[ Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. ]
Understanding the Calculation of the Nisaab of Zakaah
November 2003 / Ramadaan 1424 AH
Since the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadaan an issue regarding the nisaab of zakaah has been raised by a few individuals, that it should be gold and not silver. This has created some problems in our small island among the Muslims and we wish to shed some light on the matter.
The term nisaab refers to the minimum amount of wealth (in savings) a person should possess in order for him to give the compulsory charity, known as zakaah. It should be understood that during the time of the Prophet (SA) the use of gold and silver coins was prevalent. Hence, while stipulating the nisaab, the prophet (SA) used the gold and silver coins. He stipulated that if a person had silver coins then his nisaab will be 200 pieces and if he possessed gold coins his nisaab will be 20 pieces. When either currency reached its respective nisaab it was compulsory upon the person to pay 2 1/2 % of his savings when one year had passed over it.
As time passed and the usage of gold and silver coins became replaced with the medium of exchange, which is commonly known as Money (represented by paper notes), the early Fuqahaa (Jurists) had to calculate the weight of gold and silver which were equivalent to the nisaab specified by the Prophet (SA). Twenty gold pieces worked out to be 2.8 troy ounces of gold while two hundred silver pieces worked out to be 19.7 troy ounces of silver. Being out of general use, these measurements (2.8 / 19.7 troy ounces) then became the standard nisaab of gold and silver. As such, if a person possessed only gold then he had to pay 2 1/2 % of the total value when it weighed 2.8 troy ounces or more. Similarly if a person possessed only silver then he had to pay 2 1/2 % of the total value when it weighed 19.7 troy ounces or more. It its worth mentioning that during the time of the Prophet (SA) and afterwards the value of two hundred silver coins (Dirhams) were equal in value to twenty gold coins (Dinaars). As such a person at that time could have used 200 dirhams as his nisaab or 20 dinars (since both were equal in value). In other words 19.7 troy ounces of silver were equivalent to 2.8 troy ounces of gold at that time. However when the value of the above-mentioned amount of silver started to differ from the value of gold, it became necessary to identify which of the two values Muslims should use for the calculation of zakaah.
Taking the guidelines of the teachings of he Prophet (SA) into consideration, as well as the fact that the Messenger of Allah (SA) did specify a nisaab in silver, which afterwards became lower than that of gold, the early Fuqahaa (Jurists) of Islam concluded that the Nisaab of Silver should be used since it is in accordance to the blessed teachings of the Prophet (SA); it is more beneficial to the poor and needy; and it is more precautious in ones religious affair.
In this regard the Mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifah clearly states, the nisaab which should be used is that one which is more beneficial to the poor, as such, whichever nisaab is reached from gold or silver then that will be a persons nisaab. If a persons savings/ merchandise is fulfilled /reached/ met with one of the nisaab and not the other, then the one which it reaches will be deemed as his nisaab.
This statement and explanation is one which has been written, preached and propagated by the Hanafi jurists as well as other mazhabs and many of the pious predecessors from the time of Imam Abu Hanifah until presently and can be found in the most authentic books of Hanafi Fiqh such as Hidaayah, Shaami, Nihaayah, Bahr Raaiq, Alamgiiri etc.
Based on this guideline, the latter and contemporary Hanafi scholars as well as many other scholars have adopted silver for calculating nisaab, since, due to its lower value, it will be reached before the nisaab of gold, which is higher. In using this nisaab more people will be able to give zakaah (which is a minimum amount of 2 1/2 %) and will therefore be more beneficial to the poor. It is also a means of being precautious in ones religious duty.
Following this trend, ASJA has always calculated the nisaab for zakaah (in the past) based upon silver. This is a principle which was given by their founders and teachers and can be found clearly in the Khutbah of Moulvi Saieed (RA) which he had once delivered in the San Fernando ASJA Mosque.
Adhering to the mazhab of Imam Abu Hanifah, which is the precautious view, the Darul Uloom has also adopted this practice, and calculates the value according to the silver nisaab.
Based upon these guidelines, many of the Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago have adopted this teaching and calculate their zakaah upon the silver nisaab. Deviation from these accepted guidelines has already created a form of disunity among the Muslims and can have far reaching consequences.
Note: During the early part of Ramadaan [1424 (AH)] the Darul Uloom contacted the President General of ASJA (on this issue) who fully agreed with using the silver nisaab. Maulana Nasir has also agreed in the past to establish the nisaab of silver. His consent to this is recorded in the minutes of the zakaah seminar held at the Darul Uloom in 1995 and was attended by 16 Aalims of the country. Among those who took part in the seminar and had agreed to use the Nisaab of Silver (along with the other Ulamas) were Maulana Abdul Qadir, Maulana Abdus Salaam, Sheik Moosa, Maulana Abdullah Rahman, Mufti Shabil Ali, Mufti Waseem Khan, Mufti Fazrudeen Mohammed, Maulana Riazudeen Mohammed, Sheik Fazeel Mohammed, Maulana Dr.Waffie Mohammed, Maulana Nasir Siddiq, Sheik Musab, Maulana Shaheed Mohammed, Maulana Gamal Mohammed (Guyana), Maulana Haleem Ali, Maulana Kahiam Hosein.
The Darul Uloom has also recently contacted over thirty Ulamaa (Scholars) from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana who have agreed that the nisaab calculation should be based upon that which is more beneficial to the poor, and in present times, of silver.
The present nisaab has been calculated as $1,083.50. based upon the nisaab of silver.
We hope that muslims will adopt the precautious path in their religious duties and adhere to that which brings more benefit to the poor and needy.
Eid ul Fitr
Eid ul Fitr (Festival of the Breaking of the Fast) is the first day of the 10th lunar month, Shawwaal. It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadaan.
Eid ul Fitr is one of the two days of festivity in Islam. The other being Eid ul Adhaa. This has been established from an authentic Hadith narrated by Anas (RA) that upon arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (SA) found its people celebrating two days, which were upheld from the Days of Jaahiliya (Ignorance). The Prophet (SA) said: "When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from Jaahiliya, indeed Allah has substituted them for you with what is better, the Day of Sacrifice and the Day of Fitr." [Ahmad, Abu Daud]
In another Hadith, the Prophet (SA) said referring to Eid ul Fitr: "Certainly for every community there is a day of Eid and this is our Eid. [Agreed upon]
The word Eid literally means 'recurrence'. Thus Eid is, an occasion, which returns and recurs at specified times with renewed happiness and joy. Muslims will return to the gathering of Eid with renewed zeal and enthusiasm and Allah returns to His servants with renewed bounties and rewards.
Even the nights, which precede the Days of Eid, have also been marked as a time of great virtue and the scholars have considered it Mustahab (desirable) to do lbaa-dah on these nights. Rasulullah (SA) said: "The heart of the person who remains awake (in lbaadah)- during the night of Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adhaa will not die on the Day when hearts will be dead, i. e. the Day of Qiyaamah " [Tibrani]
The Day of Eid follows its night with the blessings, forgiveness and mercy of Allah to His servants who fasted during the day and who stood up at night in prayer. Allah rewards them immensely for having fulfilled their duties to him by adhering to restraint and guarding against evil; who endeavored in acts of piety and righteousness; who became engrossed in dua, dhikr and recitation of Quraan; who displayed kindness, love and compassion for others; who, in total, spent the month of Ramadaan seeking His pleasure.
The Day of Eid is also spent in thankfulness to Allah. Muslims will perform the Eid Salaah, which is Wajib (incumbent) and listen to the Khutba (sermon), which is Sunnah (commendable).
To give general charity on this day is commendable and rewarding. However Sadaqatul Fitr (Charity of Eid) is Waajib (incumbent) and must be given before the Eid Salaah. It is especially meant for the poor and the needy so that they too can celebrate Eid. It becomes binding to be given by all adults for themselves as well as all their dependents when one possesses wealth beyond his needs for the day.
Some Sunnah (commendable acts) for the Day of Eid
- To rise as early as possible;
- To perform Ghusl (bath);
- To use miswaak;
- To apply 'Itr (Halaal, non alcoholic perfume);
- To wear ones best clothes;
- To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for Eid Salaah;
- To give Sadaqatul Fitr before leaving for the Musallah (Eid-Ghah or Masjid);
- To walk to the Musallah. However, there is no harm in using any means of conveyance if the Musallah is a distance or there is an excuse;
- To go to the Musallah using one route and to return by another route;
- To recite the Takbeer while going to the Musallah.
The takbeer is Al-laa hu akbar, al-laa hu akbar, laa ilaaha il-lal-laa hu wal-laa hu akbar, wa lil-laa hil hamd
The Day of Eid is indeed a joyous day and one should beware of his action not to displease Allah.
Some important points on the day of Eid
- To fast on this day is not permissible;
- To perform any Nafl Salaah (optional prayer) before the Eid Salaah is not proper;
- To intermingle with non-mahrams in actions like shaking hands, kissing, touching, flirting, looking with intent and lust, etc. are not permissible;
- To dress against the dress code of the Shariah is not proper, like males wearing natural silk or gold or allowing their clothes to hang beyond the ankles, women exposing their hair, ears, wrist, ankle and other parts which are incumbent to be covered;
- To partake of non-halaal foods and drinks as well as to engage in music and dancing are not permissible.
Muslims must remember that Allah has made the Day of Eid as a Day of Festivity and thankfulness. It is a special day for greeting and gift giving. It is also a day of fun and play for the young children and the elders should be visited showing to them love, honour and respect which they deserve. Believers must also remember the many lessons of Ramadaan, which have been learnt, and a firm resolve must be made to be steadfast. May Allah bless us with guidance and a joyous Eid. Aameen.
Fasts of Shawwaal
Fasting for six days in Shawwaal is a commendable act. The Prophet (SA) said, "Whoever fasts Ramadaan then add the fast of six days in the month of Shawwaal, will reap the reward of fasting for the whole year." [Muslim]
This Hadith describes the great reward of the six fasts of this month. The scholars have interpreted this Hadith by saying that, according to the recognized rules of the Shariah every good deed is multiplied ten times more in reward of its origin. Therefore, the reward of 30 days of Ramadaan amounts to the reward of fasting 300 days. If the fast of Ramadaan is followed by six more, then they will carry the reward of 60 days, amounting in total to 360 which is the number of days of one year according to the Islaamic Calendar.
Therefore, Muslims should take this opportunity to acquire such an enormous reward from Allah. It is preferable to start these fast from the 2nd of Shawwaal as the 1st is Eid and it is not permissible to fast on Eid, and keep fasting until the 7th of Shawwaal.
However if the fasts were kept on other days it is proper that the reward would be the same.
The Darul Uloom
The Darul Uloom T&T is an Islamic institution disseminating primary to tertiary Islamic Studies and secondary academic education. We are a non-profit organization whose objective is to educate Muslims about the Sacred Deen of Allaah. To achieve this end the Darul Uloom offers many programmes and courses on a full-time and part-time basis for brothers and sisters separately.
Our five-year full-time secondary programme offers training in Islamic and academic studies up to O'levels. Graduates can further their studies for the next three years in the full-time A'alim course where they can qualify as Maulana. There is also a full Hifz programme where students can memorize the entire Quraan with the aid of qualified teachers. There are also classes for adults on a part-time basis on Monday and Wednesday nights for males and on Saturdays for females.
In addition to these programmes, services such as Counselling, the Issuing of Islamic legal opinions, and collection of Zakaah and Sadaqah are done at the Darul Uloom.
Through the Grace and Mercy of Allaah the Darul Uloom is able to conduct these various programmes and courses only through the kind and generous donations of the Muslim Community.
As a service to Islam you are humbly requested to contribute to these efforts as we strive together to establish the Deen of Allaah.
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