Calculation of Zakāt

Zakāt (زكاة‎, zakāt, “that which purifies”,[1] also Zakat al-mal, زكاة ألمال‎, “zakat on wealth”[2]) is a form of alms-giving treated as a religious tax and/or religious obligation in Islam[3][4][5][6] for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth,[7] and one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[8] Beneficiaries of zakat include zakat collectors, poor Muslims, new converts to Islam, Islamic clergy.[9][10][11] Zakat is prescribed to cleanse the individual’s wealth, heart, and baser characteristics in general, and to replace them with virtues.[12]

Zakat is based on income and the type and value of one’s assets/possessions[13][14] above a minimum amount known as nisab.[7][Note 1] The Quran does not provide specific guidelines on which types of wealth are taxable under the zakat, nor how much is to be donated, and Islamic scholars differ on how much nisab is and other aspects of zakat.[16] However, the amount of zakat paid on capital assets (e.g. money) and stock-in-trade and jewelry is customarily 2.5% (1/40).[8] Zakat is also payable on agricultural goods, precious metals, minerals, and livestock at a rate varying between 2.5 and 20 percent, depending on the type of goods.[17][18] Income from business, salaries and other means are traditionally exempt.[19]


While the Quran talks about the importance of zakat (Quran 7:156[20]) and gives general guidance on who should receive it (Quran 2:215[20]), it does not specify which types of wealth are “zakatable“, nor how much is to be given in zakat.[16]

While some kinds of stores of wealth are mentioned in hadith in regards to zakat (for example wheat, rye, date, raisin, camels, silver), many others are not. Consequently, noted scholar of fiqh Yusuf al-Qaradawi emphasizes the importance in zakat regulation of the use of ijma’ (the agreement of scholars), and qiyas (analogy or applying to a case the same ruling given to a similar case because of common reason (`illah)).[21] An example of use of ijma is the rule that zakah is “obligatory on golden assets at the same rate as it is on silver”, (i.e. one fourth of a tenth) despite the fact that only silver had zakat ordered upon it by a hadith of Muhammad.[22] Zakat regulations on silver and gold are also an example of qiyas as both metals are being “used in several countries as measures and store of value”, and so are analogous.[23]

According to Mohammad Najatuallah Siddiqui, the ulema (Islamic scholars) are “unanimous in regarding the rates of Zakat as permanently fixed by Islamic law”, but “a number” of recent writers, “mostly economists, argue in favour of making these rates amendable to modification”.[24]

Gold and silver

Al-Qaradawi quotes Imam Al-Shafi‘i in his Al Risalah about zakah on gold: “The Prophet of God ordered zakah on silver currency and Muslims after him collected zakah on gold. They were either depending on a saying of the Prophet that never reached our times or applying analogy because of the similarities between gold and silver as money, since both were used in several countries as measures and store of value.”[23][25]

Jewellery and precious metals — such as gold and silver — come under Zakat even if they are used merely for decorative purposes.[26]

Farm produce

Zakat al-Fitr

According to al-Qardawi, the grains and fruits mentioned in hadith on zakah are limited to wheat, rye, date and raisin. However,

the majority of scholars applied zakah on different kinds of grains and fruits by analogy to those grains and fruits mentioned by the Prophet, (p)l instead of restricting zakah to the items stated in the sayings. … By the same token we apply analogy on silk, milk and other animal products because they are similar to honey, which is mentioned in the Traditions. … It is reported that ‘Umar used analogy with respect to zakah when he ordered zakah on horses after he realized that they had become high in value, saying, “Should we only take one sheep out of every forty sheep and leave horses with nothing?” ‘Umar was followed in that respect by Abu Hanifah13.[23]

The classic fiqh nisab for dates or grain is five wasq (609.84 kg), so that no zakat is due if the amount of dates or grain possessed is less than that.[27] Zakah is payable on the gross yield of land for each crop.[19]


Zakāt” on Livestock or cattle, Al-An’am Arabic: زكاة الأنعام[28] According to Fiqh az-Zakat by al-Qaradawi[29] and other traditional handbooks of zakat fiqh (such as one issued by IslamKotob,[30]) zakat on livestock such as sheep, cows and camels should be paid in-kind according to a detailed schedule.

Goats Young Pasture Meadow Brown White Brown Goat

Scripture and livestock

Livestock (Al-An’am) and how God created them is mentioned in the Quran in Surat Al-An’am (136),[31] and Surat An-Nahl (5).[32] Flocks and feeding the poor are mentioned in Surat Al-Hajj (28).[33]

Livestock and how they will punish sinners who have not paid zakat when they reach Jahannam (hell) is mentioned in Hadith: Narrated Abu Dhar: Once I went to him (the Prophet ) and he said, “By Allah in Whose Hands my life is (or probably said, ‘By Allah, except Whom none has the right to be worshipped), whoever had camels or cows or sheep and did not pay their Zakat, those animals will be brought on the Day of Resurrection far bigger and fatter than before and they will tread him under their hooves, and will butt him with their horns, and (those animals will come in circle): When the last does its turn, the first will start again, and this punishment will go on till Allah has finished the judgments amongst the people.” (Bukhari, Vol.2, Book 24, No. 539)[34]


If the number of camels exceeds 120, for each 40 more there is one she-camel two to three years old, and for each 50 additional there is one she-camel three to four years old.[29]
Number owned Zakat[35]
1-4 0
5-9 1 Goat or sheep (1 yr old)
10-14 2 Goat or sheep (1 yr old)
15-19 3 Goat or sheep (1 yr old)
20-24 4 Goat or sheep (1 yr old)
25-35 1 One-year-old she-camel
36-45 1 Two-year-old she-camel
46-60 1 Three-year-old she-camel
61-75 Four-year-old she-camel
76-90 2 Two-year-old she-camel
91-120 2 Three-year-old she-camel
121-129 3 three-year-old she-camels
130-139 2 Two-year-old she-camel + Three-year-old she-camel
140-149 1 Two-year-old she-camel + 2 Three-year-old she-camel
150-159 3 Three-year-old she-camel
160-169 4 Two-year-old she-camel
170-179 1 Three-year-old she-camel +3 Two-year-old she-camel
180-189 2 Three-year-old she-camel +2 Two-year-old she-camel
190-199 3 Three-year-old she-camel +1 Two-year-old she-camel
200-209 4 Three-year-old she-camel or 5 Two-year-old she-camel

Cows, and buffaloes (Domestic and not wild)

According to al-Qaradawi there are no prescribed nisab limits in ahadith for cows:

There is no correct saying that provides us with the nisab and rates of zakah on cows as we have seen on camels. This may be because cows were rare in the area of Hijaz (around Makkah and Madinah); it may be also because cows are close in size and value to camels, so the Prophet did not determine their rates on the assumption of their obvious similarity. But the fact that there is no correct saying on the issue left the jurists with varying views on the determination of nisab and rates.[36]

However, the “reputed position upheld by the four schools of jurisprudence” is that nisab is “30 cows”, and so that for 30 cows, a “one-year old cow is due”, and for 40 to 59 cows a two years old cow is due, and so on[36] (see below).

Number owned Zakat[36]
1-29 0
30-39 1- One-year-old Bull-Calf (Male)
40-59 1- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female)
60-69 2- One-year-old calf (Male or Female)
70-79 1- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female) + 1- One-year-old Bull-Calf (Male)
80-89 2- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female)
90-99 3- One-year-old Cow-Calf (Female)
100-109 1- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female) + 2- One-year-old Bull-Calf (Male)
110-119 2- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female) + 2- One-year-old Bull-Calf (Male)
120-129 3- Two-year-old Cow-Calf (Female) or 4- One-year-old Bull-Calf (Male)

Sheep and goats

There is no zakat on sheep and goats until their number reaches forty. [Neither male or female is specified].
Number owned Zakat[37]
1-39 0
40-120 1- Goat or sheep (not less than 1 yr old)
121-200 2- Goat or sheep (not less than 1 yr old)
201-299 3- Goat or sheep (not less than 1 yr old)
300-399 4- Goat or sheep (not less than 1 yr old)
400-499 5- Goat or sheep (not less than 1 yr old)

Contemporary practice

As of 2010, Zakat was mandatory by state law and collected by the state in six Muslim majority countries: Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen,[38] according to researcher Russell Powell.

There were government-run but voluntary Zakat contribution programs in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.[39][40]

The states where zakat is compulsory differ in their definition of what assets (and sometimes income) are “zakatable”—eligible for contributing zakat.[41] A 1995 study by Fouad Abdullah al-Omar[42] found many differences.[41]

  • Agricultural produce. All six countries charge zakat on agricultural produce, but in Malaysia only rice is subject to zakat.[41][42]
  • Livestock. Five countries (Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen) subject Livestock to zakat. Only one country (Libya) includes camels and cows used for agricultural work (ploughing, irrigation, etc.).[41][42]
  • Precious metals. Zakat on Gold, silver, cash and other forms of invisible wealth is collected in four countries, but the assets are assessed differently in the different countries.[41]
  • Treasures buried in the earth. Three countries (Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan) collect zakat for treasures buried in the earth.[41]
  • Wealth that yields income. Only one country, Sudan, imposes zakat `on wealth that yields income, such as rented property, factories, farms, etc.` and in two countries (Sudan and Saudi Arabia) `regulations provide for the collection of zakah in respect of factories, hotels, art producing companies, taxi owners and offices of real estate agents`.[41][43]
  • Income. Income is subject to zakat in only two of the six countries: `The Saudi and Malaysian regulations are … the same as to the imposition of the zakah in respect of free vocational jobs and employees` salaries`[43] Kahf (1999:27-8)[44] explicates that the income of certain professionals (physicians, engineers, lawyers, etc.) is subject to zakat in Saudi Arabia only if they work independently but not if they are salaried person, while professional incomes are generally not included in zakat in Yemen but always—whether independent or salaried—in Sudan.”[41][42]



  1. In addition to property exceeding the amount of Nisab, conditions required for Zakah to become obligatory include: the owner of the property being mature and sane; being able to dispense with the property. In the case of cows, sheep, camels, the livestock must have been in possession of the owner for at least twelve months. However, if having met the conditions for zakat at the beginning of the twelfth month, some of the conditions disappear later on in the month, the obligation of Zakah remains.[15])


  1. Benda-Beckmann, Franz von (2007). Social security between past and future: Ambonese networks of care and support. LIT Verlag, Münster. p. 167. ISBN978-3-8258-0718-4Zakat literally means that which purifies. It is a form of sacrifice which purifies worldly goods from their worldly and sometimes impure means of acquisition, and which, according to God’s wish, must be channeled towards the community.
  2. “Zakat Al-Maal (Tithing)”Life USA. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  3. Salehi, M (2014). “A Study On The Influences Of Islamic Values On Iranian Accounting Practice And Development”. Journal of Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance10 (2): 154–182. doi:10.12816/0025175Zakat is a religious tax that every Muslim has to pay.
  4. Lessy, Z (2009). “Zakat (alms-giving) management in Indonesia: Whose job should it be?”. La Riba Journal Ekonomi Islam3 (1). zakat is alms-giving and religiously obligatory tax.
  5. Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan Ṭūsī (2010), Concise Description of Islamic Law and Legal OpinionsISBN978-1904063292, pp. 131–135
  6. Hefner R.W. (2006). “Islamic economics and global capitalism”. Society44 (1): 16–22. doi:10.1007/bf02690463Zakat is a tax levied on income and wealth for the purpose of their purification.
  7. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969: p.xix
  8. Medani Ahmed and Sebastian Gianci, Zakat, Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, p. 479-481
  9. Ghobadzadeh, Naser (2014), Religious Secularity: A Theological Challenge to the Islamic State, Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0199391172, pp. 193–195
  10. Ariff, Mohamed (1991). The Islamic voluntary sector in Southeast Asia: Islam and the economic development of Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 38. ISBN981-3016-07-8.
  11. M.A. Mohamed Salih (Editor: Alexander De Waal) (2004). Islamism and its enemies in the Horn of Africa. Indiana University Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN978-0-253-34403-8.
  12. The Zakat Handbook(PDF). Zakat Foundation of America. 2007. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  13. Décobert, C. (1991), Le mendiant et le combattant, L’institution de l’islam, Paris: Editions du Seuil, pp. 238–240
  14. Medani Ahmed and Sebastian Gianci, Zakat, Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, p. 479, quote: “As one of the Islam’s five pillars, zakat becomes an obligation due when, over a lunar year, one controls a combination of income and wealth equal to or above Nisaab.”
  15. “أحكام الزكاة”. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  16. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969: p.xxi-xxii
  17. Kuran, Timur (1996). “The Economic Impact of Islamic Fundamentalism”. In Marty, Martin E.; Appleby, R. Scott (eds.). Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. University of Chicago Press. p. 318ISBN978-0-226-50884-9.
  18. Kuran, Timur (2010). Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism. Princeton University Press. p. 19. ISBN978-1-4008-3735-9.
  19. Khan, What Is Wrong with Islamic Economics?, 2013: p.417
  20. “Zakah; the Obligatory Charity” Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  21. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969: p.xxxi-xxxiii
  22. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969:
  23. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969: p.xxxii
  24. Siddiqi, Muhammad Nejatullah (1981). Muslim Economic Thinking: A Survey of Contemporary Literature. International Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, King Abdul Aziz University. p. 23. ISBN9780860370819.
  25. Imam al Shafi’i, al Risalah, pages 193-4
  26. “zakat”Muslim aid. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  27. “Fiqh of Zakat” Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  28. “معنى كلمة الانعام في قاموس المعاني. قاموس عربي انجليزي مصطلحات صفحة 1”. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  29. al-Qaradawi, Fiqh az-Zakat, 1969: p.86
  30. Nofal, Abd el-Razzak. The Poor Due (Al Zakat) – الزكاة. IslamKotob, under the auspices of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Cairo. p. 16. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  31. Quran6:136
  32. Quran16:5
  33. Quran22:28
  34. Sahih Bukhari translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan]| Peace Vision| Vol.2, Book 24, No. 539
  35. Abu Qanit al-Sharif al-Hasani (2001–2002). The Guiding Helper: Main Text and Explanatory Notes. lulu. p. 172. ISBN978-1-4452-3791-6. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  36. Al-Qardawi, Figh Al Zakah, v.I, 1969: p.92
  37. “12.19. Livestock, Animals, Cows, Sheep, Camels”Hidaya Foundation. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  38. Marty, Martin E. & Appleby, R. Scott (1996). Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance. University of Chicago Press. p. 320ISBN978-0-226-50884-9.
  39. “Zakat by country”Money Jihad. August 9, 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  40. Powell, Russell (2009). “Zakat: Drawing Insights for Legal Theory and Economic Policy from Islamic Jurisprudence”. University of Pittsburgh Tax Review7 (43). SSRN1351024.
  41. Sohrab Behdad, Farhad Nomani, eds. (2006). Islam and the moral economy: the challenge of capitalism. Routledge. p. 268.
  42. Al-Omar, Fouad Abdullah (1995), “General, Administrative and Organizational Aspects”, el-Ashker and Sirajul Haq (eds.), Institutional Framework of Zakah, Jeddah, IDB/IRTI, pp. 21-59.
  43. Al-Omar, Fouad Abdullah (1995), “General, Administrative and Organizational Aspects”, el-Ashker and Sirajul Haq (eds.), Institutional Framework of Zakah, Jeddah, IDB/IRTI, p. 39.
  44. Kahf, Monzer (April 26–30, 1999). “The Performance of the Institution of Zakah in Theory and Practice”(PDF)International Conference on Islamic Economics, Towards the 21st Century: 27–8. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
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