The book of Zakat

(0.1) All praise belongs to Allah. There is none worthy of worship but Him; it is He who gives and it is He who sustains. Peace be upon His final messenger who was the most thankful servant of Allah and generous to those around him. Blessings be upon his companions who followed in his footsteps.

(0.2) This is a summary of the law of zakat in accordance to the hanafi school. In it I gathered only the preponderant views using Nuqaya as the base and where necessary supplemented it with the other reliable mutun namely Quduri, Wiqayah, Bidayat, Kanz, Multaqa, Majma’, Mukhtar and Tuhfah.

(1.1) Zakat1 is (i) to give ownership2 (ii) of [a specified portion3 of one's] property4 (iii) to a poor5 Muslim, who is not Hashimi or their client, (iv) with the condition that they forego the benefits from the property in every way (v) for the sake of Allah almighty.6

(1.2) Zakat is not compulsory except upon a person who is (1) free, (2) Mukallaf (adult and sane), (3) Muslim and (4) the full owner7 (a) of capital wealth8 (b) for one [lunar] year9, which (c) meets the nisab10, minus (i) base needs11 and (ii) debt12 owed to people13.

(1.3) (1) Zakat is not compulsory upon [a person who is] a (a) Mukatab14, [(b) kafir, (c) child15 or (d) insane16]. [(2) Zakat is not compulsory on property] which was received after being written off such as wealth which was lost, restricted without evidence, or confiscated unjustifiably.

(1.4) Intention is required at the time of payment or transfer except that one donates their entire wealth.


(2.1.1) The nisab is (a) five for camel17, (b) 30 for cattle18 (not worked). See sect 2.1.6 , (c) 40 for sheep and (d) a male-female pair for horses.

(2.1.2) It is compulsory to give (1) one sheep19 for every five camels [if one owns less than 24 camels or else] give one she-camel (aged 1)20 for 25, one she-camel (aged 2)21 for 36, one she-camel (aged 3)22 for 46, one she-camel (aged 4)23 for 61, two she-camels (aged 4) for 76 camels, and two she-camels (aged 5) for 91 to 120 camels.24 (2) Thereafter [above 120], give [an additional] one sheep for every five and one she-camel (aged 2) for 25 camels. Give three camels (aged 3) for 150 camels. (3) Subsequently [beyond 150], add a she-camel (aged 3) for every 46 to 50 camels and thereafter [on the remainder] follow similar to the first [direction].25

(2.1.3) [It is compulsory to] give (1) one cattle (aged 1)26 for 30 cows, [bulls, or ox]27 and one cattle (aged 2))28 for 40. (2) Above 40 to 60 the payment will be calculated [accordingly].29 (3) Thereafter, give one cattle (aged 1) for every 30 and one cattle (aged 2) for every 40.30

(2.1.4) [It is compulsory to give] (1) one sheep31 for 40 sheep or lambs, two sheep for 121, three sheep for 201, and four sheep for 400. (2) Thereafter [beyond 400], one sheep for every 100.32

(2.1.5) [It is compulsory to give] a dinar or 2.5% of the price for every horse [when one owns only] female horses or at least one mixed set.33

(2.1.6) It is not compulsory to give [for any livestock] unless it is a sa’imah (served no function other than being herded most of the year). [Hence], It is not [compulsory to give] for a baby animal34 unless it is with an adult nor an animal that has worked.

(2.1.7) It is compulsory to give the medium range [from the livestock]. If that is unavailable, the collector should take the lower range with the remainder [as cash] or the higher range and return the excess.

2.2. CASH

(2.2.1) (1) The nisab is (a) 20 mithqal35 for gold and (b) 200 dirham36 for silver. (2) Every ten dirham is equivalent to seven mithqals [in weight]. (3) [The quality of gold and silver does not matter] be it mint, raw [or an ornament on an item]

(2.2.2) (1) It is compulsory to give 2.5%37 upon [the nisab] and thereafter upon every [4 mithqal and 40 dirham]38 beyond the nisab (2) The dominant [metal] will be used [to determine classification].39 (3) If other metals are more, the price [of the gold or silver within] will be calculated.

(2.2.3) There is no zakat on anything other than that which was mentioned unless at the point of ownership (a) one intended trade (inheritance is an exception) and (b) its price exceeds the nisab of [gold or silver] whichever is more beneficial for the poor.


(3.1) It is permissible to pay cash [equivalent40] for zakat and fitrah41. (3.2) The loss42 [of the wealth] after the year [passes], reduces [zakat] proportionally. (3.3) There is no zakat on a fraction43. (3.4) Assign anything gained within the year to its category. (3.5) Count the gold with the silver [in a manner which is favourable to the poor] and the price of the trading stock with them both to calculate the nisab. (3.6) Its fluctuation within the year is considered unimportant [so long does not reach zero]. (3.7) It is permissible to pay in advanced for the year or beyond.

(4.1) The recipients of zakat [are as follows]. (1) The poor; those who do not own the nisab. (2) The destitute; those who own nothing. (3) The person appointed to collect zakat who will be given his expense. (4) A mukatab44 who will be assisted to purchase their freedom. (5) A person in debt such that minus their debt they do not own the nisab. (6) Those in the path of Allah who according to Imam Abu Yusuf is a stranded soldier and according to Imam Muhammad is a stranded haji. (7) The wayfarer who does not have any property with them45. (8) All or some of these groups may be given46.

(4.2) (1) [Zakat] may not be given to (a) one’s child [or their offspring], (b) spouse47, (c) parents [or their ancestors]48, (d) slave49, or (e) a slave who they partially freed. (2) It may not be given to (a) a rich person, (b) their slave, or (c) children. (3) It may not be given to (a) the Hashimi50, or (b) their client. (3) Nor can it be given to a non-Muslim subject (zimmi). [(4) It may not be given toward (a) the building of a masjid, or (b) shrouding the deceased.]

Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
28 Sha’ban 2015
16 June 2015

  • 1. Literally, zakat means to purify. It also means to grow.
  • 2. Hence, permission to use or consume an item without full ownership is insufficient such as allowing the poor to eat to their fill within a hall or utilise clothing with the condition that it be returned when not needed (See Radd 171/3)
  • 3. This condition removed sadaqat al-fitr from the definition of zakat as it is not given from a portion rather is a fixed amount.
  • 4. Hence providing a service is insufficient such as the building of a well, school, masjid or providing temporary shelter (Radd 172/3)
  • 5. A person to be considered eligible must be poor either in reality or temporarily. A person is considered poor if their total assets (irrespective if it is capital or fixed) minus based need does not exceed the nisab. The only exception is the person appointed to collect zakat and mu’allafat al-qulub. Note that the criteria for receiving zakat is different from the criteria for those who must give zakat. I have highlighted the difference in the article entitled, “The economic classes in Islam”. This is available in Islamic Studies Bulletin (issue 1) at
  • 6. A more concise technical definition of zakat is to give ownership of a specific portion from a specific property to specific individuals for the sake of Allah almighty (See Lubab). The specific portion is fixed, 2.5%, 5%, or 10%. The specific property is qualified livestock, cash, treasure, and land which is above a predetermined threshold (nisab). The specific portions mentioned correspond to the specific property respectively and are covered in sections 2.1 – 2.4 accordingly. The specific individuals are the qualified recipients as identified in section 4 of this article.
  • 7. There is no zakat on property which is haram or acquired through a haram means (mal khabith) such as wine or theft respectively. This is because according to the shari’ah one is not the owner of the property and as such must discard of it all from their possession (Radd 175/3)
  • 8. Capital wealth (mal name) is property which naturally generates more wealth. This is namely found in livestock, cash, trading goods, gold and silver mines and arable land.
  • 9. The one year rule (hawl) applicable for each category of wealth separately. So the hawl and zakat anniversary will for livestock will be at a different time to currency which encompasses gold, silver, cash and tradable stock. Hawl is not a condition for ‘ushr (zakat on land) as that is seasonal.
  • 10. The nisab is the predetermined threshold set by shariah below which there is no zakat.
  • 11. This is includes any immediate necessary expenses such as cost for living, clothing, furniture, travelling, essential services, or tools for work or protection (see Quduri).
  • 12. The debt owed to others must be immediate or the near future and incurred before the zakat was due. Allm. Halabi states the period to be a year (see Multaqa). However, in my humble opinion three months seems a better suggestion in this era for those living in developed countries as that is the norm for short term personal financial planning (Allah almighty knows best). The debt owed for item already purchased and owned is deductible. Property left as security deposit is not deductible unless it is considered likely that they will lose the deposit (Radd 177/3).The shawafi do not recognise any form of debt as deductible and require one to pay on the assets they have at hand (Umdat al-Salik).
  • 13. Hence, previous outstanding zakat or hajj is not deductible.
  • 14. A slave given the opportunity to purchase their freedom.
  • 15. The Shawafi’ hold that it is compulsory upon the guardian to pay on behalf of the child from the property of the child. If they do not, the child must pay the unpaid amount once they become an adult (see Umdat al-Salik).
  • 16. The ruling for the clinically insane is the same as a child.
  • 17. The breed does not matter so long as it is a sa’imah (not worked rather just used for grazing). See sect 2.1.6
  • 18. Cattle refers cow, bull and ox. The first is female, the second is an uncastrated male and the third is a castrated male. The breed does not matter so long as it is sa’imah
  • 19. The sheep must be at least aged 1 years irrespective of gender. A lamb (aged 0 years) cannot be given as zakat.
  • 20. Technically, a she-camel which has reached child bearing age or more specifically has entered the second year of life (aged 1) is called a bint makhaz.
  • 21. Technically, a she-camel which has reached child bearing age or more specifically has entered the third year of life (aged 2) is called a bint labun.
  • 22. Technically, a she-camel which has reached the age to give milk or more specifically has entered the fourth year of life (aged 3) is called a Hiqqah.
  • 23. Technically, a she-camel which has entered the fifth year of life (aged 4) is called a jaza’ah.
  • 24. There is no dispute on the zakat of camels between 0 - 120 amongst any of the schools (ijma)
  • 25. In other words, if somebody owns more than 150 camels (c), divide the total camel by 50 (c/50) to ascertain the number of she-camels (aged 3) which is to be given. Thereafter, apply the rule from the beginning on whatever remains. For example, in the case of 240 camels, there will be four she-camels (aged 3) as 240/50=4 and the remaining 40 will result in one she-camel (aged 2). If it were 246, it will be four she-camels (aged 3) and the remaining 46 will result in another she-camel (aged 3). Hence, one will give five she-camels (aged 3) for 246 camels.
  • 26. Technically, a cattle which has entered the second year of life (aged 1) is called a tabi’ if it is a male or tabi’ah if it is a female.
  • 27. See Quduri
  • 28. Technically, a cattle which has entered the third year of life (aged 2) is called a musinn’ if it is a male or musinnah if it is a female.
  • 29. For 50 cattle, give one cattle (aged 2) plus a quarter of the price of another cattle (aged 2). Nothing needs to be given for 41-49 or 51-59 cattle. This is the view of Imam Abu Hanifah as reported by Imam Hasan b. Ziyad. This is the more appropriate position according to the authors of Bada’I and Muhit. The fatwa is upon this (see Bahr). The other view as stated in the main text is that an additional 2.5% of the price of a cattle (aged 2) be given for every cattle owned above 40 up to 59. This view is presented in Hidaya, Kanz and Nuqayah. According, to Imams Malik, Shafi’i and Ahmad b. Hanbal as well as the sahibayn, nothing extra need to be given if one owns between 41 and 59 other than that which was given on 40.
  • 30. Hence, one will give two cattle (aged 1) for 60, one cattle aged 2 and one aged 1 for 70, two cattle (aged 2) for 80, three cattle (aged 1) for 90 so on so forth. If one owns 120 cattle, they may give four cattle (aged 1) or 3 cattle (aged 2).
  • 31. The sheep must be at least aged 1 years irrespective of gender. A lamb (aged 0 years) cannot be given as zakat.
  • 32. 5 for 500 sheep, 6 for 600 so on so forth. The general formula above 400 will be divide the number of sheep (s) by 100; s/100. The resulting integer is the answer. To illustrate, for 824 sheep, calculate 824/100 which equals 8.24. Take the integer 8 as the amount that needs to be given.
  • 33. The sahibayn and Imam Malik, Shafi’i, Ahmad hold that there is no zakat on a horse. Qadi Khan, Bazzazi, Allm. Ibn Nujaym et al. have stated that fatwa is upon the position of the sahibayn. Imam Sarakhsi, Allm. Quduri, Allm. Kasani have given preference to the view of Imam Abu Hanifa as stated in the main text. Allah knows best.
  • 34. Technically, a baby animal (aged 0 years) is called an ‘ijl (pl. ajajil) if it is a cattle or faslan (pl. fasil) if it is a camel. Correspondingly, there is no zakat on an animal still in its mother’s stomach (haml pl. humlan).
  • 35. A mithqal is around 4.37g of gold according to the ahnaf and 4.25g according to the rest. This corresponds to 87.4g and 85g respectively for 20 mithqal. The difference between 4.37g and 4.25g would not have been discernible in the old scale and would have been considered within the acceptable margin of error.
  • 36. A dirham is around 3.06g of silver according to the ahnaf and 3.975 according to the rest. This corresponds to 612g and 595g respectively for 200 dirham. It is accepted fact that a dirham is 0.7 of a mithqal. Hence, the dispute in the mithqal has an impact on the weighting of the dirham.
  • 37. The text of Nuqayah and the other mutun state, “a quarter of a tenth”; ¼ x 1/10 = 1/40 = 0.25.
  • 38. The text of Nuqayah states, "Upon every fifth [of the nisab] beyond the nisab". A fifth of 20 mithqal is 4 and fifth of 200 dirham is 40. 2.5% of 40 dirhams is 1 dirham and as 4 mithqal was equivalent to 40 dirhams classically, 2.5% of it is also 1 dirham. The dirham was the smallest standard currency and as such there was no zakat below 4 mithqals or 40 dirhams. In short there is no zakat below forty units of the smallest currency. In the UK one will give 1p for every 40p and so for 79p the zakat due will still be 1p according to Imam Abu Hanifa and the fraction of a penny will be left as it is not a standard unit. Accordingly, if somebody calculates the payable zakat to be £25.678, they will only pay £25.67 as physically there is nothing smaller than a penny. Hence, according to Imam Abu Hanifah one will always round downward in contrast to the sahibayn
  • 39. A metal is treated as wholly gold if more than half of it is gold. The same is the case for silver. Hence, white gold or any other permutation where majority of it is composed of gold will be considered gold. As such Zakat must be given upon the whole of it and it cannot be worn by men.
  • 40. The price is set of the day zakat become compulsory according to Imam Abu Hanifa whilst the sahibayn state it is the date the payment is made. This dispute is regarding gold, silver and tradable goods. In terms of livestock, all are unanimous that the price is set for the day of payment. The pricing is done according the city in which the property resides (See fath al-Qadir).
  • 41. The same is the ruling for kaffarah, ushr and nazr according to the ahnaf (see Nuqayah). Imams Shafi’I, Malik and Ahmad b. Hanbal hold that the payment of zakat through cash equivalent is invalid.
  • 42. Destruction of their own property or negligence is exempt from this rule and the full zakat remains payable.
  • 43. This is according to Imams Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf as opposed to Imams Muhammad and Zufar.
  • 44. A slave given the opportunity to purchase their freedom.
  • 45. Such a person will be given enough to make their journey back home and nothing more (see Lubab)
  • 46. The ahnaf do not specify that three members from each group need to be given (see Multaqa).
  • 47. This is according to Imam Abu Hanifa. The sahibayn permit giving zakat to a spouse. Allm. Marghinani has given preponderance to the view of Imam Abu Hanifah. Allm. Nasafi and Burhan al-Shariah concur (see Lubab).
  • 48. See. Quduri
  • 49. This rule applies even if the slave is their umm walad, mudabbar or mukatab (cf. Multaqa)
  • 50. The descendant of Hadrat Abbas (may Allah almighty be pleased with him) as well as Abu Talib and Harith.

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2015). The book of Zakat. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 104. Available at