Zakah (Charity)

24 May 2019 Ref-No#: 1763

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته At what age should I start to give Charity? And what is the Percentage of the Charity to give? Is the percentage Fixed or Variable? (Because I think, I do not know how to calculate exactly the amount. Also, until now I don’t think that I have an Income). And will I get (Haram) if I don’t have an income and not paying Zakah (Charity)? Lastly, can I delay Zakah (Charity)?? In other words, can I give it after few years? جزاك الله خيرا

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Zakah becomes compulsory upon a person when he reaches the age of puberty (Bulugh).

The amount of Zakah is 2.5% of your extra assets, after deducting all your liabilities.

Zakah is based on how much you own. It does not matter whether you get an income or not. 

If you had more than the Nisaab (value of 612.36 grams of silver or its equivalent value in your local currency), and one (lunar/Islamic) year later on that same (Islamic) date you owned the equivalent or more than the Nisaab, then Zakah was compulsory upon you. In this way, you will look at the same date every year, and see if you have the Nisaab. If you do, you will have to discharge the Zakah. However, if a years comes and you do not have the Nisaab on that date, there will be no Zakah on you. Moving forward, whenever you get the amount of Nisaab again, you will mark that date and look a year later to see if you have the Nisaab on that date or not.

It does not matter if during the course of the year (in between the two dates) your wealth fluctuates. You will only look at the amount owned on the due date.

There are severe punishments for a person who does not discharge his Zakah, inspite of it being compulsory upon him. Allah says in verses 34 and 35 of Surah Tawba,

 «وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلاَ يُنفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ يوم يحمى عليها في نار جهنم فتكوى بها جباههم وجنوبهم وظهورهم هذا ما كنزتم لأنفسكم فذوقوا ما كنتم تكنزون»

“And there are those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allah: inform unto them a most grievous penalty. On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!”

On the other hand, Allah promises us that He will increase our wealth if we pay our Zakah. In verse 276 of Surah Baqarah Allah says in verse 39 of Surah ar-Room,

«وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن رِّبًا لِّيَرْبُوَ فِي أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ فَلَا يَرْبُو عِندَ اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُضْعِفُونَ»

“And whatever you give for interest to increase within the wealth of people will not increase with Allah . But what you give in zakah, desiring the countenance of Allah – those are the multipliers.”

You should make the discharging of your Zakah a priority. If you do not have any wealth at present, you may discharge later. Remember, it will be a debt on you, and you should also include this in your will.