Zakat Questions and Answers
"Of their goods, take zakat, so that you might purify and sanctify them."
Do I have to pay zakat?
Zakat is obligatory on someone who is:
- A free man or woman: A slave does not have to pay Zakat;
- A Muslim: Zakat is a religious obligation upon Muslims, like the five daily prayers;
- Sane: The person on whom Zakat becomes obligatory must be of sound mind according to Imam Abu Hanifa. Imam Malik holds that an insane person is still liable for zakat;
- An adult: Children do not have to pay zakat, even if they own enough wealth to make zakat obligatory. However, both Imam Shafi'i and Imam Malik say that the guardians of the children should pay the zakat on their behalf.
- In complete ownership and control of their wealth: The person must own and be in possession of the wealth, and also be free to spend or dispose of the wealth in any manner they like. If a person has made a loan of their wealth then they are not in a position to spend it until it is repaid.
- In possession of wealth above the nisab threshold: The person should possess wealth above a defined amount required to satisfy the essential needs of themselves and their dependents (nisab).
- Free from debt: Someone in debt may deduct his debts from his assets, if what remains is still above the nisab threshold, zakat is due, otherwise not.
- In possession of the wealth for one complete lunar (Hijrah) year: If one owns zakatable wealth for a lunar year, zakat will become obligatory, provided the total amount of wealth exceeds the nisab at the beginning of the year and the end, irrespective of any fluctuations in the months between.