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Never Paid Zakah: What to Do?

Question and answer details
Sara
2012/09/12
As-salamu `alaykum. I have a question regarding paying Zakah. I'm 25 years old and I've never before paid Zakah in my life. I really want to start paying it but I need a full detailed explanation on it, as I've read so many times about it but I couldn't get a clear idea on how to calculate it and when to pay it.First of all, I need to know on what conditions could someone pay Zakah? My current situation is as follows:I work as a part-timer and my salary isn't fixed as I get paid per hour. In other words, my salary is in the form of wages; it ranges from 2000-2500 L.E. Unfortunately my job isn't even stable as I get to work project-based so sometimes I'm not working and sometimes I am. I'm also living off my dad's pension, my dad passed away a long time ago. So, my whole family (composed of 4 members; my mum, my two younger brothers, and me) lives off his pension which ranges from 4000-6000 L.E.After having explained my financial situation, now I need a very simple method as to how I should calculate my Zakah, and when should I pay it? I never understood how to calculate it by using the gold/silver percentage and the meaning of the term "hawl". So, I'd highly appreciate it if you could explain it to me simply according to my financial status. Thanks so much for all your efforts and JAK.
Monzer Kahf
Answer

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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Dear sister, we should really first thank you for your question as it shows your commitment and your strong desire to pay Zakah even you may not have the nisab (the amount of money due to Zakah).

Zakah is the third pillar of Islam that is ordained on the rich people who own the nisab; it is paid every lunar year.

As for your case, you have to pay Zakah for the saved money, not for the money you spend on yourself or your family.

In his response to your question, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor, states,

The matter is much simpler than you thought. Since you live off the pension of your late father, please, remember when you had an amount that is equal to US $ 1500 for the first time, this makes the beginning of your Zakah year and the first time you are required to pay Zakah was 354 days after that date (which is a whole year - al-hawl in Arabic).

The rate is 2.5% of the balance you have on the 354th day. You repeat the same every 354 days from then. Also, keep in mind that past due Zakah does not die out; you still should pay it arrear.

Now let me explain the following:

1. Zakah is not on the salary/wage itself but on the saved part of it.

2. The hawl is a lunar year and begins the first time you acquire the nisab – the amount of money due to Zakah (which may come from any source including gifts, saving from salary, any other earning, inheritance, etc.)

3. The nisab is what determines being subject to Zakah. It comes from 200 Dirham (silver) or 20 dinar (gold) my estimation of it is about US $1500. I don’t go by the speculative increase in the prices of gold over the last few years because they do not reflect the real value. So, I keep founding it on older prices.

BTW, I like you to remember that since pensions systems all over the world assign specific amount to each family member of the deceased, if there is any saving over time out of the pension, each family member (minor or adult) is required to pay his or her own due Zakah by applying the same procedure mentioned above.

Allah Almighty knows best.


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