wrote in Al-Muhalla that, in his opinion, the Shari`ah (Islamic law) does not obligate Zakah on commercial commodities, and he refuted every opinion that supports this obligation. He even said, "Whoever issues a Fatwa that makes it lawful is fabricating lies against the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)." Ibn Hazm also said that Zakah is not obligatory on slaves, horses, chrysolite, corundum, or coral, as their value increases like the case with commercial commodities. He ranked the Hadith on this matter as Da`if (weak). Dear Shaykh, what is the correct opinion on this issue? If someone does not pay their Zakah based upon this opinion, will they be considered as forbidding Zakah? Is the Zhahiry (literalist) School considered to be a Sunni School that can be followed?
It has been confirmed that
Zakah is obligatory on money, whether it is gold or silver, by the Qur'an, Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) and Ijma` (consensus of scholars). Commercial commodities do not refer to commodities themselves, (Part No. 9; Page No. 312) but to their value, whether in gold or silver. And matters are according to their intentions, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Actions are but by intentions.
Therefore, Zakah is not obligatory on slaves bought for service, horses bought for riding, houses bought to be lived in, or on clothes bought to be worn. Zakah is also not due on chrysolite, corundum, or coral, and the like, if they are bought for decoration. However, if all of these things are bought for sale, Zakah is due on them, because they are then intended to be used like gold or silver money or whatever can be used in its place.
Ibn Hazm denied the obligation of Zakah on commercial commodities because he did not look at the justification for rulings. It is an invalid opinion to deny the justification for rulings. The correct opinion is that rulings have `Illah (effective cause), which might be known by some scholars who use it to infer other rulings; and which might not be known by other scholars who, thus, stick to the religious texts as was done by the Four Imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al-Shafi`y, and Ahmad) and most Muslim scholars. Therefore, anyone who forbids Zakah to be paid on their commercial commodities is mistaken. Although some of the Hadith that obligate Muslims to pay Zakah on commercial commodities are Da`if, they can be used to support this obligation. (Part No. 9; Page No. 313) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.