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Simple Guide to Zakaah

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Zakaah is fard (obligatory) on every Muslim, irrespective of gender. In the instance of minors, who meet the minimum requirements, the majority of jurists hold that the obligation to dispose of the Zakaah is vested in their guardians. It is only the Hanafi Math-hab who exempts minors (non-mukallaf) from paying Zakaah.

Zakaah can best be defined as;
• A specified action/item
• Which is taken from specified funds
• In accordance with specified description (viz. Nisab and Haul)
• To be given to specified group/s of people
• For the sake of Almighty Allah alone

(a) Specified action/item

One-fortieth,  2 1/2%, in cash, to be taken and distributed.

(b) Which is taken from specified funds
The cash and/or cash equivalent of accumulated funds, wealth, investments, savings and business capital contributions.

(c) In accordance with specified description (viz. Nisab and Haul)
Nisab is the minimum of cash/cash equivalents of the specified funds that the muslim must have in order for Zakaah to become due. According to SANZAF, Nisab is pegged at R929.25. Haul is the period of 1 lunar year.
Thus, a Muslim becomes liable for Zakaah after completion of the haul from the instant that he/she had a position of net savings or investment, less liabilities, in excess of the Nisab. Note,  that should the nett amount be lower than Nisab, then a new haul is established from the time such amount equals or exceeds the Nisab.

(d) To be given to a specified group/s of people
Allah prescribes the recipients of Zakaah in the Glorious Qur’an Surah At-Tawbah (9), verse 60:
“Truly Zakaah should be given to
• the poor
• the needy
• those employed to collect (administer) the Zakaah
• those whose hearts have some inclination towards Islam
• and to free the captives
• those in debt
• for Allah’s cause (i.e. mujaahideen who fight in holy wars)
• the wayfarer (traveler who is cut off from everything)
• a duty imposed by Allah, and Allah is All-Knower All-Wise”

(e) For the sake of Almighty Allah alone
The giver of Zakaah should do so with humility and recognize the dignity of the recipients, so that Allah’s satisfaction is with such a person.


Example 1: Average salary/wage earner

Monthly Salary or net accrued monthly Wages               R5,500.00
Less: Deductions – Tax, UIF, Medical Aid, Levies        (R1,395.00
Less: Pension/Provident Fund Contributions                   R   375.00
Net Take-home pay                                                          R3,730.00
Home Loan Repayment                                                  (R1,350.00)
Car Repayment                                                               (R   985.00)
Short term Insurance                                                      (R    295.00)
Household Expenses                                                      (R1, 000.00)
Unit Trust Purchase                                                       (R    100.00)
Remainder                                                                     R      0.00

Zaakaatable Items:
Pension/ Provident Contributions (Employers Contributions are not considered, right and title on it only accrues at the actual retirement)

Unit Trust                                                R100.00
Net Zakaatable Items, for month 1            R475.00

As the minimum level of Nisab is not reached, no Zakaah liability accrues.
After month 2, the Nisaab level has been reached, thus the person starts to calculate the Haul from that date.
After 12 lunar months, subsequent to month 2, and provided that the minimum level of Nisaab is being maintained, then Zakaah fall due, i.e. after 14 months.
Pension/Provident Fund contributions (14xR375)      R5,250.00
Unit Trusts (14xR100)                                                 R1,400.00
Total Zakaatable income                                             R6,650.00
Zakaat Payable (2.5% of R6,650.00                           R   166.25

Thereafter, Zakaat becomes due and payable, after every 12 months, provided that the level of Nisaab has been maintained. In the event of the level of Zakaatable assets exceed the Nisaab.
If for instance, in the above example, the person owes to creditors, for example clothing accounts, credit cards, overdrafts, arrear rents or utility accounts, then total value of such liabilities are to be deducted, from the accumulated savings. One must remember that if net savings exceed the Nisaab. Say for example, at the exoiration of the haul, the person had total creditors amounting to R1,000.00, then Zakaah is calculated on R5,650.00 equating to R141.25.
In the case of married couples, both the husband and wife are liable for giving Zakaah. A husband may however, also deduct arrear nafaqa from his zakaatable assets, as nafaqa is a duty on him. However, the wife does not include arrear nafaqa as a zakaatable asset.

Savings intended for Haj are zakaatable.

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