Monday, 3 October 2011

Nisaab, the entitlement

Nisaab  is the minimum value of assets in our  
                 possession   that entitles us to be Zakaath donors:

                       Gold    93.6  grams and above (2.5%)*
                      Silver    200 dirhams (or 595  grams) and above (2.5%)
 On  Merchandise    Of the market value of  595 gms  silver (2.5%)
         On Livestock   For each set of 5 camels: one goat
                                    For each set of 30 cows or oxen: one yearling.
                                    For a herd of 40 goats: a 6  month old goat
                                    For each herd of 40 sheep, one yearling.
        Farm produce   10% from dry lands. 
                                    7.5% from partially irrigated land
                                    5% from harvested grain and fruits from
                                     lands irrigated by pumps and other equipment.
     and on Mineral    20 % of deposits from the earth

*This rate applies to currency notes, debentures and other forms of investments with cash value equalling this quantity of gold.

On grain crops and fruits, no zakaath is due when the harvested crop/produce weighs less than 800 kgs.

Zakaath is due on livestock reared in pastures where they graze freely. Other animals whose upkeep implies expense on fodder and labor, no zakaath is due.

The animals culled for zakaath must be of real value and not consist of weak or unsaleable types.

So too are exempted horses, mules and donkeys unless they are for sale.

Allahu Sub'haanahu va tha Aalaa commands us in the Holy Qur’an, "It is righteousness to spend of your wealth out of love for Him (Allah)” on:

Lil fuq’raa’yi val masaakeen:  the poor and the needy,
Val aaamileena alai’yhaa:  those employed to assist them from the fund,
Val muvallafathi quloobuhum: those whose hearts have been enlightened with truth and they have entered Islam;
Vafir riqaabi val ghaamireena va fee sabeelillahi:  those who are in bondage or in jail and have been reduced to indebtedness for services rendered in the Cause of Allah; and for those stranded in travel undertaken to servie Islam. 
Our sadaqaath are to be devoted to the above in accordance with Surath ath Thau’bah:  60).

And Allahu Rahmaanir Raheem directs us in Surath al Baq’rah verse 177:
It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the east or west but it is righteousness

to believe in Allah
and the Last Day
and the Angels
and the Book and the Messengers;

to spend of your substance, out of love for Him (for Allah)

for your relatives (the Prophet S.A.W.S. has said that this is both charity and
an act of kinship with double credit, according to Nisaayi and Thirmidi)
for orphans),
for the needy (We must locate and help first the people who endure poverty without asking for help from anyone and also the strangers who are entitled to our Islami hospitality)
for the wayfarer (especially those who travel and convey the message of Islam far and wide)
for those who ask  (the people who are entitled to our help in any form and they ask for it and the usual indigent who live on alms);
and for the ransom of slaves (this is not an obsolete clause but a vital duty in the present era when slavery as such is banned but is in vogue in a secret  and intriguing shapes such as unsulpecting men, women and children sold into bondage, intellectuals roped in to serve un-Islamic causes,  and talented Muslims placed in unsuitable jobs and wasting their genius) 
And give Zakaath.
To fulfill the contracts that you have made
and to be firm and patient in enduring pain and adversity (suffered by an individual due to illness, injury or unmerited setback or by the entire Muslim community) through all periods of panic (caused in war, violence, epidemics and misinformation spread against us):

Such are the people of truth, those who fear Allah.”

Zakaah is a duty that devolves on the rich.  If any such person cannot find the heart to give away a part of his/her own hard-earned wealth to the needy, he/she stands condemned in the eyes of Allah.

According to the Hadith, his wealth will turn into a poisonous snake on the Day of Judgment and it will keep biting him/her repeatedly.
Zakaath does not set a limit to what we have to give. And it does not imply to us that we be charitable and outgoing in Ramadan and thereafter turn the blind eye to human suffering.

It only sets for us the bare minimum that an affluent human being like you, dear reader, must part with, in joy and with enthusiasm,

to wipe an orphan’s tears and help him/her to a good life;
to fill a miserable dwelling with the cheer of food and clothing;
to build hospitals to conquer disease and promote good health;
to provide cost free or subsidised education and training to both men and women for careers in computer operations, nursing, automobile engineering, construction, mass media, social service and Da’awah;
to build masaajid and Qur’an Centers and realize, with inspiration and help from Allah,  any good project that revitalizes Muslim society and brings it world esteem.
Thaqabbal Allah!  May Allah kindly accept your good deeds and bless you with still more prosperity and ney’maath by His Grace.  A’meen!

Nation building projects like these advance the Islami ideal of charity as an ongoing program fostering better and better societies. We call it Zakaath during Ramadan and sadaqa or a gift endowment at other times.

The joy of giving is the one that lasts longest in our lives.  It fills our hearts with a unique light. With the good fortune that comes to us from Allahu Ghani, we spend openly and secretly, as He Commands, to transform and improve  the lives of those who deserve help and proper guidance.

And when we comply with His Wish, Allah terms it Qard-al-Has’na, the best loan, that we, the slaves of Allah, are giving to Our Creator and Benefactor. 

This is the best investment that we can make. That portion of our worldly assets which we employ in the right charity and in the service of Islam, go to build mansions for us and lay out gardens in Paradise, the eternal world of ultimate joy that we will be entering (when Allah brings to a close all earthly life). 

Not just money but a part of our greatest asset – our time - must also be spent, on a daily and ongoing basis, to serve our people and safeguard their interests.

Nasrun min-Allahi va fathahun qareeb!
Allah’s help is coming to you.  Yours will be the triumph very soon!