Some Muslims think that there is only one type of zakat that needs to be paid for. The most common misconception is that we only need to pay the zakat which is due in the month of Ramadan, which is the zakat al Fitr.
But according to the Quran and Ahadith, zakat is actually divided into two types; zakat al-Maal (zakat of assets) and zakat nafs (zakat of the soul), also known as zakat al-Fitr. There are a couple of differences between the two. One of the differences is the timing of the payment.
Zakat al-Fitr is due once a year, specifically in the month of Ramadan and it has to be paid before Eid al-Fitr. On the other hand, zakat al-Maal is due once a year for those who meet the requirements, with no specific time during the year. The imposition of these two zakat is required by Islamic law because it is also stated in the Islamic pillars.
Maal is an Arabic word which means “wealth” (al-amwal, plural of maal) and is “everything that humans want to keep and own” (Lisan ul-Arab). Wealth, according to Islam, is something that can be owned and used (utilized) according to one’s needs.
As a result, in its broadest sense, Zakat al-Maal refers to zakat imposed on all types of assets which are acquired from halal earnings.
A Muslim must pay zakat al-Maal if their total assets are more than nisab (threshold) after owning the assets for 1 full year. Zakat al-Maal includes wealth savings such as money, gold, securities, professional income, trade assets, mining or marine products, asset rental proceeds, and so on.
Conditions for Zakatable Assets
Assets that are zakatable, are fully owned in the sense that they are completely under the control and power of the owner, allowing the owner to take and use them in their entirety.
Apart from being under the owner’s control, the assets subject to zakat must also be obtained legally. For example, from good business results, through an inheritance process that complies with the provisions, and so on.
Meanwhile, assets obtained illegally, such as the proceeds of corruption, theft, or robbery, are unquestionably exempt from zakat. These items must be returned to their rightful owners.
Potential for productivity and growth
If you have assets that may rise in value, you must pay zakat for them. Gold, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, deposits, and other instruments that can generate capital gains or fixed income, as well as the results of trading, agriculture, or livestock, are examples of what is meant by developing.
Nisab is the bare minimum for an asset to be classified as one for which zakat is required. The general nisab requirement is when the property’s value or valuation is equivalent to 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver.
If you have debt-purchased assets, the total debt may reduce the amount of zakat on obligatory assets. This is due to the fact that the assets subject to zakat are fully controlled by the owner. When someone is in debt, he should be required to pay it off first.
One-year (haul) ownership
Another requirement for zakat-paying assets is that they have been in the owner’s possession for one Hijri year. Also, keep in mind that the one-year rule only applies to livestock, gold, money, traded property, and so on.
Meanwhile, agricultural produce, fruits, rikâz (finding goods), and other assets similar to these matters, such as professional zakat, are exempt from the one-year requirement.
Types of Zakatable Assets
A person is required to pay zakat if he possesses the following types of assets, subject to certain conditions:
The following are the requirements for livestock zakat:
- The farm has been in operation for one year.
- Livestock are grazed in public areas and are not used for production (for example, plowing rice fields).
- Reach nisab. Camel nisab is 5 heads, cow nisab is 30 heads, and goat or sheep nisab is 40 heads.
- The provisions for zakat volume have been determined based on certain characteristics and are derived from the livestock themselves.
- Commercial Assets
Obligatory zakat requirements for commercial assets:
- Muzakki (the zakat payer) must be the owner of the commodity being traded, regardless of whether the ownership is derived from trading business results or not, such as inheritance and gifts.
- Muzakki plans to trade these items.
- After deducting operational costs, primary needs, and debt repayment, assets reach the nisab.
- One year of ownership has passed.
- Company Stocks
With respect to stocks, if one purchased it for resale, it is deemed trade merchandise, and hence zakat is due on it every year based on its market value that year.
If purchased not for resale but rather to receive annual dividends, then the stock itself is not deemed an article of merchandise. Rather, one is deemed a co-owner of the company, based on one’s respective share.
In that case, one pays zakat on all goods and monetary assets of the company, yet may deduct those assets that are not zakatable, i.e., company assets for use and not for sale, such as land, machinery, cars, and the like.
For example, If stocks are purchased with the intention of holding, zakat is still payable. One would have to work out what percentage of the company’s assets are zakatable and pay zakat according to that. If for example, your shares are worth $1000 and the zakatable assets of the company are 20%, then you will pay zakat of 2.5% on 20% of the $1000
- Agriculture Products
Agricultural products are plant or plant products with economic value, such as seeds, tubers, vegetables, fruits, perennials, ornamental plants, grasses, and leaves grown from grain seeds and eaten by humans and animals.
- Mining Goods and Marine Products
Everything that is the result of exploitation from the depths of the land and the depths of the sea is referred to as mining goods and marine products.
Included in the category of mining goods and marine products, namely: All mining products are the result of a country’s private sector or government exploitation of the depths of the soil.
Treasures buried by ancient people in the depths of the earth, whether in the form of money, gold, silver, or other precious metals that can be used to meet people’s needs and have high material value.
Pearls, coral, and oil, as well as fish and marine animals, are examples of marine products. Some scholars believe that the zakat on marine products should be the same as the rikaz, which is 20%.
Others, however, claimed that the Prophet only mentioned the level of zakat rikaz and made no mention of the level of zakat on marine products.
In the book Fiqhu Az zakah I/458, At-tathbiq al-mu’ashir li az-zakah, contemporary scholars such as Dr. Yusuf Al Qardhawi and Dr. Husain Syahatah explain that the level of zakat on marine products is 10% of the net.
Meanwhile, the nisab is 85 grams of 24-karat gold and is paid directly upon harvest. Zakat on marine products, like agricultural zakat, does not require one year of ownership.
- Gold and Silver
Gold and silver are precious metals that serve two functions: The two metals are typically used as jewelry, and they are also used as currency that is valid from time to time.
According to Islamic law, gold and silver are considered potential or developing assets. As a result, melted metal, vessels, souvenirs, carvings, and other items are included in the gold category.
Zakat on the proceeds of gold and silver was the current currency in each country at the time. As a result, all forms of money storage, such as savings, time deposits, checks, or other securities, are included in the gold and silver storage criteria.
Similarly, assets such as houses, villas, land, and vehicles that meet Islamic law requirements are purchased and built for investment purposes so that they can be cashed at any time.
Gold and silver, as well as other metals, are exempt from zakat if used in small amounts in the form of jewelry.
- Owned Properties
When owned properties are built for the purpose of profiting off of the increase in material value or profit is attained by renting out the property or re-selling it.
The property’s terms are as follows:
- Not specified as a trading commodity.
- Not used for the owner’s primary needs, such as a place to live.
- Property that is rented out or developed for the purpose of earning income, whether on a regular or irregular basis.
How to Calculate Zakat al-Maal?
Zakat al-Maal refers to zakat on assets such as savings, money, trade, or even gold and silver. The nisab (threshold) is equivalent to 85 grams of gold for zakat on gold, silver, money, and trade. The gold standard is pure gold.
For example, suppose Ahmad has $5,000 in cash. He also has $3,000 in current trading assets. As a result, Ahmad has a total asset of $8,000. The nisab at that time was equivalent to $5,000.
He also made sure that he has had his assets for a year now. This indicates that Ahmad’s wealth has reached the nisab. Therefore, Ahmad has to pay Zakat al-Maal.
Zakat calculation: $8,000 x 2.5% = $200.
One of the reasons that zakat al-Maal is practiced is to have real impacts and benefits for mustahik (beneficiaries). Dompet Dhuafa has been channeling donations including zakat al-Maal from donors to beneficiaries, from downstream to upstreams since 1993, ensuring that their lives truly improve.