The Rules of Zakāh: The Obligatory Charity ―What is Paid on? How to Calculate it and to Whom Should you Pay it? (Islam 2.5)

Those Muslims with wealth should give willingly to avoid disturbing scenes like this.
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I encourage you to pay your Zakāh here at so that we (at Al-Maktabah As-Salafiyyah) can use your Zakāh to help those most in need locally and around the world.

The third pillar, Zakāh (or Zakāt), is only a duty for wealthier Muslims whose wealth has reached a minimum “threshold amount” that has been in their possession for a year. Each year, they must pay 2.5% of their accumulated gold, silver and savings to those less fortunate in the community. In this way, they purify their wealth. Zakāh means to “purify” or “cleanse” one’s halāl (permissible) earnings. Illegal earnings are not accepted by Allah because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allāh is pure and good and loves only that which is pure and good.”

What is Zakāt Payable on?

Zakāt is payable when a person’s (male or female) wealth has reached or exceeded a specified amount (called a nisāb) that is mentioned in the Sharee’ah. The specific wealth upon which the Zakāt is payable on four categories:

  1. That which comes out of the ground from crops and fruit.
  2. Grazing livestock animals.
  3. Gold, silver and cash.
  4. Products sold as merchandise.

The most common to people living in Europe is the zakāh payable on the third and fourth categories. As for the threshold amount (nisāb) after which zakāh must be paid, then:

  • for gold, it is 85 grams; (some scholars say 92 grams)
  • for silver, it is 595 grams; (some scholars say 640 grams)
  • for money, it is the value of 595 grams of silver which in Ramadān 2020 is £238 GBP (or $296 USD)
Those Muslims with wealth should give willingly to avoid disturbing scenes like this.

Wealthy Muslims should give willingly to avoid disturbing scenes like this. Shaikh Fawzān: “Zakāh is a right the poor have over the wealthy.”

The Qur’an does not specifically mention the amounts payable; however, these amounts are reported in the Sunnah by authentic hadīth, in great detail – which proves the great importance of this pillar. So if anyone’s wealth exceeds the nisāb amounts, and they have had it for a year, then 2.5% in Zakāh (the obligatory poor due) must be paid. Zakāh is not paid by anyone who has less than this amount of wealth. Zakāh is not paid on diamonds, platinum or other types of jewellery. It is not paid on cars, houses or property (but it is paid on money earned through rent and profit from investments). So to work out the amount of zakah to be paid, add up your all your cash savings and gold you have had for a year above the value of nisāb, then work out 2.5% of it and give it in charity to be spent on any of the eight categories mentioned in the Qur’an (At-Tawbah 9:60).

The Categories of those Deserving of Zakāh

  1. The very poor (fuqarā)
  2. The needy (masākeen)
  3. Those employed to collect it (to meet their needs)
  4. To attract the hearts of those non-Muslims who are inclined towards Islam
  5. Freeing captives
  6. Helping those in genuine debt
  7. To the governmental army of a Muslim country
  8. The traveller to help him reach his destination

Allah (the Most High) mentioned these categories in His saying:

“As-Sadaqāt (here it means Zakāt) are only for the Fuqara’ (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds), and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun, the armies of the Muslim countries), and for the traveller who is prevented from reaching his destination; a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (9:60)

How is Zakāt on cash measured? Is it connected to the Nisāb of Gold or Silver?

It is known that the nisāb value of silver in this time is less than the nisāb value for gold. So when a person has paper currency whose value has reached the nisāb of silver, then he pays Zakāt on it. The nisāb of silver is 595 grams (or very close to that). So the one who has cash to this value (or more), he must pay 2.5% of all of it, as Zakāt.

The scholars have stated that it is more beneficial for the poor that the measure of paper money is set in accordance with the lesser of the two nisābs. (See Fatawa Ibn Bāz, 14/125, Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Dā’imah, vol. 9/254, no. 1881, signed by Abdullah Ibn Qa’ood, Abdullah Ibn Ghudyān, Abdur-Razzāq Afeefi, Ibn Bāz) Additionally, Al-Lajnah Ad-Dā’imah (the same committee of scholars) stated that the nisāb for silver in the time of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) was 200 silver dirhams (which is equivalent to 595 grams of silver), so if a Muslim has paper money currency to that value, then Zakāt is to be paid on it. (Fatāwa Islamiyyah 3/163). Shaikh Ibn Bāz stated in his fatwa that Zakāt is compulsory on paper currency when its value reaches the lesser of the two nisābs out of silver and gold. (Fatawa Ibn Bāz, 14/125) And the lesser of the two nisābs is silver in our times.

Calculating Zakāt: An Example

  • A person had gold weighing 110 grams. Each gram is worth £26 (approx.) as of Ramadan 2018 (at 22ct gold), therefore its cash value is = £2,860

This gold is above the nisāb amount of 85 grams, and the owner has had it for a year, so its Zakāt at 2.5% of £2,860 (if he is to pay in cash), comes to £71.50

  • Cash in the house: £350 + bank savings £1550 = £1,900

This cash has been in the possession of a person for a year. The Zakāt on it is calculated according to its worth in silver. The nisāb for silver is 595 grams. Each gram is worth £0.39 (approx.) in Ramadan 2018. So the nisāb value of silver is £238 ―this person has £1,900 so it is above the nisāb value. He must pay Zakāt at 2.5% of £1,900 which comes to £47.50

  • Total Zakāt payable is £71.50 + £47.50 = £119.00

Zakāt upon those earning monthly salaries or receiving monthly rents:

Ibn ‘Uthaimeen explained that the one who receives a monthly salary or monthly rent or what is similar to that — who takes that wealth and stores it in a box or in another means of saving (such as a bank). And he takes money from it as he needs and adds money to it through the year. So then he gets confused as to what amount he has had for a year. We say that in this situation if the balance has not decreased to less than the minimum amount of nisāb (equivalent to 595 grams of silver), it is better to consider the year from the first time the money reached the minimum amount (of nisāb). Then the person should pay the Zakāt on what he has once a year is completed (Muslims follow the lunar cycle of a year, e.g. Ramadan to Ramadan or Rajab to Rajab, etc). In that way, on whatever amount of money a year has completed he will have paid its Zakāt for its year — and on whatever amount of it that a year has not completed, its Zakāt has been paid by him in advance, and there is no harm in paying Zakāt early. This method is easier for him instead of considering each month precisely because that may be difficult for him. (Fatawa Islamiyyah 3/161-162)

How and to who should it be paid?

Some mosques collect Zakāt from the congregation and spend it according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. You can pay your Zakāh online here:

Charities also collect Zakāt – but a person can give theZakāt away himself. In many Muslim countries, the Zakāt is collected by the government and spent accordingly. In the UK and Europe, Muslims must take care that Zakāt or other forms of charity are not given to organisations who support terrorist groups such as Hamas (Palestine), ISIS (Syria and Iraq), Taliban (Pakistan and Afghanistan), Al-Shabab (Somalia), etc. The Zakāt or charity given to them is not considered as valid in Sharee’ah Law since they are not eligible recipients. Zakāt cannot be given for political campaigns or electing candidates into parliament. Zakāt cannot be given for the building of mosques or schools. See above the valid categories.

Giving Zakāh to one’s brother, sister, uncle and aunt who are poor

Shaikh Abdul-‘Azīz Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh) said: “There is no harm in a man or woman giving their Zakāh to a blood brother or sister who is poor, or to their uncle or aunt ― or to any of their poor relatives due to the generality of evidence. Indeed giving Zakah to them is an act of charity and joining the ties of kinship due to the saying of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “Charity to the poor is one act of charity whereas charity to a relative is an act of charity and joining a tie of kinship.” (Ahmad no. 15794) hadeeth of Salman Ibn ‘Aamir; An-Nasa’i no. 2582)

This giving of Zakah, however, does not apply to one’s parents and grandparents and their ascending line, nor to one’s children and grandchildren and their descending line. One cannot give their Zakah to this category of relatives even if they are poor. Rather it is obligatory for a person to provide for them from his wealth if he is able to do so, and if there is no one else to spend upon them other than him.”


A question to Shaikh Al-Fawzān about giving one’s Zakāt to their own offspring: “There is a divorced woman and she has children from the man who divorced her, and their father does not provide for them – so she works and spends upon them. Is she allowed to provide for them through her own Zakāt?”

Answer: “No. Their provision is upon their father. The father should be asked to provide for them.”

Is Zakat to be paid on merchandise and goods that are for trade?

Shaikh Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) said, “Zakāh is obligatory upon the two currencies of gold and silver. As for other than these two, such as the other metals, then Zakaah is not payable. The exception being the well-known difference of opinion amongst the scholars regarding the obligation of paying Zakah upon the merchandise for trade. As for metals, then there is no Zakah payable upon them due to the absence of textual evidence.

The merchandise that is for the purpose of trading, then it refers to everything that a person possesses for the purpose of trading (i.e. to sell) and it does not refer to any specific [type of] product.”

Meaning: That there is nothing that is excluded from Zakah. So unlike what he (rahimahullāh) mentioned previously where Zakah is paid only on gold and silver, then as it relates to merchandise for trading, then Zakah is paid upon it all without restricting it merely to gold and silver.

Shaikh Al-Albāni said: “The Merchandise for Trading (selling) ―Then this is a category of Zakah regarding which the Scholars have differed since the olden times. Some of the scholars considered it an obligation to pay Zakah upon this category whilst others considered it not to be an obligation.

So when it is said: ‘Is Zakah to be paid upon the merchandise for trade?’ Then the intent in the question here by the term ‘Zakah’ is the prescribed codified level of Zakah that is paid conditional upon reaching the Nisaab (the minimum amount after which Zakah becomes obligatory) and after a year has passed whilst in one’s possession.

So those who consider the ‘Zakah’ to be obligatory, then their intent is that it is obligatory to pay the Zakah annually ― so if the value of the merchandise reaches the Nisāb amount then Zakah is payable to the value of 2.5% just as it is paid upon gold and silver.

This categorization of Zakāh is not found in the Sunnah nor in the Book of Allaah that supports its obligation.

However, there is a general Zakāh that is obligated upon any person who finds that he has plentiful and extensive trading goods [for sale]. So he pays a non-specific amount that is not conditional upon possession for a year ― and this is given in accordance to a large number of general texts related to giving [the Zakah and charity], such as the saying of Allah, the Most High: “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you.” (Al-Baqarah 2:254)

As for fixing a time and specifying 2.5% of it to be given (as Zakah), then that has no evidence [to support it] in the authentic Sunnah. And I say the authentic Sunnah because there are some narrations in ‘Sunan Abī Dawood’ and in other places that would prove if they were authentic, the obligation of paying Zakah upon merchandise that is for trading.” (See Al-Masā’il Al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Fatāwa Ash-Shar’iyyah ― Fatāwā Ash-Shaikh Al-‘Allāmah Muhammad Nāsir Ad-Deen Al-Albāni fil-Madīnah wal-Imārāt.” p. 119)

For more details, read this article:

Is Zakat to be paid on merchandise and goods that are for trade? Shaikh Al-Albani and the sayings of the well-known Scholars.

Zakāt in the Qur’an

And establish prayer and give zakāh and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].” (2:43)

And establish prayer and give zakāh, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do is all-Seeing.” (2:110)

“And Allah had already taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We delegated from among them twelve leaders. And Allah said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give zakāh and believe in My messengers and support them and loan Allah a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow…” (5:12)

“But if they repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, then they are your brothers in religion; and We detail the verses for a people who know.” (9:11)

Importance of Zakāh:

  • It is an act of worship, a duty to Allaah commanded in the Qur’an.
  • It reduces the suffering of the poor.
  • It strengthens the community – it makes sure that everyone knows and cares about those less fortunate.
  • It strengthens the economy and business in the community by giving more people money to spend.
  • It purifies the halāl wealth and prevents one from being a hoarder of wealth.
  • It makes a person generous and caring and less attached to the world.
  • The Qur’an and Sunnah make clear that those who do not pay Zakāh are sinners threatened with Allah’s punishment in the Hereafter. Withholding Zakāh is a major sin.
  • The two duties of Salāh and Zakāh are linked in the Qur’an. In Salāh, you call upon Allah, and seek His aid and feel the strength of Imān. By paying Zakāt you put those feelings into action and are rewarded for that duty.

All Muslims are expected to be generous and to give what they can to good causes. Paying Zakāt is an obligation for those blessed with wealth – it is the least that is expected from them.

Poorer Muslims are also obligated to be generous with general acts of kindness and charity, but they are not obligated to give Zakāh if their wealth has not reached the nisāb amount.

Test your understanding:

  1. What categories of people is Zakāt given to?
  2. What types of possessions is Zakāt paid on?
  3. What types of possessions is Zakāt not paid on?
  4. What is nisāb and what is its level of gold, silver and cash?
  5. “I can see the importance of money and its good effects if it is in the hands of a pious man.” Explain this sentence.

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  1. Assalamu alaikum,

    Is zakat payable on pensions where the employee and employer make contributions?

    Is zakat payable on savings put away for pre pubescent children?

    JazakAllahu khairan

    • wa alaikumus salām,

      Yes, Zakāt is payable. Any Muslim who has wealth to the level of nisāb with him for a year must pay Zakāt.

  2. assalamu’alaikum,

    Can the zakat money be used to purchase food/provisions for the poor instead of giving them the cash directly?

    • Wa-alaikumus-salām-wa-rahmatullāhi-wa-barakātuhu

      Zakāt on a person’s wealth (zakātul-māl) should not be paid in food; rather it should be paid in wealth (money) and then the needy can spend it as he wishes. This is the correct saying of the scholars (such as Ibn ‘Uthaimeen), and Allah knows best.

      • جزاك الله خيرا
        can the money be given to someone else (a middle man) who then uses it to purchase food which is provided to the poor?

        • Assalaamu alaikum, is an adult woman (living with her parents) obliged to pay her own zakaat al maal? Or is her father responsible for this?

          • Wa-alaikumus-salām-wa-rahmatullāhi-wa-barakātuhu

            She pays herself.

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