In its primitive sense the word zakat means purification. Whence it is also used to express a portion of property bestowed in alms, as a sanctification of the remainder to the proprietor. It is an institution of Islam and founded upon an express command in the Qur’an (vide Surah ii. 77), being one of the five foundations of practical religion.
It is a religious duty incumbent upon any person who is free, sane, adult, and a Muslim, provided he be possessed in full property of such estate or effects as are termed in the language of the law nisab, and that he has been in possession of the same for the space of one complete year. The nisab, or fixed amount of property upon which zakat is due, varies with reference to the different kinds of property in possession, as will be seen in the present article.
The one complete year in which the property is held in possession is termed hamu ‘l-haul. Zakat is not incumbent upon a man against whom there are debts equal to or exceeding the amount of his whole property, nor is it due upon the necessaries of life, such as dwelling-houses, or articles of clothing, or household furniture, or cattle kept for immediate use, or slaves employed an actual servants, or armour and weapons designed for present use, or upon books of science and theology used by scholars, or upon tools used by craftsmen.
(1) The zakat of camels. Zakat is not due upon less than five camels, and upon five camels it is one goat or sheep, provided they subsist upon pasture throughout the year, because zakat is only due upon such camels am live on pasture, and not upon those which are fed in the home with forage. One goat is due upon any number of camels from five to nine; two goats for any number of camels from ten to fourteen; three goats for any number from twenty to twenty-four. Upon any number of camels from twenty-five to thirty-five the
Zakat is a bint mikhaz, or a yearling female camel from thirty-six to forty-five, a bint laban, or a two-year-old female camel: from forty six to sixty, a hiqqah, or a three-year old female camel; from sixty-one to seventy-five, a juz’ah, or four-year-old female camel; from seventy-five to ninety, two camel’s female two-year-old colts: and from ninety-one to one hundred and twenty, two camels’ female three-year-old colts. When the number of camels exceeds one hundred and twenty, the zakat is calculated by the aforesaid rule.
(2) The zakat of bulls, cows, and buffaloes. No zakat is due upon fewer than thirty cattle, and upon thirty cattle which feed on pasture for the greater part of the year, there is due at the anti of the year a tabi’ah, or a one-year-old calf; and upon forty is due a musim, or a calf of two years old; and where the number exceeds forty, the zakat is to he calculated according to this rule. For example, upon sixty the zakat is two yearling calves; upon seventy, one tabi’ah and one musim; upon eighty, two musims; upon ninety, three upon one hundred, two tabi’ahs and one musim; and thus upon every ten, head of cattle a musim and a tabi’ah alternately. Thus upon one hundred and ten kine, the zakat is two musims and one tabi’ah; and upon one hundred and twenty, four tabi’ahs. The usual method, however, of calculating the zakat upon large herds of cattle is by dividing them into thirties and forties, imposing upon every thirty one tabi’ah, or upon every forty one musim.
(3) Zakat upon sheep and goats. No zakat is due upon less than forty, which have fed the greater part of the year upon pasture, upon which is due one goat, until the number reaches one hundred and twenty for one hundred and twenty-one to two hundred, it is two goats or sheep; and above this, one for every hundred. The same rules apply to both sheep and goats, because in the Traditions the original word ghanam applies to both species.
(4) Zukat upon horses. When horses and mares are kept indiscriminately together, feeding for the greater part of the year on pasture, it Is the option of the proprietor to give a zakat of one dinar per head for the whole, or to appreciate the whole, and give five per cent, upon the total value. No zakat what-ever is due upon droves of horses consisting entirely of males or entirely of mares. There is no zakat due upon horses or mules, unless they are articles of merchandise, nor is it due upon war horses, or upon beasts of burden or upon cattle kept for drawing ploughs and so forth.
(u) Zakat upon silver. It is not due upon silver of less value than two hundred dirhams, but if one be possessed of this sum for a whole year, the zakat due upon it is five dirhams. No zakat is due upon an excess above the two hundred dirhams till such excess amount to forty, upon which the zakat is one dirham, and for every succeeding forty, one dirham. These dirhams in which silver predominates are to be accounted silver, and the laws respecting silver apply to them, although they should contain some alloy; and the same rule holds with regard to all articles falling under the denomination of plate, such as cups and goblets.
(6) Zakat upon gold. No zakat is due upon gold under the value of twenty misqals, and the zakat due upon twenty misqals is half a misqal, When the quantity of gold exceed twenty misqals, on every four misqals above,: twenty are due two qirats, and so on in proportion.
Zakat is due upon gold and silver bullion, and upon all gold and silver ornaments utensils.
(7) Zakat upon articles of merchandise. Articles of merchandise should be appraised, and a zakat of 24 per cent paid upon the value, if it exceed two hundred dirhams in value.
(8) Zakat. upon mines, or buried treasures. Mines of gold, silver, iron, lead, or copper, are subject to a zakat of one-fifth (khums) out if the mine is discovered within the precincts of a person’s own home, nothing is due. And if a person find a deposit of buried treasure, a fifth is due upon it. No zakat is clue upon precious stones.
(9) Zakat upon the fruits of the earth. Upon everything produced from the ground there is a tenth (‘ashir or ‘ushr), whether the soil be watered by the overflow of rivers or by periodical rains, excepting the articles of wood, bamboo, and grass, which are not subject to the tithe. Land watered by means of buckets, or machinery, or watering camels, is subject to a twentieth. Honey and fruits collected in the wilderness are subject to tithe.
The zakat is received by a collector duly appointed for the purpose, although it is lawful for the possessor to distribute his alms himself. If a person come to the collector, and make a declaration on oath as to the amount of his property upon which zakat is due, his statement is to he credited.
There are seven descriptions of persons upon whom zakat may be bestowed.
(1) Faqirs, or persons possessed of property, the whole of which, however, does not amount to nisab.
(2) Miskins, or persons who have no property whatever.
(3) The collector of zakat.
(6) Fj sabili ‘llah, i.e. in the service of God, or religious warfare.
The above laws with reference so zakat are those according to the Hanafi sect, but the differences amongst the Imams of the Sunnis on this subject are but small. They may be seen upon reference to Hamilton’s translation of the Hidayah, vol. i. p. 1.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam
Posted on 07/22/2012 by marina