Imam Ilyas Sidyot

Zakaah Q & A

Q. What is Zakaat?

A. It a compulsory charity to be given yearly to the poor.

Q. How Much should be given?

A. 2.5 % on a persons total wealth

Q. Can a child accept Zakaat?

A. Yes, a child can accept Zakaat with the consent/permission of his parents/guardians.

Q. A man owes me $5000 but he disputes the amount. According to him, he owes me only $3000. On what amount should I calculate my zakaat?

A. Since you do not expect him to pay any more than $3000, zakaat is payable only on $3000.

Q. Can I pay for funeral expenses of a poor person from my Zakaat?

A. No, Zakaat is not discharged in this manner. Zakaat is only discharged once ownership is transferred. Ownership cannot be transferred to a dead person; hence zakaat will not be discharged and will have to be done again.

Q. Can the husband pay zakaat on behalf of his wife?

A. Yes, the husband could discharge his wife’s zakaat on her instruction or with her consent.

Q. Can one discharge one's zakaat before it's due?

A. Yes, it is permissible to do so.

Q. I own jewellery from the time of my birth. I had never discharged zakaat. My father has been discharging my Zakaat on my behalf. He says that he had been informing me every year before discharging my zakaat. I do not remember him informing me. Is my zakaat discharged or do I have to give it out now?

A. Your zakaat is discharged.

Q. My granfather had been paying zakaat on my behalf. I was not aware of this until recently. Is this okay?

A. The niyaat of discharging zakaat is a condition. Without knowledge of this there can be no intention. Therefore you will have to discharge zakaat for the previous years.

Q. Is Zakaah payable on diamonds?

A. Zakaah is not payable on diamonds unless it has been bought for resale. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said that there is no Zakaah on stones.

Q. Abdullah is sixty-three years old. His wife and daughter are physically handicapped. He has lost his job and now has to service debts, which total to hundred and ten thousand rands. This debts includes a bond on the house, which if not paid will be repossessed by the bank. He has no other assets. Would it be possible to aid such an individual with Zakaat monies ?

A. According to the situation outlined above and provided that Abdullah does not own any surplus wealth after deducting the cost of his necessities and liabilities; it will be permissible (in fact highly encouraged) to aid him with Zakaat monies.
Allamah Ibn Aabideen Shaami rahmatullahi alayhi states: … Among the recipients of Zakaat is …. a debtor who does not possess Nisaab in excess of his liabilities. It is mentioned in Al Zaheeriyyah: It is better to assist the debtor with Zakaat than to assist a needy person. Elucidating this statement Allamah Shaami says: It is better to give zakaat to the debtor than a needy person who is not a debtor because the necessity of the debtor is greater. [Shaami Vol.2 Pg. 66/7]

Q. What is the Islamic ruling on the transfer of Zakât Funds to another locality?

A. It is Makrûh Tanzihi [inappropriate] to transfer Zakât from one locality to another unnecessarily. It is best to distribute Zakât to one’s relatives, then to one’s neighbours, then to those living on one’s street and then to those of the locality.However, at times it will be acceptable – in fact advisable – to transfer Zakât monies to people beyond one’s locality, such as when the needy are one’s family, there are more needy and deserving ones, to pious persons and pupils studying Deen, to places where it is more beneficial for Muslims [such as drought, earthquakes, floods] etcetera. [Fatâwa Shâmi Vol. 2 Pg. 68/9]