ZAKAAT— Questions and Answers

Lillah: Any amount optionally given for the sole Pleasure of Allah Ta’aala.


Fidyah: A person who is extremely weak and old and does not have the strength of fasting and does not have any hope of recovering will have to give an amount equivalent to Sadaqatul-Fitr in place of every fast that he has missed.


Sadaqatul-Fitr: It is Waajib on those upon whom Zakaat is compulsory and upon those who, although not liable for Zakaat, but possess the Nisaab of Zakaat on the day of Eid, in the form of excess items over and above the basic necessities of a home, car, clothes etc. The Sadaqatul Fitr has to be given on the day of Eid, before the Eid Salaat or it could be given before the Day of Eid.


Sadaqah: Any act of charity. (1) Waajib Sadaqah includes Zakaat, Fitrah and a vow, i.e. one has made an intention that if a certain work or task gets done, then he will give a certain amount of money as Sadaqah. It is obligatory upon him to give that amount. (2) Nafl Sadaqah: Money given with the intention to ward of evil or calamities. Rasullullah Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam said that Sadqah extinguishes the fire of Jahannam. Lillah also falls within the classification of Nafl Sadaqah.


I have never ever paid Zakaat before. Where do I start?

Answer: Right now, fix a date for Zakaat calculations e.g. Maghrib azaan time on the 29th Ramadhaan. Do not change this fixed annual date. Once a year on the set date, the Farz of discharging your Zakaat will be incumbent upon you if you have the nisaab amount.


What is meant by nisaab?

Answer: Understand nisaab to be “the wealth line”. Nisaab amounts vary. The present nisaab is in the region of R5750. However you need to contact your local aalim to find out what the exact amount is on the date your zakaat is due. If you have this amount or more in the form of cash, stock or gold and silver jewellery, you are liable for 2.5% zakaat.


Do you have to take exact stock on the day before your Zakaat due date – or is an estimation sufficient?

Answer: A cautionary inflated estimation is sufficient.


I presently have R50 000 cash. I do not owe anyone. My Zakaat is due on the 29th Ramadhaan. I am expecting an amount of R100 000 on the 25th Ramadhaan. Thus, I will have a total amount of R150 000 on the 29th Ramadhaan. Do I have to pay Zakaat on the R100 000 as well which was only in my possession for four days?

Answer: Yes, you have to pay Zakaat even on the R100 000 which was in your possession for only four days.  You will have to pay Zakaat on the total cash amount and value of gold and silver jewellery and stock-in-trade you will have on the 29th of Ramadhaan, regardless of when it came into your possession.


I received post-dated cheques for seventy-two months. How do I calculate my Zakaat?

Answer: In order to simplify things, ignore all post-dated cheques, loans etc. outstanding to you until you are paid and have the cash in your hand. Only calculate your Zakaat when you have the cash in your hand for all the outstanding years.


A rich person with a mansion and luxury cars keeps himself always purposely in debt. Can I give him my Zakaat?

Answer: There is no merit in giving such a person Zakaat. The reward for disbursing Zakaat to genuine Fuqara and Masaakeen is vastly superior. How will one ever know for sure whether this rich person, who “always keeps himself purposely in debt” is truly eligible for Zakaat? If technically he is eligible and the Zakaat is given to him then it will however be regarded as being discharged.


People owe me money. I do not know if they are going to repay me. Do I have to pay Zakaat?

Answer: When they repay you, then Zakaat will become Waajib upon you.


Do I have to inform the person I give Zakaat to, that it is Zakaat?

Answer: No, you do not have to inform him. In fact, it is better not to inform him.


Can I just assume a person who is in deep financial trouble is allowed to be given Zakaat or should I investigate?

Answer: You should make some covert investigations. Many such persons have a lot of jewellery which disqualifies them from receiving Zakaat.


A poor person has a T.V. Can I give him Zakaat?

Answer: The T.V. is a Haraam, evil and excess item. If the value of it is added to other Zakaat assets and the net amount reaches the Nisaab amount, then that person will not qualify for Zakaat. Example: A poor person owns two thousand rands. He has a T.V. worth R5000. The Nisaab is, for instance, R2500. This poor person will not qualify for Zakaat.


After giving Zakaat, it came to my attention that the person was not qualified. What do I do now?

Answer: Your Zakaat has been discharged. You have received every cent’s Thawaab. Grieve not!


What happens if I do not remember whether I paid my Zakaat in the past?

Answer: Think and ponder. What does your heart say to you? Follow its honest advice.


Does the person on whose behalf you are distributing Zakaat need to be informed that you have done so?

Answer: If you have been appointed by him as his unfettered Wakeel (representative), then there is no need to inform him.


Must the wife pay her own Zakaat? Could I pay on her behalf?

Answer: Yes, not only she, but every Baligh child, has to pay their own Zakaat. If the husband or the father wishes to pay their Zakaat, he requires their consent.


Instead of taking out a lump sum at the end of the year, is it permissible to take out my Zakaat beforehand in monthly instalments?

Answer: Yes, it is permissible to do this.


Can I give some of my old stock out as Zakaat?

Answer:  If some poor person can use it, then it is fine. However, if it is useless to anyone, then the Zakaat is not discharged.


Whom do I give my Sadaqatul-Fitr to?

Answer: Best to give it to an organization that distributes Sadaqatul-Fitr beforehand so that they can feed the poor on the day of Eidul Fitr.


Is it permissible to give Zakaat to an organization which pays its employees salaries from Zakaat funds?

Answer: No, it is not permissible to give Zakaat to such organizations.