Do I Pay Zakat on Foreign Property?

Shaykh Abdurrahim Reasat answers a question related to the payment of Zakat on foreign property (according to the Hanafi school of thought).

 

Question:

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahuh

Hope you are well. I have a question re. zakat. My family has put a property abroad under my name – presumably to avoid problems of transfer when it comes to future inheritance. It is currently leased to a business who pay rent but in reality, I don’t consider the money as my own as, in effect, it is under the control of my family. Do I need to pay zakat on this? It’s not a matter I feel entirely comfortable with even though I understand why it has been done but I
don’t want to create problems. Concerning my own earned income, I am not eligible for zakat but if I have to incorporate the foreign rent, I may be even though I don’t use it. I would really appreciate an answer, especially as I can imagine other second-generation immigrants may be in similar situations.

Jazakallah khayrun

 

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Zakat is only due on wealth or property which has the potential for growth. This would include any property purchased with the intention of sale or to acquire rental income. As such, zakat would not be due on the property if it was not purchased with intention of sale. The rental income, however, is zakatable. (Mawsili, Al Ikhtiyar).

Ownership of the Property

Whether you owe zakat on the rental income or not is dependant on who the actual owner is. When the property was transferred to you was it done with the intention of making you the owner of it, such that if you decided to sell it you would be able to do so?

You need to gentle clarify the matter with your family. Make it clear to them that you do not want to cause friction, and then explain that there are religious ramifications to owning the property – if you are indeed the owner. You need to know so you can pay the zakat on the rental income – which is rightfully your if you own it, even if you do not spend it. If they say it is yours then you can deal with the situation in the manner you deem to be the best for all involved.

If the property is only in your name for another purpose then you do not have to pay the zakat on the rental income. The actual owner is responsible for this.

Clarity In Matters of Inheritance 

Inheritance is a serious affair in Islam. When a person dies his property automatically becomes the property of his next of kin – with the exception of funeral costs and the repayment of debts which are both given precedence. It is up to the heirs to see that it is distributed accordingly.

Non-Shari’a compliant distributions before death, and vague allocations can be the cause of a lot of problems، and even fighting، between the next of kin. Therefore, it is best to have all such matters clarified beforehand.

Not following the distribution detailed in the Qur’an has serious consequences in this world and the next. I heard Shaykh Ali Hani, whose family were originally from Palestine, say on a number of occasions that before the country was occupied, it was common for Palestinian families not give anything of the inheritance to the daughters. They thought that the money would end up going to another (her husband’s) family, and they preferred to keep it in their own. This practice was rife. Could it be that what happened to the country was a test from Allah because of this?

Speak to your family and get clarity. It will make things much easier later on.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Proof for Zakat on Fiat Currency in Shafi‘i Fiqh

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked about the proof for there being zakat on paper and other fiat currencies in the Shafi‘i school.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Someone is arguing that there is only zakat on gold and silver, because books like al Tuhfa, Fath al Mugin say there is only zakat on gold and silver coins.

What is the proof for zakat on paper currency in the Shafi‘i madhhab?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Paying zakat on paper money is obligatory in the Shafi‘i school, contrary to what might be understood from some key works in the school.

The reason for this is that paper money has now become globally accepted as currency, so it is dealt with in all aspects.

Imam al Nawawi says, “Our scholars reject there being any [zakat or interest] in [non-gold and non-silver] coins because the legal reason for [such rulings] is that gold and silver are almost innately currencies (جنس الأثمان غالباً), in contradistinction to such coins, which, even if they do have currency in certain places, are not treated as currency in such a universal way.” (Majmu, Nawawi)

Such authoritative works in the Shafi‘i school that explicitly reject this are referring to a time period in which paper money was not yet fully treated as currency in the financial and economic world, and therefore their words must be interpreted in such a light.

Now that these alternative currencies do have currency everywhere, and are treated as currencies even more than gold and silver, they take the ruling of gold and silver in zakat and interest.

Today, without question, the rules of zakat and interest apply to paper money.

For more detail on this issue, please see this fatwa in Arabic issued by the Ministry of Fatwa of Jordan.

I pray this helps,

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Do I Have to Pay Zakat on Land? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

(1) A friend bought land as an investment and didn’t have any other intentions. Is there a Zakat to this land?

(2) A friend bought land for agriculture. He didn’t have any intention to sell it later. But, later decided to sell. Is there a Zakat to this land?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Jazakum Allah khayr for your questions.

Zakat of trade is due on any commodity bought with the intention of trade. Zakat of trade is 2.5% of the market value of the good at the end of the lunar year, if its market value exceeds the nisab amount. It does not matter if the value of the goods fluctuated during the trade year.

Zakat is not due on anything bought with the intention of personal use.

Given the above, the answers to your specific questions are:

1. Your friend would pay zakat on this land at the end of the lunar year if it’s market value is above the silver/gold nisab. The zakat due would be 2.5% of the current market value.

2. If the agriculture was for personal use, then there is no zakat due on this land, even if he sold the land later.

However, if the agricultural products were for trade, there is still no zakat on the actual land, but zakat would be due on the crops. A summary of zakat on crops is given below.

Zakat on Crops

Zakat is due on crops if the following conditions are met:

1. If the crop is fruit, and they are raw dates and grapes. Zakat is not paid on any other fruit.

2. Or, that the crop is a grain that is a staple of people’s diet, such as wheat, barley, rice, corn. Other type of food are not liable to zakat.

3. That one possesses the nisab amount.

When one possesses the nisab amount of grains, or when the dates and fruits have become ripe, zakat becomes obligatory. What this means is that the portion of zakat is now owned by the poor. However, distributing the zakat is only obligatory when the grains and fruits have been dried, which would be dry dates and raisins for the fruits.

The nisab amount for grains and dry fruit is approximately 610kg of net dried weight which must be free of husks and chaffs. For food stored in their kernel, such as rice, the nisab is approximately 1220kg of dried weights.

In regards the zakat payable amount, one looks at how the crops and trees have been watered. If the land was irrigated by human effort, even by ditches or wheels, the zakat amount to be paid is 5% of the total dried weight. If the land was not irrigated by effort, such as through rain, then the zakat amount to be paid is 10% of the total dried weight.

[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, ‘Iyanat al Talibin, Bushra Al Karim]

I hope the above is of benefit insha’Allah. And Allah knows best.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Is It Permissible to Give My Zakat to My Daughter? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am an unemployed housewife. My husband is stingy. I have been using my savings to buy food and other necessities. I also pay my daughter’s Islamic School fee. I spend around $800 a month. Now my savings had left $22 500. This year, I feel heavy to give my zakat to other people as I am the one who need the money more. Can I use my zakat to pay for my daughter’s fee?

Answer: Assalam alaykum sister, thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear about your difficult financial situation. It’s unfortunate that you have been left to take on this responsibility, which should not be yours in the first place. May Allah makes things easy for you.

The general ruling is that a parent cannot give their zakat to their own children. However, this ruling may change depending on a number of factors, including whether the child is pre-pubescent or post-pubescent (baligh).

When working out if zakat is permissible to give to one’s child, there are a lot of aspects to consider, and would need further details of the case. There are quite a few practical considerations as well, which can be become complex, especially if the child is still young. For this reason, I will just mention here the possible practical solutions for you.

Practical steps

1. If there is a legal court you can take the case to, then you can do this, so that they enforce the father to pay for the upkeep of the child (as well as yours and any other dependent).

2. If there is no option of law enforcement, then you would be legally permitted to take from the father’s money, without permission, whatever is needed for the obligatory financial maintenance of yourself and any other of his dependents, though obviously you must be careful when doing this, for your own safety.

3. If the above is not possible, then please read the following.

Giving zakat to an ‘adult’ dependant

If your daughter has reached puberty, then it would be permissible to give your zakat to her. However, by giving her your zakat she owns the money and it is not obligatory that she spends it on her school fees.

Giving zakat to a pre-pubescent dependant

If your daughter is pre-pubescent, then the most practical steps would be to either:

A. Give your zakat to your 20-year-old son, if he fulfils the legal conditions of a ‘poor’ person (see point B below). If he then chooses to pay for his sister’s studies, then this would be permissible, as a sibling is not obligated to pay for another sibling’s upkeep.

However, do be aware that by giving your son the money as zakat, it belongs to him, and he can choose to do whatever he wants with it after receiving it. It is disliked to agree between the both of you that he use it for his sister before physically giving him the money, and prohibited at the point of giving him the money.

Giving Zakat in this way is valid, but generally disliked. Normally it would not be given as an option, however, if you are being forced into a difficult situation, there is some leeway.

B. In the Shafi’i school, a ‘poor’ person is someone who does not have enough to cover all his own needs and that of his dependents. What is meant by ‘enough’ is that one possesses enough money that they could invest it in a property or similar investment, and the profit would suffice them for their remaining lifespan (up to 60 years old). This covers a broad range of people. If they do not have this amount, then they are considered poor.

The amount of savings you mentioned you possess, even though it may seem a large amount of money, does not seem that it would not provide this, and since you are busy raising your family, then you yourself may be considered legally ‘poor’ in the Shafi’i school, and so entitled to zakat from others, which may help you make ends meet. However, if possible, please go over your details with a local scholar to confirm this applies.

[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Bughyat al Mustarshidin, Mughni al Muhtaj, Nihayat al Muhtaj]

Final considerations

I’m sure the situation must be very testing for you. May Allah make things easy for you and the family. Perhaps the following may also be of help:

– Try getting a third party, such as a friend, family member, or local scholar, to speak to your husband and persuade him to pay for yours and your child’s upkeep.

– Make plenty of du’a. You may find the following supplication helpful,

اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِي بِحَلَالِكَ عَنْ حَرَامِكَ وَأَغْنِنِي بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِوَاكْ

Oh Allah, suffice me with things that You have made halal so that I may abstain from things that You have made haram, and enrich me with Your grace so that I am not in need of anyone besides You.

May Allah grant you an easy way out of every difficulty.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Can a Person’s Zakat Date Change? Is Zakat Due Before Puberty? [Shafi’i]

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

1. Once a person’s zakat date is fixed, can it ever change?

2. Before puberty I used to find offers online for free pay-as-you go sim cards which used to sell for £10 in shops. Would zakat be necessary on the value of these sim cards before puberty?

Answer: Assalāmu ʿalaykum,

I pray that you are well.

Fixing a Zakat Date

A person’s zakat date, that is, the date upon which they must pay zakat, can change. This is because the zakat date is tied to a person’s owning for the year a minimum balance (the nisab value). A person starts calculating the year once they have gained this minimum balance, and must hold it for a year. If at any point they dip below this value, the calculation breaks, and restarts anew when they regain this minimum. Because of this, the zakat date can vary year to year.

In your case, your zakat obligation would have ceased when you dipped below the minimum amount. When you regained the minimum amount (such as through gifts), you would start calculating the year. Once a year has elapsed with you holding that minimum amount, you would be obligated to pay zakat. That is, you would not be obligated to pay zakat on the monetary gifts you received immediately; you would do so after a year of holding the minimum amount.

Transactions Prior to Puberty

There is no zakat on merchandise a person holds prior to puberty. That is because the school does not give any weight to a person’s intentions prior to puberty, intention being critical in determining whether zakat applies to merchandise.

After puberty, zakat would be obligatory on these goods, so long as a person has the intention to engage in trade, and the value of the merchandise is at the minimum set value at the end of the year. The calculation of the year breaks when one changes their mind and decides not to engage in trade.

Shuaib Ally