Category Archives: Zakaah

Zakaah, the second pillar of Islam. The rules, benefits, and wisdom of zakaah. Fiqh rulings are from the Shafi’ee madhab unless mentioned otherwise.

Rizq Management

Rizq Management

Rizq Management is an AlMaghrib Institute course taught by Muhammad Alshareef. The course focuses on three pillars of Islam: Zakaah, Siyaam, and Hajj. Which moon opinion is correct–one of them? Allof them? Does chewing gum break your fast? (Why or why not?) Does a woman pay zakaah on her gold jewelry?

Learn about these three fundamental pillars of Islam, and how to not only perform, but how to benefit from them at the highest level!

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Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Rizq Management. University of Toronto, Toronto. June 2006.


Zakaah on Plants and Fruits

Allah says, in Surah Al-An’aam:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَ جَنَّاتٍ مَّعْرُوشَاتٍ وَغَيْرَ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَالنَّخْلَ وَالزَّرْعَ مُخْتَلِفًا أُكُلُهُ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُتَشَابِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ كُلُواْ مِن ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَآتُواْ حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

Translation: And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date­palms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (i.e. zakaah) on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance), [Surah Al-An’aam, verse 141]1

This verse spells it out: pay the due on the day of the harvest. For fruit, the hawl (one year holding period) does not apply.

Zakaah is mainly focused away from fruit, and on plants–things that are the staple foods of people worldwide, like wheat, barley, salt, etc. things people need for sustenance. When it comes to fruit, fruit is more like a luxury–in the old days, diplomats came with watermelon, the ultimate gift–like “where’d you get watermelon in the middle of the desert?” It’s not something for someone to remain alive upon. And subhanallah, today, watermelon is just another fruit to us. How different our standards of life are.

There is a difference of opinion on what fruits and plants zakaah is paid on. According to the Shafi’ee madhab, zakaah is paid on plants and fruits that fill the stomach, are necessary, and can be stored. The key points are the latter two–something necessary and can be stored, becomes like an asset. Person collects all this harvest, they can keep it somewhere it won’t spoil quickly so they can distribute it.

Zakaah is paid on staples like: barley, wheat, corn, rice, lentils, chicpeas, beans, etc. Comfort-foods and other things non-essential to the diet don’t need zakaah paid on them–things like peaches, pears, figs, walnuts, almonds, pomagranates, etc.

In Somalian culture, for example, they eat bananas like people eat bread. So in that case, zakaah would be paid on harvest day. But in other cultures, bananas are a comfort food, a non-necessity, so zakaah is not paid on them.

The nisaab for plants is a net dried weight of 609.84kg (free of husks and chaff), and for rice and wheat (which are stored in the kernel) the nisaab is 1219.68kg.

In a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, the Messenger of Allah said, “For that which is watered by the sky or a spring, or by it’s roots, (the rate of zakaah) is one-tenth, and for that which is watered by a camel, (the rate of zakaah) is half of one-tenth.” [Bukhari]2

From this, we understand two things: zakaah paid on plants and fruits nurtured naturally is 10%–such as places where it rains, or a river flows through an area and all these trees sprout from it, zakaah in that case is 10%. Additionally, zakaah paid on and irrigated plants have a 5% zakaah rate–things where people have to make allowances to water them, like dig ditches and irrigation channels, and so on.

And finally, according to the Hanafi madhab, you pay the zakaah in what you’ve collected (with respect to plants and fruits). This is because, when zakaah collectors came in the time of the Prophet, you don’t see people pulling out wads of cash to give, but instead, the collectors take and distribute rice.

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alim.


(1) Khan, Muhsin, trans. “Quranic Realm.” Islamic Network. 12 May 2006 <>.

(2) Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Rizq Management. University of Toronto, Toronto. June 2006.


Business Zakaah

The following is an explaination on zakaah as it applies to business. In short, it’s 2.5% of marketable items.

Narrated Samurah ibn Jundub: The Mesenger of Allah used to order us to pay the sadaqah (zakaah) on what (goods) we prepared for trade. [Abu Dawud 9/1557]1

“Goods from what we prepared for trade” means business inventory. So if someone owns a clothing store full of leather jackets, they pay zakaah on all the jackets not sold after a year.

Which begs the question–what is business? Here, we define business as “an exchange of value with the intention of profit”. That’s what business is.

So if someone’s rich uncle dies (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon), then those 500 leather jackets he passes on is not zakaahable. They don’t have to pay zakaah on that, until the day they decide “hey, let’s sell this stuff off!”

In Surah Baqarah, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الأَرْض

Translation: O you who believe! Give of the good things which you have (honourably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you … [Surah Baqarah, verse 267]2

Keywords here are “anfiquw” (give) and “maa kasabtu” (what you earned) and what comes out of the land. “What you earned” means from your business, and “what comes out of the land” means crops–for farmers. So this verse covers both produce (rice, wheat, etc.) and business transactions.

There are two conditions on business items before they are zakaahable:

  1. Ownership through an exchange contract: the items must be owned through an exchange contract. This excludes things like getting items through inheritance, and things like gifts (unilateral contracts). One reason we didn’t say “owned through buying and selling”, is because it can be an exchange–“my taxi driver will work 12 hours for you, and you’ll give us 200 pizzas.”
  2. Intention to sell: You might have a whole lot of products–maybe you bought an entire box of awesome ‘itters (perfumes) that you could technically sell, but instead, give them away as gifts. In that case, you don’t pay zakaah on those items–even if you keep them for a long time!

When paying zakaah, the amount paid (2.5%) is calculated not on the price the items were purchased for, but on the current average market price. Those 500 leather jackets moldering in a warehouse since last year? You pay zakaah on the current market price for them.

One final point: zakaah on cattle is paid in cattle. Zakaah on food is paid in food. What about business zakaah? The answer is, it’s paid in gold and silver (or in cash). You can’t give 2.5% of your leather jackets as sadaqah!

(While you’re calculting your business zakaah on your marketable commodities like leather jackets, don’t forget to include zakaah on liquid cash you may have lying around, as well as reclaimable debts you expect will be paid back (including money you’ve made that hasn’t reached you yet), and subtract mature debts of a year or more–it’s like you don’t own that money.)

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alim. Just a reminder inshaAllah that this covers zakaah from a Shafi’ee madhab position. May Allah increase us in our knowledge and understanding of the pillars of Islam, ameen!


(1) “Partial Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 9: Zakat (Kitab Al-Zakat).” USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts. USC-MSA. 8 July 2006 <>.

(2) Khan, Muhsin, trans. “Quranic Realm.” Islamic Network. 12 May 2006 <>.

(3) Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Rizq Management. University of Toronto, Toronto. June 2006.


Three Requirements of Zakaah

Zakaah is paid on assets–things that bring in money. This is important, because it means zakaah is not on things you use–like your only car, or your house. More on that next post inshallah ta’ala.

There are three requirements before zakaah becomes due:

  1. Islam: The person has to be Muslim. (Non-Muslims don’t pay zakaah.) We deduce this from the hadith of Mu’ad ibn Jabal (رضي الله عنه), who the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) sent to Yemen. He (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said to Mu’ad: “Invite the people to shahada, and if they accept it, tell them Allah has enjoined on them five daily prayers, and if they accept it, tell them he has enjoined Sadaqah (the word used in the Qur’an and Sunnah for zakaah) on their assets.” [Bukhari 2/24/573]1
  2. Nisaab: The asset in question–whether cash, land, cows, iPods, etc. has to reach a certain threshold, called nisaab.
    Nisaab works like this: if you have a glass with a capacity of 500ml of water, you can fill it with 300ml, 400ml, 499ml of water, and nothing happens. But once you hit 500ml, it spills over. Like that, once you reach the nisaab, zakaah is due–but not before that.
  3. Hawl: Hawl means a (lunar) year has passed. The person must have the assets for one year, and for the entire year. If the amount ever dips below the threshold, then the hawl restarts from when it reaches nisaab again.
    So if hawl was hypothetically $1500, and you had it for eight months, then bought a $300 couch and dropped your savings to $1200, then cashed your paycheque two days later and brought it back up past $1500, the hawl would be due one year from the date you cashed the cheque. (Note: it is the Shafi’ee madhab specifically that states that the nisaab must be maintained throughout the year and restarts if it drops below the nisaab. Allah knows best about other opinions.)
    (Note that there are two exceptions to the hawl:
    1. Crops: Zakaah on crops is due at harvest time.
    2. Buried Treasure: Zakaah is due immediately.

May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) give us a proper understanding of this pivotal second pillar of Islam. I suggest you read (and memorize) that hadith, it’s key to multiple aspects of zakaah fiqh.


(1) “Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 24: Obligatory Charity Tax (Zakat).” USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts. USC-MSA. 6 July 2006 <>.

(2) Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Rizq Management. University of Toronto, Toronto. June 2006.