Miscellanious Zakāh Queries

Question:

My younger sister is studying nursing in another city. she gets paid by the school, in the form of grants and loans. she said last year she was given around $16,000, way above the nisab for zakat. however, taking into account her monthly rent, food, and other expenses, she is left with close to nothing and always asks me, my brothers and my parents for a few hundred dollars.

1) So, since she was above the nisab, when the school paid her and when we gave her money, does that mean she owes zakat? if taken into consideration that the money was going to be spent within the year.  I have heard that as soon as you are above the nisab you must pay.

2) Is she eligible to receive zakat from her brothers, or is she considered a relative whom we are obliged to spend? my parents are not rich, they have about $4,000 in savings, so they are above the nisab for silver, but live on government funding. I understand my father is obliged to spend on her. due to this, does that mean she’s not eligible for zakat?  as she has someone (father) who has given her money when she asks.

3) I must say, praise be to Allah. he guided me back to him, for years I did not pray, pay zakat, or fast. at age 25, if I remember correctly, I started to pray and fast, I am 28 now.  This year I want to pay the zakat that I missed. I can estimate the amount, however, it’s impossible to figure out which day I owe it, is it permissible for me to pick a day and use that as the yearly date from here on?  and ask Allah for forgiveness.

jazak allhu Khayren, brother.

(Question published as received)

الجواب باسم ملهم الصواب

1) In order for zakāh to become farḍ on an individual, one must have wealth above the niṣāb threshold at the end of their niṣāb (lunar) year. When your sister first acquired net zakātable wealth above niṣāb, that will be her niṣāb-date. If on the niṣāb-date of the following year she has net wealth above niṣāb, she will then have to pay zakāh on that. For example, if your sister’s niṣāb date is 15 Jumād al-Ūlā, and she has net wealth above niṣāb on the 15th of Jumād al-Ūlā, she will be required to pay zakāh. However, if the 15th passes by and she does not have the niṣāb amount, she will not pay zakāh for this year. Nonetheless, she will re-evaluate her wealth the following year on the 15th of Jumād al-Ūlā. The fluctuation in the middle of the year is not considered unless she has no wealth at all. In the situation that she has no wealth at all, she will have a new niṣāb-date the day she again becomes owner of wealth equivalent to niṣāb or more.[i]

2) If she herself does not possess net wealth and/or excess items[ii] equivalent to niṣāb or more, then she is eligible to receive zakāh from her brothers and sisters. [iii] If your father spends on her and she has money equivalent to niṣāb or more, then she cannot receive zakāh from anyone.[iv]

3) You will estimate the amount of zakāh that you have not given for x amount of years. Thereafter, you will first pay for the first missed year, and then the second and so on and so forth.[v]As for the zakāh you need to pay from now on, you will pay it on your niṣāb date.[vi] If you cannot recall your niṣāb date even after applying your mind extensively, then you should choose one Islāmic date[vii] and use that for every year.[viii]

And Allāh Ta‘ālā Knows Best

(Mufti) Bilal al-Mahmudi

29 Sha‘bān 1440 / 05 May 2019


[i]

قال أبو البركات النسفي: وشرط وجوبها العقل والبلوغ والإسلام والحرّيّة، وملك نصابٍ حوليٍّ فارغٍ عن الدّين وحاجته الأصليّة نامٍ. (كنز الدقائق: ص ٢٠٣. دار البشائر الإسلامية)

قال التمرتاشي والحصكفي: (وسببه) أي سبب افتراضها (ملك نصاب حولي) نسبة للحول لحولانه عليه (تام) بالرفع صفة ملك. (الدر المختار وحاشية بن عابدين: ج ٢، ص ٢٥٩. دار الفكر)

(مهمات المفتي في فروع الحنفية: ج ١، ص ٢٧٢. العبيكان)

(أحسن الفتاوى. ج ٤، ص ٢٦٥،٢٩٢. سعيد)

[ii] Excess item refers to items which are above one’s needs, such as TV, a second car etc. If the value of such items is equivalent to niṣāb or more, then one cannot receive zakāh.

قال أبو البركات النسفي: ومعنى الغنى انما يتحقق بأموال فاضلة يستغني المرء عنها فيعد غنيا بها. (المستصفى في شرح النافع: ج ١، ص ٤٨٦. مكتبة الارشاد)

[iii]

(أحسن الفتاوى: ج ٤، ص ٢٧٩. سعيد)

[iv]

قال في الهندية: ولا يجوز دفعها اِلى ولد الغني الصغير كذا في التبيين … ولو كان كبيرا فقيرا جاز … ويدفع اِلى امرأة غني إذا كانت فقيرة وكذا اِلى البنت الكبيرة إذا كان أبوها غنيا … وبغني الأب والزوج لا تعد غنية كذا في الكافي. (الفتاوى الهندية: ج ١، ص ١٨٩. رشيدية)

[v]

(أحسن الفتاوى: ج ٤، ص ٢٧٤. سعيد)

[vii] For example, the 1st of ramaḍān

[viii]

(أحسن الفتاوى: ج ٤، ص ٢٦٥. سعيد)