Calculation Of Zakat
Zakat must be paid by every free Muslim, man or woman, who has a nisab (the required amount of wealth). As for the insane and children who have a nisab, if their wealth is under disposal or in circulation, their guardians pay it on their behalf. If a person dies before paying it, it must be taken from the estate before paying off any debts, if there are any, and the heirs share the inheritance.
Conditions for Nisab. Nisab is conditioned by the following:
* Nisab is the amount of wealth remaining after meeting all expenses for such vital necessities as food, clothes, housing, and a mount. Thus, one does not have to pay zakat on what he or she needs to make a living, such as tools or machines related to carpentry, farming, tailoring, or working as a doctor. All debts are subtracted from one's wealth. If one has enough secured credit to pay off the debt, it is added to one's wealth, and if the resultant wealth reaches the nisab, one must pay zakat.
* For many items subject to zakat (e.g., money, gold, silver, and cattle), a full year of the Islamic calendar should pass, starting from the day of the nisab's possession. If the wealth possessed decreases during the year but is still possessed one year later, zakat must be paid. What matters is the availability of nisab at the beginning and end of the year. However, this condition does not apply to plantations and fruits, for their zakat should be paid, or at least calculated, on the harvest day and include what has been consumed before the harvest.
* In short, there are two types of zakat: one grows by itself (e.g., crops and fruits), and the other is used for growing and production (e.g., money, merchandise, and cattle). In the former case, zakat should be paid at harvest time; in the later, at the end of the year.
* The wealth subject to zakat should be actively or potentially increasing, growing, or productive. This condition will be explained below.
* One must have private, doubtless ownership or possession and the right of disposal of the wealth liable to zakat.
Intention. Since paying zakat is an act of worship, its validity depends upon one's sincere intention to pay it for God's sake. If one pays it without making the intention, one can still intend while the wealth expended as zakat has not yet been consumed.
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