Q: A questioner from
visited us and mentioned that the scholars of
differed with regard to Zakah of commercial commodities. Some of them stated that Zakah on commercial commodities is obligatory while others opposed this and supported their opinion with the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) of Zakah which only mentions gold and silver. This latter group of scholars also mentioned that all kinds of wealth and commodities other than gold and silver do not follow them with regard to the obligation of Zakah. However, scholars agreed with regard to the other types of Zakah, meaning, Zakah on grain, fruit, camels, and sheep. Please explain this matter to us in writing so that the opponents become convinced. May Allah reward you.
jurists differed with regard to the obligation of paying
Zakah on commercial commodities. This Zakah was considered to be obligatory by the Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars) but not by
Dawud ibn `Aly Al-Zhahiry and a group of other scholars. However, the Jumhur supported their view with the authentically reported Hadith on the authority of
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that
`Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was sent by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to collect the due Zakah but the former said: "
Ibn Jamil refrained." Whereupon the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
Khalid for he
confined his armor and military supplies to be used only for the Sake of Allah.
This Hadith signifies that Khalid was requested to pay Zakah on his armor and military supplies and this could only happen if such things were considered commercial commodities. (Part No. 9; Page No. 309)
Khalid did not use them for commerce but confined them to be used only for the sake of Allah (Exalted be He). The Jumhur also supported their view by what is
on the authority of
Samurah ibn Jundub who said:
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered us to pay Zakah on all that we prepared for trade.
The Jumhur also quoted the Hadith that is
on the authority of
Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying:
Camels have their due Zakah; sheep have their due Zakah; and cloth has its due Zakah.
Since scholars agreed that Zakah is not due on identical cloth, this verifies that it is due on the value thereof and this can only take place when the cloth is intended for trade. Moreover, the Jumhur referred to the narration
related by Imam
(may Allah be merciful to him) on the authority of
Abu `Amr ibn Hamas from his father who said: "
`Umar ordered me saying: 'Pay the Zakah which is due on your money'. I said: 'I have only a quiver and some condiments'. Whereupon `Umar said: 'Estimate their value and pay the Zakah thereof'." Moreover, the Jumhur quoted the narration that is authentically reported from
`Abdul-Rahman ibn `Abdul-Qarry, who said: "I was in charge of Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury) during the era of
`Umar ibn Al-Khattab and whenever the time of Zakah collection came he would collect merchants' properties, calculate the totals thereof along with the merchants' other properties that were not present, then `Umar would take the Zakah out of the present properties for that which was present and that which was not.
Furthermore, the Jumhur supported their opinion with the authentic narration on the authority of
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) who used to say: "There is no blame on you to wait until the time of selling (Part No. 9; Page No. 310) when Zakah is obligatory on your commodity." It is also authentically reported that
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "No Zakah is due on commodities unless they are intended for trade."
All that has been narrated from the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) in this regard is renowned and not denied by anybody and this is tantamount to Ijma` (consensus of scholars). Explaining all these narrations as referring to Sadaqah (voluntary charity) not only goes against the apparent meaning but it also contradicts the wording of some of these Hadith and narrations which use the explicit word 'Zakah'.On the other hand, scholars who held the view that Zakah is not obligatory on commercial commodities refer to a Hadith that is authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said:
No Zakah is due on less than five Uqiyyahs of silver (40 Dirhams of silver = 119 grams), and no Zakah is due on less than five camels.
It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
No Zakah is due on less than five Wasaqs (1 Wasaq = 60 Sa`s =130,320 kg) of dates or grains.
In addition, it is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
No Zakah is due on Muslims for their slaves or horses, except Zakat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast).
Moreover, it is authentically reported that when he (peace be upon him) clarified the percentages of Zakah which are due on camels, cows, sheep, and hoarded money; he was asked about horses, so he (peace be upon him) said:
Keeping horses may be a source of reward to some people, a shelter to others (means of earning one's living), or a burden to some others.
He (peace be upon him) was then asked about donkeys, whereupon he replied:
Nothing has been revealed to me regarding this except the following unique and inclusive Ayah:
So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.
The generality of this answer indicated that no Zakah is due on donkeys whether or not they are used for trade. However, this can be refuted by saying that the Hadith mentioned above meant that Zakah is not obligatory from the identical commodities referred to; rather, it is the value that should be paid. Consequently, there is no contradiction between the proofs quoted by the Jumhur and those quoted by their opponents regarding Zakah on commercial commodities. (Part No. 9; Page No. 311) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.