My brothers: Allah (subhanahu wa taala) says in the Qur’an, “And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.” As well as, “and be constant in prayer, and spend in charity, and [thus] lend unto God a goodly loan: for whatever good deed you may offer up in your own behalf, you shall truly find it with God – yea, better, and richer in reward.” As well as, “And [remember:] whatever you may give out in usury so that it might increase through [other] people’s possessions will bring [you] no increase in the sight of God, whereas all that you give out in charity, seeking God’s countenance, [will be blessed by Him:] for it is they, they [who thus seek His countenance] that shall have their recompense multiplied!” The verses that describe the zakah as being an obligation are many. As for the ahadeeth, there is in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Abdullah bin Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said, “Islam was established on five, tawhid, establishing prayer, giving the zakah, fasting Ramadhan, and Hajj…”
So giving zakah is one of the pillars of Islam. Whoever denies this obligation while they are aware, then they have disbelieved and left the fold of Islam. Whoever is greedy in performing this, or is deficient in it, then they are from the wrongdoers who are heedless to being punished.
Zakah is obligatory on four things.
First: That which emerges from the ground like crops. This is from the saying of Allah (subhanahu wa taala), “O you who have attained to faith! Spend on others out of the good things which you may have acquired, and out of that which We bring forth for you from the earth.” As well as, “and give [unto the poor] their due on harvest day.” The greatest of the rights that your money has over you is zakah. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said, “On a land irrigated by rain water or by natural water channels or if the land is wet due to a near by water channel Ushr (i.e. one-tenth) is compulsory (as Zakah); and on the land irrigated by the well, half of an Ushr (i.e. one-twentieth) is compulsory (as Zakah on the yield of the land).” (Bukhari) The zakah is not due until the crops reach the threshold (nisaab) which is five Awsuq. One Awsuq equals sixty Sa’ah. This means that the threshold is 300 Sa’ah. This is calculated to be about 612 kilos. There is no zakah on other than it. There is no zakah on fruits and vegetables, this is known from the statement of ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu), “There is no charity for vegetables.” And the statement of ‘Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) “There is no charity on the apple and the like. But, if they sell it for money, and one year has passed on it’s profits, then there is zakah on it.”
Second: Animals such as camels, sheep, cattle. The threshold for camels are five, cows are thirty, and sheep are forty.
Third: Gold and silver no matter what state they are in. As Allah (subhanahu wa taala) says, “ But as for all who lay up treasures of gold and silver and do not spend them for the sake of Gods – give them the tiding of grievous suffering [in the life to come] on the Day when that [hoarded wealth] shall be heated in the fire of hell and their foreheads and their sides and their backs branded therewith , [those sinners shall be told:] “These are the treasures which you have laid up for yourselves! Taste, then, [the evil of] your hoarded treasures!” This is the greatest way to give in zakah. Abu Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying, “If any owner of gold or silver does not pay what is due on him, when the Day of Resurrection would come, plates of fire would be beaten out for him; these would then be heated in the fire of Hell and his sides, his forehead and his back would be cauterized with them. Whenever these cool down, (the process is) repeated during a day the extent of which would be fifty thousand years, until judgment is pronounced among servants.” (Muslim)
Zakah is due on the gold and silver regardless if it is being used or stored. This is known from the hadeeth of Abdullah bin Amr bin Al ‘Aas (radiallaahu `anhu) that a woman once came to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) with her daughter who was wearing two thick bracelets of gold. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) asked if she paid zakah on the bracelets, so she answered in the negative, so he replied by asking if she wished for Allaah to replace them with bracelets of fire on the Day of Judgment. She then removed the bracelets and gave them to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) and said, “These are for Allaah and His Messenger.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Nisaee, Tirmidhee) ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anha) reported that, “The Messenger of Allah came to me and saw me wearing silver rings, whereupon, he asked: ‘What is this, Aisha?’ I replied: ‘I made them to adorn myself for you, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said: ‘Did you pay their zakah?’ I said: ‘No, or what Allaah wishes.’ Then he said: ‘Their punishment in Hell is enough for you.’” (Abu Dawood, Bayhaqi, Hakim)
Zakah is not due on gold until it reaches its threshold, which is twenty dinars. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam) said about gold, “There is nothing upon you until it reaches twenty dinars.” (Abu Dawood) Which is to be calculated to today’s currency.
Zakah is not due on silver until it reaches its threshold, which is five ‘Awaq. This is from the statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam), “There is no charity upon other than five ‘Awaq.” (Agreed upon) Which the Sheikh calculates to today’s currency. Zakah is taken on cash because cash takes the place of silver, so if you reach the threshold of silver then you have to pay zakah on it. Zakah is due on the money, gold, and silver regardless if it is in your possession or not. So for this reason, zakah is due on a loan that is given out as well. The person can either add the loan with their money every year, or they can wait until they get the money back and then pay what they would have paid for every year.
Fourth: All that is held with the intention to trade and make money with, from animals, to cars, to food and drink. So the person should estimate the cost of it all once it reaches one year in their possession. Then they should take out 14% of the total amount, the amount is not estimated by how much the person paid, but it is taken by how much the product is worth.
There is no zakah on what a person uses for themselves, be it food, drink, house, animals, cars, clothes, and gold and silver jewelry that is used. This is known from the statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallaam), “There is no charity due on a slave or horse belonging to a Muslim.” (Agreed upon)