Zakāh on Gold and Silver Jewellery that is worn by Women for Adornment and Beautification

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Al-Imām Muhammad Badr Ad-Deen Ad-Dimashqi (d. 1083, rahimahullāh) stated, “Women are allowed to adorn themselves with gold and silver in accordance with what is customary among them. And there is no Zakāh payable on permissible jewellery that was made for the purpose of wearing or loaning [to those who need it for beautification]…”

Al-‘Allāmah Ash-Shaikh Sālih Al-Fawzān explained: Women beautify themselves with gold and silver. And a woman is in need of jewellery to complete and perfect her beauty, and so that she beautifies herself for her husband ―Allah permitted her to adorn herself with silver and gold jewellery according to the customs of her land and limited herself to those customs even if is plentiful jewellery.

So there is no Zakāh to be paid on jewellery that was made for the purpose of wearing, meaning that Zakāh is not obligatory on women’s jewellery because it is permitted for her need to use as adornment ―and it is not counted as growth or increase in wealth (currency) and it is not trading merchandise. This is the saying of the majority of the scholars. If it was obligatory upon her to pay Zakāh upon her jewellery each year while she is otherwise poor, then what would she have left [of her jewellery]?

Either she would have to get rid of her jewellery or take a loan to pay the Zakāh on it ―and that would cause her hardship. And the Sharī’ah has not come to cause hardship. If the Sharī’ah has allowed her to adorn herself with jewellery in order to beautify herself, then we were to say to her, “you must pay zakāh upon it every year,” then that would cause hardship and difficulty for her. Likewise, there is no Zakāh on jewellery that is made in order to loan it to those women who may need it on occasions. (See Idāh Al-‘Ibārāt fī Sharh Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarāt ‘ala Madhhab Al-Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal, 2/33-34)

As for the hadeeth wherein, a woman came to the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and she was accompanied by her daughter who wore two gold bangles on her hands. He said to her: “Do you pay zakat on them?” She said: “No.” He then said: “Are you pleased that Allah may put two bangles of fire on your hands.” Thereupon she took them off and placed them before the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) saying: “They are for Allah and His Messenger.” (Abu Dawūd, no. 1563, Hasan)

And the hadeeth where A’ishah (radiyallāhu ‘anhā) said: “The Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) entered upon me and saw two silver rings in my hand. He asked, ‘What is this, A’ishah?’ I said, ‘I have made two ornaments myself for you, Messenger of Allah.’ He asked, ‘Did you pay zakat on them?’ I said, ‘No.’ or I said, ‘Whatever Allah willed.’ He said, ‘This is sufficient to take you to the Helfire.’” (Abu Dawūd, no. 1565, sahīh)

From these hadeeths it can be understood that the normal Zakāh is payable on gold and silver jewellery that a woman wears. However, what seems more correct is that the zakāh intended in these hadeeths is not the same as the one payable based on reaching a nisāb and the passing of a year for the following reasons:

1. The jewellery (two silver rings or those gold bangles) in these hadeeths did not reach the level of nisāb, and the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), “Did you pay zakat on them?” does not necessarily show that their weights had reached the level of nisāb as we shall make clear, inshā’ Allāh.
2. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not ask them whether their jewellery had been in their possession for a year. And it is fairly clear from the narration of A’ishah (radiyallahu ‘anhā) that her possession of the silver rings was recent due to the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “What is this, O ‘Ā’ishah?”

Therefore, what is apparent is that the zakāh the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) is prescribing in these hadeeths is not the one based on gold and silver (in the form of wealth) which reaches the level of nisāb (85 grams for gold and 595 grams for silver) over which a year has passed while in your possession.

So, the intent of the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) is that a general unspecified zakāh (or sadaqah) must be paid in accordance with the generosity and ability of the person (woman) who owns the jewellery.

Mālik bin Anas (d. 179) and Ash-Shāfi’ī (d. 204) held that there is no zakāh to be paid on jewellery that is used for beautification ―and Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 241) also in one of his two well-known sayings on the matter.[1]

Al-Khattābi said: The scholars have differed concerning the obligation of Zakāh upon jewellery (of gold and silver). It is narrated from ‘Umar bin Al-Khattāb, Abdullah bin Mas’ood, Abdullah bin ‘Amr and Ibn ‘Abbās that they obligated Zakāh on jewellery. And it is the saying of Ibn Musayyib, Sa’īd bin Jubayr, ‘Atā, Ibn Sīrīn, Jābir bin Zayd, Mujāhid, Az-Zuhri, Ath-Thawri and the As’hāb Ar-Ra’ī.

And it has been narrated from Ibn ‘Umar, Jābir bin ‘Abdillāh, Ā’ishah ―and it is narrated from Al-Qāsim bin Muhammad and Ash-Sha’bi that they reported that there is no zakāh on jewellery. And this was the position of Mālik bin Anas, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishāq bin Rāhūyah and the more apparent saying of Ash-Shāfi’ī.[2]

Important points about Zakāh on Gold and Silver Jewellery

1. What seems apparent, and Allah knows best, that the narrations which command with zakāh on gold and silver refer to wealth that is used as currency such as dīnārs, dirhams, gold and silver coins, bricks, bars, etc, held as currency. And wordings of the hadeeths actually mention the amounts to be paid on “dīnārs” (gold currency) and “dirhams” (silver currency). The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “When you possess two hundred dirhams (silver coins) and one year passes on them, five dirhams are payable. As for gold, nothing is incumbent on you till it reaches twenty dinars (gold coins). When you possess twenty dinars and one year passes on them, half a dinar is payable.” (Abu Dāwūd, no. 1573) So these are currencies that must exceed a certain amount (i.e. nisāb) and be in your possession for a year.

2. The jewellery of women that is used for beautification and adornment is just like a cow that is used for cultivation or a camel that is used for working. There is no zakāh to paid on them even though they both belong to a category on which zakāh is paid. ‘Ali (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated: “Regarding cattle cows, a yearling bull calf is payable for every thirty cattle, and a cow in her third year for forty cattle, and nothing is payable on working animals.” (Abu Dāwūd, no. 1572)

3. Most of the Sahābah (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) were on the position that zakāh is not paid on jewellery worn by women.

4. Those among the Salaf, from whom it is narrated that zakāh is obligatory on jewellery worn by women and it is also narrated from them that it is not to be paid, then the harmonisation of these texts can be done by saying: zakāh is payable in the general sense as an unspecified sadaqah according to the generosity of the person and ability. Allah knows best.

5. By holding the position that a general non-specific zakāh is to be paid on jewellery in the form of sadaqah, a person does not oppose the saying of Allah:

وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ – 9:34

“And those who hoard up the treasures of gold and silver (upon which zakāh has not been paid), and spend it not in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment.” (At-Tawbah 9:34) So, a woman is saved from blame if she pays a sadaqah on her jewellery. In that way, she is not considered as hoarding gold and silver.

Abu ‘Ubayd Al-Qāsim bin Salām (rahimahullāh) made the point that the scholars do not differ regarding paying zakāh on gold and silver currency in whatever form it is possessed such as dinārs, dirhams, riqqah (silver currency) as in the hadeeth reported by Bukhāri (no. 1454) where the Prophet obligated zakāt on the silver currency at 2.5% and so on. In fact, the scholars agreed (by ijmā’) that zakāh must be paid on the deenārs and dirham (gold and silver coins and currency) and that which is considered as being the same as them even if they are called different names, such as in the hadeeth of al-awqiyah which equates to 40 dirhams and refers only to dirhams (silver coins). However, the scholars have differed on the issue of gold jewellery. Furthermore, these scholars report the hadeeth that specifies currency: Ibn Abi Laylah narrated from Abdul-Kareem from ‘Amr bin Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather from the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) who said: “There is no zakāh on that which is less than 20 mithqāl of gold (currency) nor on less than 200 silver dirhams.”

Therefore, gold jewellery is considered like the rest of your furniture, household items and effects ―and so, it is correct to assume that there is no zakāh upon jewellery that is used as adornment and beautification. And there is no zakāh on working animals such as the cow and camel (as in the hadeeth) since they are considered as the possessions of the house and used for that purpose ―so this also applies to gold jewellery that is used by the women of the house.[3]

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[1] For Mālik, see Al-Kāfi (p. 89), Al-Qawaneen Al-Fiqhiyyah (p. 69), Al-Fawākih Ad-Dawāni (1/390). For Shāfi’ī, see Al-Hāwi al-Kabeer (3/371), Al-Muhadhdhab (1/215). For Ahmad, see Al-Insāf (3/138-139), Ar-Rawd an-Nadi (p. 152).
[2] Ma’ālim as-Sunan (2/176).
[3] Abridged, see a lengthier discussion in Al-Amwāl by Abu ‘Ubayd (p. 542-545). See also, Al-Tarjeeh fi Masā’il as-Sawm waz-Zakāh of Muhammad bin ‘Umar Bazmool (2/124-131)

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