Is Zakat Due for Unlawful Income?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I used to work in information technology for a Catholic organization. Alhamdulillah, I am now more practicing and changed my job many years ago. I had Zakat to pay in the past and did so while working for a Catholic organization.

My question is whether Zakat is due on the money earned from this job. Does the extra pay for zakat count as a charity (sadaqa) if zakat is not allowed for that job?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

May Allah increase you in Islam and Iman, and may He reward you for your desire to live righteously. If you are confident your income was unlawful, Zakat was not payable. Though valid and correct, you gave it to deserving recipients will not be regarded as charity. One is only rewarded for giving that which one owns or is in charge of, and Allah knows best.

Zakat on Impermissible Income

Zakat is not owed on impermissible income because it does not belong to the one who has it. Imam Nawawi transmits and concurs with Imam Ghazali, who states that “if a person does not possess anything but purely impermissible wealth, he does not have to undertake Hajj or pay Zakat, and he does not have to offer expiation in the form of wealth.” [Nawawi, Majmu‘]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.