [al-Baqarah 2:271] 


When a Muslim pays his zakaah, it is not permissible for him to give it to anyone except those whom Allaah mentions in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 


“As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al‑Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”[al-Tawbah 9:60] 


Allaah says concerning women (interpretation of the meaning):

“a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women), and who in dispute cannot make herself clear” [al-Zukhruf 43:18]


The adornments in which the female is brought up include gold, silver and precious stones.

Allaah has blessed mankind and the jinn with the things that come out of the sea and rivers such as pearls and coral.


 Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):


“He has let loose the two seas (the salt and fresh water) meeting together.

Between them is a barrier which none of them can transgress.

Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinn and men) deny?

Out of them both come out pearl and coral.” [al-Rahmaan 55:19-22]


Diamonds and other kinds of precious stones are among the adornments which women are permitted to wear, but this adornment should not be shown to “strangers” (i.e., non-mahrams).


It is clear by Quran and Sunnah that the Zakat is obligatory on Gold and Silver. Precious Stones, Daimonds, Pearls etc are not included as Zakat payable items if it is not owned for business transaction or Investments. Such adornments are acceptable, but the Muslim woman should beware of pride or arrogance that may affect her when she wears these things.  And Allaah knows best.


I would like to present the detailed discussion made by The Standing Committee on Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas on the above topic to provide you with enough evidences to follow the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.


The scholars are agreed that zakaah is obligatory on gold and silver jewellery if it is a kind of adornment that it is haraam to use, or if it is prepared for trading etc. But if it is a permissible kind of jewellery that is intended to be used or loaned, such as a silver ring or women’s jewellery, or things that it is permitted to use to adorn weapons, then there is a difference of scholarly opinion as to whether zakaah is obligatory on these things. Some scholars say that zakaah is obligatory on them because they are included in the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):


“And those who hoard up gold and silver (Al‑Kanz: the money, the Zakaah of which has not been paid) and spend them not in the way of Allaah, announce unto them a painful torment” [al-Tawbah 9:34]


Al-Qurtubi said, in his tafseer of this aayah: “Ibn ‘Umar explained the meaning of this in Saheeh al-Bukhaari, when a Bedouin said to him, ‘Tell me about the aayah (interpreation of the meaning), “And those who hoard up gold and silver.”’ Ibn ‘Umar said: ‘(It means) the one who stockpiles them and does not pay zakaah on them – woe to him. This was before (the order to pay) zakaah on them was revealed, and when it was revealed, Allaah made it a means of purification of wealth.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2/111, ta’leeqan; 5/204, also ta’leeqan. Ibn Maajah, 1/569-570, no. 1787. Al-Bayhaqi, 4/82).


Other ahaadeeth also imply this, such as the hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa’i and al-Tirmidhi from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, (who said) that a woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with her daughter, on whose hands were two heavy bracelets of gold. He said to her, “Do you pay zakaah on these?” She said, “No.” He said, “Would you like Allaah to replace them for you with bracelets of fire on the Day of Resurrection?” So she took them off and gave them to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘These are for Allaah and His Messenger.’”


(Narrated by Ahmad, 2/178, 204, 208; Abu Dawood, 2/212, no. 1563; al-Tirmidhi, 3/29-30, no. 637; al-Nasaa’i, 5/38, no. 2479, 2480; al-Daaraqutni, 2/112; Ibn Abi Shaybah, 3/153; Abu ‘Ubayd in al-Amwaal, p. 537, no. 1260 (Harraas edn.); al-Bayhaqi, 4/140).

 It was narrated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan, al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak and al-Daaraqutni and al-Bayhaqi in their Sunans that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:


“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me and saw on my hands rings of silver. He said, ‘What is this, O ‘Aa’ishah?’ I said, ‘I had them made so that I could adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He said, ‘Do you pay zakaah on them?’ I said, ‘No’ or ‘Whatever Allaah wills.’ He said, ‘This would be enough to take you to Hell.’”


(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2/213, no. 1565 – this version was narrated by him; al-Daaraqutni, 2/105, 106; al-Haakim, 1/389-390; al-Bayhaqi, 4/139)


 It was narrated that Umm Salamah said: “I used to wear jewellery of gold, and I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, is this kanz (money, the Zakaah of which has not been paid, cf. al-Tawbah 9:34)?’ He said, ‘Whatever reaches the amount at which zakaah is obligatory, then pay the zakaah. Then it will not be kanz.’”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2/212-213, no. 1564; al-Daaraqutni, 2/105; al-Haakim, 1/390; al-Bayhaqi, 4/83, 140).


Some scholars said that there was no zakaah to be paid on it, because by using it in a permissible manner, it becomes like clothing and other items, and is not like a product that has a commercial value. They responded to the general meaning of the aayah [al-Tawbah 9:34] by pointing out that the practice of the Sahaabah excluded gold that was used for adornment.


 It was reported with a saheeh isnaad that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to look after her brother’s orphaned daughters in her apartment. They had gold jewellery but she did not pay zakaah on it. Al-Daaraqutni narrated with his isnaad from Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she used to adorn her daughters with gold jewellery, and she did not pay zakaah on it, (although its value was) nearly fifty thousand. (Sunan al-Daaraqutni, 2/109)


 Abu ‘Ubayd said in his book al-Amwaal: “Ismaa’eel ibn Ibraaheem told us, from Ayyoob, from Naafi’, from Ibn ‘Umar, that he would marry one of his his daughters for ten thousand (as mahr), of which he would make her jewellery four thousand, and they did not pay zakaah on that.” (A similar report was narrated by al-Daaraqutni, 2/109; Abu ‘Ubayd in al-Amwaal, p. 540, no. 1276 (Harraas edn.); al-Bayhaqi, 4/138).

 He said: “Ismaa’eel ibn Ibraaheem told us, from Ayyoob, from ‘Amr ibn Deenaar, who said: ‘Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah was asked, “Is there any zakaah on jewellery?” He said, “No.” He was asked, ‘What if it reaches (the amount of) ten thousand?” He said, “That is a lot.”’” (Narrated by al-Shaafa'i in al-Musnad (edited by al-Sindi), 1/228, no. 629; al-Umm, 2/41; also narrated by Abu ‘Ubayd in al-Amwaal, p. 540, no. 1275 (Harraas edn.); al-Bayhaqi, 4/138).


The more correct of these two views is the view that zakaah on jewellery is obligatory, if it reaches the nisaab (amount of wealth at which zakaah becomes obligatory), or if the owner possesses enough gold, silver and trade goods to complete the nisaab – because of the general meaning of the ahaadeeth which state that zakaah is obligatory on gold and silver. 


There is no saheeh hadeeth which exclused it (jewellery) as far as we know. The ahaadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, ‘Aa’ishah and Umm Salamah quoted above mention this, and these are jayyid ahaadeeth with no valid criticism concerning their isnaads, so we should act upon them. Although al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hazm regarded them as da’eef (weak), there is no solid evidence for this, as far as we know. We should note that al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) may be excused for what he said, because he quoted the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr with a da’eef isnaad, but it was narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah with a different, saheeh, isnaad, which al-Tirmidhi probably did not discover.


Standing Committee on Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, 9/264


Types of things that may be given

What should be given is food for human consumption, such as dates, wheat, rice or other kinds of food that humans eat. It is reported in al-Saheehayn from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made zakaat al-fitr, one saa’ of dates or one saa’ of barley, obligatory on the Muslims, slave and free, male and female,. (At that time, barley was one of the foods they ate). (Al-Bukhaari, 1408)


Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “At the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we used to give a saa’ of food on the day of Fitr.” Abu Sa’eed said: “And our food was barley, raisins, aqit (dried yoghurt) and dates.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1408).

It should be given in the form of the staple food that is used locally, whether it is wheat, rice, dates or lentils…


Al-Shaafa'i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If the staple food of a people is corn, pearl millet (dukhn), thin-husked barley (sult), rice or any grain on which zakaat is obligatory, then they may give it as zakaat al-fitr. (Al-Shaafa'i, al-Umm, part 2, Baab al-Rajul yakhtalifu qootuhu)



Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Our companions said: ‘It is a condition of giving something as zakaat al-fitr that it should be one of the foodstuffs on which zakaat is paid at the rate of one-tenth (i.e., zakaah of grains and fruits). Nothing else is acceptable except aqit (dried yoghurt), cheese and milk.’”


Al-Maawardi said: “This is the case even though some of the people who live on islands and others have fish or eggs as their staple food; these are not acceptable (as zakaat al-fitr) and there is no difference (among the scholars concerning this). As regards meat, the correct view is that stated by al-Shaafa'i and confirmed by al-Musannif and the companions in all that was narrated from them: that it is not acceptable (as zakaat al-fitr), and this is the unanimous view (of the scholars)… Our companions said: ‘This is the case even if their staple food is fruits on which they do not have to give one-tenth as zakaat, such as figs etc. These are not acceptable (as zakaat al-fitr) at all.”


 (Al-Majmoo’, part 6: al-Waajib fi Zakaat al-Fitr).


Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If it was said, ‘You must give a saa’ of dates everywhere, whether it is the staple food or not,’ this is a disputed matter which is subject to ijtihaad. There are some people who say that it is obligatory, and others who say that in each country it is obligatory to give a saa’ of whatever is the staple food there, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) specified five types of food for zakaat al-fitr, so in each country they can give the equivalent of a saa’ of their staple food. This is more correct, and is closer to the principles of sharee’ah, for how can you make it obligatory for people whose staple food is fish, for example, or rice or pearl millet, to give dates? … And Allaah is the Source of strength. (I’laam al-Muwaqqa’een, part 2, al-Qiyaas).


It is permissible to give pasta (“macaroni”) that is made from wheat, but one must make certain that the weight is equivalent to the weight of a saa’ of wheat.


As for giving zakaat al-fitr in the form of money, this is not permissible at all, because the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that it must be given in the form of food, not money. He clearly stated that it is to be given in the form of food, so it is not permissible to give it in any other form and Islam wants it to be given openly, not secretly. The Sahaabah gave zakaat al-fitr in the form of food, and we should follow, not innovate. The giving of zakaat al-fitr in the form of food is regulated by the measure of saa’, and if it were to be given in the form of money, it could not be regulated in this manner: according to the price of what would it be worked out and given? 


There are obvious benefits to giving it in the form of staple foods, such as at times when businessmen are hoarding certain goods, prices have gone up, or at times of war and inflation. If someone were to say, “But money is more useful for the poor, because then they can buy what they want, and they might need something other than food, so the poor person might sell the food and lose money.” The response to this is that there are other sources for meeting the needs of the poor with regard to shelter, clothing and so on, which are provided for from the zakaat paid on people’s wealth (zakaat al-maal), general charity and other kinds of donations. Let us put things into the proper Islamic perspective and adhere to what was set out by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who told us that giving a saa’ of food to feed the poor is obligatory. If we give food to a poor person, he will eat it and will benefit from it sooner or later, because it is the kind of food he uses anyway.


On this basis, it is not permissible, for the purposes of zakaat al-fitr, to give money for a person to pay off his debts or to cover the cost of surgery for a sick person or to pay for tuition for a needy student and so on. There are other sources for this kind of help, as stated above.


Zakaat Part 3...Final Part Next Week InshAllah


 Assalam-Alaikum and Ramadan Mubarak!



Inshallah, this e-mail finds you in great health and wonderful spirits for this Ramadan month.  


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