Zakat, a form of obligatory almsgiving in Islam, is due on specific types of wealth, including livestock (camels, cattle, and sheep), as well as monetary assets, namely gold and silver, whether minted or not (such as bullion and other forms).
In this article, we focus on the zakat on gold, specifically within the jurisprudence of Imam Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy on him), covering aspects like the minimum amount (quorum) for zakat, methods of its calculation, and other related matters.
Conditions for the Obligation of Zakat on Gold in the Shafi’i School
Imam Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy on him) detailed the rules of zakat on gold in his book Al-Umm. He clarified what necessitates zakat and what does not. Scholars of the Shafi’i school have conveyed his rulings and clarified various opinions on the matter.
Al-Nawawi states in Al-Majmu’:
Zakat is obligatory on gold and silver because of the Quranic verse: “And those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment”.
Gold and silver are considered assets for growth, similar to grazing livestock. Zakat is not due on other precious stones like rubies, turquoise, pearls, and coral, as they are meant for use, akin to working livestock. Zakat is also not required for amounts of gold and silver below the quorum.
The quorum of Zakat on Gold in the Shafi’i School
“Al-Rabi`reported to us, he said: Al-Shafi’i reported to us, saying: I am not aware of any disagreement that there is no charity due on gold until it reaches twenty mithqals (a unit of weight). Once it reaches twenty mithqals, then zakat (Islamic obligatory charity) is due.
Al-Shafi’i said: If a man has twenty mithqals of gold, minus a carat, or five awqiya (another unit of weight) of silver, minus a carat, then no zakat is due on either of them. Gold should not be combined with silver for the calculation of zakat, nor should different types of wealth, for which zakat is due, be combined.
The zakat on gold is one-quarter of one-tenth, which is half a mithqal for twenty mithqals of gold, and five dirhams for two hundred dirhams of silver. The evidence for this is the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in the book of charity (al-Sadaqat): ‘In the case of Riqaz (treasure), one-quarter of one-tenth.’
Asim bin Dhamrah narrated from Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, ‘There is nothing (no zakat) due on less than twenty dinars, and on twenty dinars, half a dinar is due.’ And zakat is due on the excess over the quorum (minimum amount for zakat) proportionately, as it can be subdivided without harm, so zakat is due on the excess proportionately.
If one has adulterated gold or silver, zakat is obligatory if the amount of pure gold or silver reaches the quorum. If it does not reach the quorum, then zakat is not obligatory. If the exact amount of gold or silver is unknown, then the individual has the option to either refine it to determine the due amount or to estimate and pay to remove the obligation with certainty.
In the Sahihain (Bukhari and Muslim), it is narrated from Abu Huraira who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: Whoever has gold or silver and does not pay its right, on the Day of Resurrection, plates of fire will be prepared for him; they will be heated in the fire of Hell, and his side, his forehead, and his back will be cauterized with them. Every time they cool down, they will be reheated, in a day the measure of which will be fifty thousand years, until Allah judges among His servants, and he will see his path, either to Paradise or to Hell.'”
When is Zakat on Gold According to the Shafi’i School?
Imam Shafi’i stated that zakat on gold is not obligatory until it reaches twenty mithqals at the beginning and end of the lunar year. If it decreases below this amount and then reaches twenty mithqals again, no zakat is due until a new lunar year passes from the day it reaches the quorum again.
This means that zakat on gold is due if it completes a full lunar year in possession. If it decreases below the quorum before the year is complete, zakat is not obligatory.
Calculating the Value and Amount of Zakat on Gold in the Shafi’i School
In the Shafi’i school, zakat on gold is due when it weighs 85 grams, considering that one mithqal equals 4.25 grams. If you own 20 mithqals of gold, the obligatory zakat amount is calculated as 29 x 4.25 grams.
How to Pay Zakat on Gold According to the Shafi’i School
The Shafi’i school allows two methods for paying zakat on gold:
- Paying the zakat amount from the gold itself, i.e., extracting the gold equivalent to “one-quarter of a tenth” of its total value.
- Paying the zakat amount in monetary terms, calculated based on the current market value of one gram of gold, multiplied by the equivalent gold value, and then extracting 2.5% of the total amount.
Who is Obligated to Pay Zakat on Gold in the Shafi’i School?
In the Shafi’i school, zakat on gold is obligatory for gold owners who meet the following criteria:
- Being a Muslim by faith.
- Owning the gold freely and not as a slave.
- Being the sole owner of the gold, without shared ownership.
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You can donate the zakat of your gold to our initiative’s fund to help us continue facilitating access to education for all learners, aiding them in achieving a better future and the chance for a dignified life.
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