PURIFYING YOUR WEALTH BY PAYING ZAKAATUL MAAL
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) explained that Islam is built upon five pillars:
1. Testifying that no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.
2. Praying five times every day.
3. Fasting the month of Ramadan every year.
4. To pay zakaat (literary purification) on wealth above the nisab (85 grams of gold or 6 ounces of silver or the equivalent value).
5. To make pilgrimage to the House of Allah in Makkah once in your life if you are able to.
Although the laws of Islam are many covering every aspect of a person’s life, the above five rules are considered as the minimum a person must follow to be considered that he/she is following the Shariah. The current state of the global Muslim Ummah is that we are witnessing a revival in the practicing of our way of life. This is evident from the conversations you hear children engaging in on public buses, by the proliferation of knowledge and debate about Islam on the internet and by the attendance of young Muslims for Jum’ua and Taraweeh prayers.
While all children memorise the first pillar and most observe the fasting even if they do not pray five times a day, Muslims have been neglectful of paying zakaat and many are not familiar with the rules of zakaat. There are two types of zakaat: zakatul fitr which needs to be paid at the end of Ramadan before the congregational prayer for Eidul Fitr and zakatul maal (purification of wealth). Zakaatul maal does not have to be paid in Ramadan although many wish to pay it in Ramadan in order to gain multiple rewards that Allah (swt) gives for good deeds performed in this holy month.
Zakaatul maal is paid so that rich people do not lock away wealth through hoarding or saving (described in the Quran as burying gold and silver) and thereby removing it from the economy. Although Muslims are allowed to save up money for a specific purpose such as going to Hajj or buying a car, Islam does not encourage saving money for the sake of saving; money is to be used as a medium of exchange to make it easy for people to carry out the tasks necessary for living in this world, it is not to be collected, saved or hoarded like a commodity. If a rich person locks away a large amount of money in a bank account for a year or more than his actions cause harm to poor people. This is the kind of action that has caused and is still causing the current financial crisis in the world.
The duty of zakaat is a way to ensure that the poor people are not harmed by the removal of wealth from being circulated in the economy. Any person who has a large amount of money that he has owned for over a complete lunar year must pay one fortieth (2.5%) of it to the six categories of people mentioned in the Quran as a purification of the wealth he has saved. This is not a favour or optional charity that he his paying, rather this money belongs not to him but to those people and he is only giving them their rights. Zakaatul maal is a compulsory payment and must be calculated correctly and you must make the intention for paying the zakaat after calculating the amount and before paying it. There is no harm in paying more than the calculated amount as the excess will count as voluntary charity. It is also allowed to delegate someone else to pass on the money or wealth to the deserving person. The responsibility of collecting and distributing the zakaat belongs to the khalifah, who can appoint collectors to carry out this task. Unfortunately, as the Muslim Ummah has been without a khalifah for nearly a century, many charity organisations have been set up to fulfil this obligation. The scholars disagree about the permissibility of having charity organisations as permanent zakaat collectors rather than as agents for distributing the zakaat on an ad hoc basis. There is also controversy about paying the charity workers from the zakaat money, with very few charities currently having a 100% donation policy. Some charities have been criticised for paying very large salaries to their executives and using luxury cars for their officers when distributing food and money.
If you have relatives who are eligible for receiving zakaat it is better for you to arrange for your zakaat to be passed on to them rather than delegating to charity organisations. Any person who owns excess wealth to the amount of the nisab of zakaat is not eligible to receive zakaat except to pay off debts. The value of the nisab of zakaat changes with the changes of the value of gold and silver. At the start of Ramadan this year it was £2,400 for 85 grams of gold and about £450 for 6 ounces of silver. If you have owned gold, silver, cash savings or a combination of the three for a whole lunar year more than the above amounts after taking away your short term debts than you must pay 2.5% of the total amount you have at the end of the year as zakaat. You can choose which nisab you calculate your zakaat on, the gold amount or the silver amount. The scholars encourage the use of the silver nisab as it means more people will pay zakaat and therefore more poor people will benefit.
The scholars disagree about women’s jewellery that they wear regularly. The Hanbali scholars say that you do not need to pay zakaat on gold and silver jewellery that is worn regularly. The stronger opinion is that of the Hanafi scholars and Shaykh bin Baz and ibn Uthaimeen also agree with them; if the jewellery is made mostly of gold or silver than you need to pay zakaat on its value. If the jewellery is made from mixed metals, and the amount of gold or silver is lesser than the other metals (e.g. in the case of 9 carat gold), than you do not need to pay zakaat on it.
Mohammed Mominur Rahman
20th Ramadan 1433 Hijri.
 In Imam Nawawi’s forty Hadith.
 Surah Tawba:60
 Mufti AbdulMuntaqim.
 Shaykh Abdur Rahman Madani, principal of Darul Uloom Mosque and Madrasa.
SOURCE: PURIFYING YOUR WEALTH BY PAYING ZAKAATUL MAAL