Fiqh Al Zakah – A Comparative study of Zakah, Regulations and Philosophy in The light of Quran and Sunnah – Volume 2
FIQH AL ZAKAH ENGLISH VERSION VOL 2 – Book Sample
PROLOGUE – Fiqh al Zakah English Version Vol 2
Like prayer, zakah in the Qur’an is an aggregate principle without much detail. Qur’an does not give rates, nisab, kinds of wealth that are zakatable, or the conditions for zakatability. Sunnah, verbal and practical, provides the details of zakah. the second source of Shari’ah after the Qur’an, Sunnah is essential for any explanation of zakah. God says, “And We have sent down unto thee the message that thou mayeth explain clearly to people what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.” ((Sura al Nahl, 16:44.))
Abu Daud reports that a man told the Companion ‘Imran bin Husain, “O Aba Nujaid, you tell us sayings that we do not find in the Qur’an” ‘Imran was upset and told the man, “Dido you find ‘On each forty dirhams, one dirham is obligated’, ‘on each so and so Goat, one Goat is obligated,”and ‘on each so and so camels so much is obligated? Did you find all that in the Qur’an?” The man answered, “No.” Then ‘Imran asked, “Where do you get these from? You took them from us and we got them from the Prophet (p),” and he mentioned other similar matters. ((Al Mundhiri, Mukhtasar Sunan Abu Daud, Vol. 2, p. 174.))
Qur’an defines zakah distribution – Fiqh al Zakah English Version Vol 2
Although zakah is discussed in the Qur’an as an inclusive concept, the areas where it can be spent are specifically mentioned in the Qur’an; they are not left to rulers or opinionators to decide according to their whims. At the time of the Messenger (p), some greedy individuals attempted to take some proceeds of zakah, but when the Prophet did not give them attention, they criticized and censured the Prophet so much that God sent verses deploring their greed and uncovering their hypocrisy.
Those same verses go on to name the categories that deserve zakah: “And among them are men who slander thee in the matter of the distribution of sadaqat. If they are given part thereof, they are pleased, but if not, behold, they are indignant. If only they had been content with what God and His Apostle gave them, and had said, ‘sufficient unto us is God, God and His Apostle will soon give us of His bounty, to God do we turn our hopes.’
That would have been the wise course. The sadaqat are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the funds, for those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to Truth, for those in bondage and in debt,. in the cause of God, and for the wayfarer. Thus is it ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom.” ((Sura al Tawbah, 9:58-60.))
Abu Daud reports from Ziad bin al Harith al Sada’i, “I came to the Messenger of God (p) and gave him my pledge.” The narrator recounts a long story and then continues, “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘Give me some of the proceeds of the sadaqah.’ The Messenger of God (p) said, ‘God does not leave the distribution of the sadaqah to a Prophet or anyone else. He Himself ordains the distribution to eight categories. If you are in any of these categories, I will give you what you deserve.'” ((In the chain of this saying is ‘Abd al Rahman bin Ziad bin An’am al Ifriqi. More than one scholar criticizes him. See al Mundhiri, op cit., Vol. 2, p. 230.))
The significance of distribution details in the Qur’an
Economists and socioldgists note that in taxation systems, the determination of the usage of proceeds is more important than the collection of funds, because governments usually have sufficient means to collect taxes efficiently and justly. It is in the usage of these funds that misconduct appears more often.
It is essential that the proceeds of zakah be distributed and not kept in the treasury of the state, as was done before Islam by emperors and kings with the levies they imposed on their subjects. History tells that in most cases, taxes were imposed on the weak and poor to be spent luxuriously by kings and lords.
With the emergence of Islam, zakah was imposed as a relief to the poor and weak classes, but it was necessary to specify the deserving categories with words of God Himself.
THE POOR AND THE NEEDY – Fiqh al Zakah English Version Vol 2
The poor and the needy are the first two categories of zakah deservants mentioned in sura al Tawbah, which illustrates that the first target of zakah is to eliminate poverty and destitution from society. This purpose of zakah, being the most important, is mentioned alone in some sayings, such as the saying narrated by Mu’adh, when the Prophet sent him to Yemen: “Inform them that God has prescribed on them a sadaqah, taken from the rich among them and rendered to the poor among them.”
Definitions of the poor and needy
Abu Yusuf, the disciple of Abu Hanifah, and Ibn al Qasim, the disciple of Malik, believe the poor and the needy are one category.((Hashiyat al Dusuqi, Vol. 1, p. 492, and Sharh al Azhar, Vol.1, p. 509.)) The majority of scholars disagree. In fact, the poor and the needy are two subsets of one category. Jurists and commentators on the Qur’an differ as to the specific meaning of “the poor” and “the needy”, especially when the two words are mentioned together.
Many scholars argue that these two words are inter-related, so that if one of them is mentioned, it includes both, but when they are mentioned together in one statement, they carry slightly different meanings. In the verse “The sadaqat are only for . . . .” the two words appear together.
Al Tabari selects the view that the word “poor” means the person who is in need, but is also modest enough not to beg, ((Tafsir al Tabari, Vol. 14, pp. 308-309.)) while the needy is the person who is in need but humbles himself in begging. He argues that the word “need” has this connotation, as in the verse, “They were in humiliation and misery [need].”
The correct saying, “A needy person is not one who is satisfied with one or two dates but . . . the person who is modest,” is not a linguistic explanation of the word “needy” but rather an assertion by the Prophet of the value of modesty. This is like his style in the saying, “The strong is not one who conquers others in wrestling, but one who controls himself when he is angered.” ((The saying is agreed upon as narrated by Abu Hurayrah. See Bulugh al Maram, p. 302. See also al Mughni, Vol. 6, p. 457))
View of al-Khattabi – Fiqh al Zakah English Version Vol 2
Commenting on the saying about the needy, al Khattabi rightly argues that “the needy is a person who goes around begging, since the Prophet brought the attention of his audience to the fact that beggars’ needs may be satisfied by what he or she receives, while a person who is in need but does not beg may be forgotten, so his or her need passes unsatisfied.” ((Ma’alim al Sunnan, Vol. 2, p. 232.))
Jurists also do not agree as to whose state is worse, the poor or the needy. Shafi’ites and Hanbalities believe the status of the poor is worse, while Malikites and Hanafites believe the needy is in direr circumstances. Both provide semantic arguments in support of their views. All of them, however, determine that differences in the meaning of “poor” and “needy” are not solvable and irrelevant to the analysis of zakah.
Hanafites define the poor as a person who has properties and/or income not sufficient to satisfy his or her essential needs. His or her property is either below nisab or used up for basic needs like shelter and clothing. The needy is a person who owns nothing. Accordingly, a deservant of zakah in this category, whether poor or needy, may be:
- A deprived individual who owns nothing.
- A person who owns shelter, furniture, clothing, but not in sufficient quantity to satisfy basic needs.
- A persons who owns less than nisab of money.
- A person who owns less than nisab of other than money, such as camels, provided the value of his or her property is less than two hundred dirhams.((Majm’ al Anhur, printed with Durr al Muntaqa, pp. 220 and 223.))
The view of three schools of thought – Fiqh al Zakah English Version Vol 2
According to the other three major schools of jurisprudence, the poor and the needy are not defined with regard to nisab, but to satisfaction of essential needs. A poor person is one whose wealth and income are far from satisfying his or her essential needs, while a needy person is one whose wealth and income fall not much short of the satisfaction of essential needs. According to this criteria, a person who deserves zakah as a poor or needy may be:
- A person who has no property or income at all.
- A person whose wealth and income satisfy a little bit of his/her essential needs.
- A person whose wealth and income satisfy more than half of essential needs but still fall short of fulfillment of those needs.
As for satisfaction of needs, Malikites and Hanbalites consider a one year period for such satisfaction, while Shafi’ites look to the expected life of the person. Shams al Din al Ramli argues that by taking the rest of the expected life of the poor or needy person, one may not expand the category of zakah deservants to include the rich, because a person who owns some property that yields a return sufficient to satisfy essential needs cannot be categorized as poor or needy.((Nihayat al Muhtaj, Vol. 6, pp. 151-153.))
A poor or needy person may own an adequate residence in which he or she lives,(( Shafi’ite jurists do not agree on the case of a person who is accustomed to live in rented residences and has at the same time the value of a residence, whether this person should be treated as poor or not. Al Ramli, in Nihayat al Muhtaj, considers such a person poor, while others do not. See Hashiyat al Shabiramalsi on Nihayat al Muhtaj, Vol. 6, p. 150.)) yet his or her income may not be sufficient for the satisfaction of essential needs; the same may be said of adequate clothing, women’s jewelry, books, and tools for craftsmen.
Moreover, property not under the control of the owner which the owner cannot use to reduce the level of poverty is not counted, such as property in another country, or under legal obstacles that prevent the owner from using the property. ((Ibid, pp. 150-151.))
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