Payer of Zakat and Nisab

A Guide to Zakah - Understanding & Calculation, Fiqh / Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Payer of Zakah

Zakah must be paid by the one who is:

1- Muslim

2- Major (Baligh)

3- Sane

4- Sahib-un-nisaab (owner of wealth above the level of nisaab)

Above-mentioned four conditions are described respectively in the following lines:

  1.  Zakah is not obligatory on a non-Muslim as Zakah is an ibadah (an act of pure worship) and a non-Muslim is not obliged to carry out the ibadah of Islam.
  2.  A person must be major to qualify as a Zakah payer. Minors are not under a fard obligation to perform acts of ibadah such as prayers (salaat) and fasting (saum) because they lack legal capacity. They are accordingly exempt from paying Zakah by reason of absence of legal capacity.
  3.  The Zakah payer must be sane. In this regard, two situations must be distinguished:
    1.  The child who at maturity is insane. In this case, the insane person upon regaining his intellect is exempt from payment of Zakah for the duration of his insanity. Liability for Zakah attaches to him from the time he regains his sanity and accordingly his Zakah year is calculated from such date.
    2.  The person although sane at the time of maturity subsequently thereto becomes insane. In this case, if the insanity lasts for a whole year, the insane person is exempt from Zakah for this period, and his Zakah year is therefore deemed to commence from the date of recovery of sanity. On the other hand, if the insanity remains for a part of the year, then he is liable for the Zakah of that year.3
  4.  Nisaab is described in the following lines.

Definition of Nisaab

Nisaab is the threshold or line, which separates those who are duty bound to give Zakah from those who are not. In other words, Nisaab is the minimum amount of wealth whose owner is deemed to be wealthy in the conception of Shari’ah and Zakah is obligatory on him. For example, one who owns 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver or its equivalent amount of cash or trading assets etc. is called Sahib-un-nisaab and it is obligatory on him to pay Zakah (i.e. 2.5% of his total zakatable assets) to those who deserve Zakah.

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