Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: Zakah on Animals
There are authentic ahadith explicitly indicating that camels, cattle, andsheep are subject to zakah. This enjoys the consensus. There are, however, someconditions to be met:
-1- The animals concerned must attain a nisab.
-2- They have to be in possession for one year.
-3- They should have pastured by themselves -- that is, grazing most of theyear in the available pasture.
Most scholars agree with these conditions. Malik and al-Layth, however, saythat livestock is subject to zakah whether it be grazing or fodder-fed, usedfor carrying loads or not. Nevertheless, the ahadiths mentioned are unequivocalin restricting zakah to freely grazing livestock. This suggests that there isno zakah on fodder-fed livestock. It is always safe to base an opinion onevidence rather than on general implications to avoid possible misunderstandingof the Prophet's intent.
Ibn 'Abdul-Barr protests: "I do not know of any jurist in the provinceswho followed Malik or al-Layth in this regard."
There is no zakah on camels unless there are five of them, they have beengrazing freely and they have been in one's possession for a year. When thecamels are five, their zakah is one sheep (shah).
When they are ten, their zakah is two sheep. Thus, every time they increaseby five, the zakah due on them is one more sheep. However, when they reachtwenty-five, the due zakah is a she-camel (bint makhad or bint labun) which isa year old and starting the second, or a young male camel which is two yearsand already starting the third year. When they reach thirty-six, the zakah dueon them is a young she-camel (bint labun). When they reach forty-six, the duezakah is a she-camel (huqqah) which is already three years old and starting thefourth. When they reach sixty-one, the due zakah is a four year old camelalready starting its fifth year (jazh'ah). When they reach seventy-six, twoyoung she-camels (bint labun) are due. When they are in the range of ninety-oneto 120, the zakah is two young camels (huqqatan). When the number of camels isabove 120, on every forty young she-camels, one bint labun is due. And on everyfifty above 120, a young she-camel (huqqah) is due.
When the ages of camels offered for zakah differ, the owner should payjazh'ah. If he does not have it, he may pay huqqah and may add two sheep ortwenty dirhams provided he can afford to. The person who has to pay huqqah aszakah but does not have it only has to pay jazh'ah. The zakah collector, then,will pay him the difference, which is twenty dirhams or two female sheep. Theone who has to pay huqqah and does not possess it can pay just the bint labunif he has it, along with two sheep if they are available. If not, he may paytwenty dirhams. If he has to pay the zakah of bint labun and does not have it,he can pay a huqqah and will receive from the zakah collector twenty dirhams ortwo sheep. If he has to pay the zakah of bint labun but has only bint makhad,it will be accepted from him along with two sheep if they are available, ortwenty dirhams. If he is liable for the zakah of bint makhad and does notpossess it, a ibn labun will be accepted from him without any additionalthings. If he has only four camels, he is not supposed to pay anything unlesshe wants to.
These are the rules concerning zakah on camels which were applied by CaliphAbu Bakr as-Siddiq, and none of the companions differed with him in thismatter.
Az-Zuhri reported, on the authority of Salim from his father: "TheMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, had the rules of sadaqah written downbut could not send them to his govemors. Then, after his death, Abu Bakrdispatched them and applied them, a practice which Caliph 'Umar also followedand wanted others to follow, as indicated in his will."
Cattle are subject to zakah provided they are a freely grazing herd andnumber thirty at the completion of the hawl. At that point, the zakah due is ayoung bull or a young cow (tabi' or tabi'ah). When they reach forty, the zakahis a young cow two years old (musinnah); when sixty, two young cows or twoone-year-olds (tabi'ahs); when seventy, the zakah due is one musinnah and onetabi'; when eighty, two musinnahs; when ninety, three tabi's; when one hundred,one musinnah and two tabi's; when 110, two musinnahs and two tabi's; and when120, three musinnahs or four tabi's. This system is followed on all additionalcattle--one tabi', and on every forty, one musinnah.
Sheep are subject to zakah when their number reaches forty. When the herdcounts forty freely grazing heads at the end of the year, its zakah is onesheep. This is applicable until the number reaches 120, at which point, upuntil 200, the zakah is two sheep. From 201 to 300, their zakah is three sheep.When the number is above 300, one additional sheep is added for each incrementof one hundred. Young sheep (jazh') are levied in the case of sheep and younggoats (thany) in the case of goats. It is permissible, say scholars withoutexception, to levy rams as a form of zakah if all of the nisab of sheep aremale. If the sheep are ewes, or a grouping of males and females, the Hanafiyyahholds it is optional to levy a zakah rams, whereas others specify ewes.
Definition of Awqas: Awqas is a plural form of waqs. A waqs is any amount ornumber that lies between the regulation of the lower ordinance and that of ahigher one. Scholars agree that such a waqs is exempt from zakah. It has beenconfirmed in the sayings of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, concerning thesadaqah of camels that he said: "When the number of camels reachestwenty-five, a young she-camel one year old and already starting the second(ibn makhad); when they reach thirty-six to forty-five, then the zakah due onthem is a young she-camel two years old and already starting the third (bintlabun)." Concerning the sadaqah of cattle, he said: "When cattlenumber between thirty and forty, the zakah is a young calf of one year old(tabi') or a bull or cow of one year and already starting the second (jazh' orjazh'ah); when they reach forty, a young cow of two years old and alreadystarting the third (rnusinnah)." Concerning sadaqah on sheep, he said:"When the number of freely grazing sheep is between forty-two and 120,their zakah is one ewe." Thus, what lies between twenty-five andthirty-six camels is considered waqs--that is, there is no zakah on them.Likewise, what lies between thirty and forty cattle is considered waqs. This isalso applies to sheep.
The rights of property owners must be considered when their properties aresubjected to zakah. The best items are not to be taken as zakah unless theowners freely permit it. Likewise, the rights of the poor should be considered.A defective animal should not be taken as zakah unless all of the other animalsare defective. In such a case, zakah is due on the average of that property.Some proofs for this view are:
-1- In the letter of Abu Bakr: "Neither an old or a defective animalnor a billy goat may be taken as zakah."
-2- Sufyan ibn 'Abdullah ath-Thaqafi reported: "Umar forbade the zakahcollector to levy zakah on the following: barren ewes (al-'akulah), a sheepkept at home for milk (ar-rahy), a pregnant ewe (al-rnakhid), or a ram used forbreeding (fahl al-ghanam)."
-3- 'Abdullah ibn Mu'awiyyah al-Ghadiri reported that the Prophet, upon whombe peace, said: "Whoever performs these three acts will have had (savored)a taste of belief ('irnan): He who worships Allah alone, and [believes] thatthere is no god but Him; he who good-heartedly offers the zakah on his propertywhich will repay him every year; and he who does not offer a very old sheep, amangy sheep, a sick sheep, a mean and low sheep, or a ewe which produces only asmall amount of milk. You should offer one from the average. Verily, Allah asksyou to offer neither the best nor the worst." It was related by Abu Dawudand at-Tabarani with a good transmission.
Zakah is not applicable to animals other than cattle. Thus, there is nozakah on horses, mules, or donkeys unless they are used for the purpose oftrade. On the authority of 'Ali, it is related that the Prophet, upon whom bepeace, said: "I have exempted you from paying sadaqah on horses." Itwas narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud with a good chain. On the authority of AbuHurairah, it is related that the Messenger, upon whom be peace, was asked if thereis zakah on donkeys. He replied: "Nothing was ever mentioned [inrevelation] except in the following excellent Qur'anic verse: 'And whosoeverdoes evil equal to an atom's weight will see it' [azZalzalah 7-8]." It wasnarrated by Ahmad and its details have already been mentioned.
Harithah ibn Madrab reported that he performed pilgrimage (hajj) with Caliph'Umar, and the notables of Syria came to him and said: "O Commander of theFaithful, we have acquired some animals, so take from our property a sadaqahthat purifies us." He answered them: "My two predecessors [theProphet, upon whom be peace, and Caliph Abu Bakr] did not do this before. Butwait and let me ask the Muslims about this." This was narrated byalHaythami, who said that it was narrated by Ahmad and atTabarani in the bookentitled al-Kabir. The narrators of this hadith are considered trustworthy.
Az-Zuhri reported from Salman ibn Yassar that the people of Syria said toAbu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah: "Take from our horses . . . a sadaqah."He refused. Then he wrote to 'Umar, who also refused. They spoke to him again,and he wrote to 'Umar once again. 'Umar wrote back: "If they desire that,take it from them and give it back to them [their poor] and to theirslaves." This was narrated by Malik and al-Baihaqi.
When a person has a nisab of camels, cattle, and lambs, and they give birthduring the same year, zakah is due on both the original number and theiroffsprings at the end of the year. Their zakah is considered a lump-sum zakahaccording to the majority of scholars. On the authority of Malik andash-Shaf'i, from Sufyan ibn 'Abdullah ath-Thaqafi, it is related that 'Umar ibnal-Khattab said: "The new-born sheep (as-sakhlah) carried by the shepherdare not to be taken as zakah. Likewise, a barren sheep (al-'akulah), a ewe keptfor milk (ar-raby), a pregnant ewe (al-makhid) and a ram used for breeding(fahl al-ghanam) are not to be taken as zakah. Take as zakah the jazh'ah andthe thaniyyah. Zakah is levied on the average quality of the property."
Abu Hanifah, ash-Shaf'i, and Abu Thaur are of the opinion that the youngoffspring are not to be calculated in the zakah payment unless the matureanimals make a nisab. Also, Abu Hanifah stated that the young sheep can beadded to fulfill a nisab whether they are born from the same livestock or not.They will be subject to zakah at the end of the year. Ash-Shaf'i lays down thecondition that young animals have to be born prior to the completion of thenisab. There is no zakah on young animals according to Abu Hanifah, Muhammad,Dawud, ash-Shu'abi, and Ahmad.
Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, ad-Daraqutni and al-Baihaqi, relate that Suwaidibn Ghaflah said: "The zakah collector of the Messenger of Allah, uponwhom be peace, came to us and I heard him say: 'In my term of office, asuckling animal was not subject to zakah . . .' " In its chain ofnarrators is Hilal ibn Hubab, whom several have declared trustworthy, but somedid not. It was authenticated by more than one person but was a point ofcontention to others.
According to the opinion of Malik and a report from Ahmad, young animals aswell as mature ones are subject to zakah, because if the former could beconsidered with others (for purposes of zakah), then they could also beconsidered on their own. Ash-Shaf'i and Abu Yusuf hold that at least one young(animal) is obligatory (as zakah) from the young animals.
-1- Suwaid ibn Ghaflah said: "The zakah collector of the Messenger ofAllah, upon whom be peace, came to us and I heard him say: 'We do not collectzakah on suckling animals, nor do we separate between them [young and old], norcombine them together.' A man came with a great humped camel (kawma), but hedid not accept it as zakah." It was reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud andanNasa'i.
-2- Anas reported that Abu Bakr wrote to him: "These are the sadaqahstipulations which the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, made obligatoryto the Muslims. [And of it] do not combine. There is no need to gather [youngand old] animals nor to separate them to obtain the correct sadaqah amount.What happens to a mixture of young and old? When zakah is assessed on two associates,then they have to figure it out equally among them." AlBukhari relatesthis.
Malik, in alMuwatta', says: "There are, for example, three partners,each having forty sheep on which zakah is payable. If they add their sheeptogether, their zakah will be only one sheep. Or, another example: two partnershave 201 sheep. Their zakah will be three sheep. If they divide the flock amongthem, their zakah will be one sheep each."
Ash-Shaf'i holds that this statement is addressed to both the owner and thezakah collector. Each is ordered not to add or separate his possessions toobtain a lower or higher sadaqah. Since the owner would naturally prefer a lowsadaqah on his property, he would combine or separate his possessionsaccordingly. The same would also be true of the zakah collector, who might liketo collect as much sadaqah as possible. By using the phrase khashyat assadaqah(for fear of sadagah), the Prophet meant that it may become more or less sinceboth altematives were possible. This shows that he did not prefer one choiceover the other. Therefore, he made both altematives possible. According to theHanafiyyah: "This is, in a sense, a prohibition on the zakah collector'sseparating the property of a person so that his sadaqah is not increased. Forexample: a man possesses 120 sheep. If they are divided into three lots offorty each, the zakah would amount to three sheep. Another example: if theycombine the property of one man with the property of another, the sadaqah wouldincrease. Thus, if a person owns 101 sheep and another owns an equal number,then the zakah collector, if he combines the two lots, would secure three sheepas payment toward zakah, while the actual amount due is only two sheep."
The Hanafiyyah hold that as far as the determination of zakah is concemed,combining (animals) has no effect. Whether such a combination is betweenpartners or has ensued because of contiguity does not matter. There will be nozakah on the joint ownership of partners unless each of them attains a nisab.The consensus is that zakah has to be detemlined on the basis of soleownership.
The Malikiyyah maintain that ownership of cattle is considered as one forthe purpose of zakah. The combination becomes valid only for zakah when theco-owners in their own right possess a nisab. In addition to this, they shouldhave a common herdsman, a common breed, a common pen, and the expressedintention of having joint ownership. If the herd of one of them is distinguishedfrom the other, they will be considered two separate entities. In that case,each individual becomes liable for zakah. The combination affects livestock.What is taken as zakah from the herd will be distributed among the partners inaccordance with each one's share. If the property of one of the associates isseparate, then all of it is considered combined.
According to the Shaf'iyyah, every share of the combination affects thezakah and the zakah on two or more associates' separate properties becomes due.This may affect the amount of zakah due; for example, if two men, eachpossessing twenty sheep, combine their sheep, the zakah due is one, but if theydo not combine them, then there is no zakah on either one. On the other hand, acombination of 101 sheep with the same number results in a zakah of one andone-half sheep. However, if the flocks of sheep are considered separately, thenthe zakah due on each lot is only one sheep. As for the case of threeassociates, each of them having forty sheep, if they combine them, the zakahdue is one sheep--that is, the zakah due for each partner is one-third of asheep. However, if treated separately, each should pay one sheep. In additionto this, the Shaf'iyyah moreover stipulate the following:
-1- The partners should qualify financially to pay zakah.
-2- The combined property must attain a nisab.
-3- Its zakah is due at the end of the year.
-4- None of the properties is singled out from the others as regards restingpen, grazing area, watering, herdsmen, and milking sheds.
-5- Flocks of the same kind are bred by the same ram.
Ahmad agrees with the Shaf'iyyah, except that he limited the effect ofcombination to cattle and does not take into consideration any otherproperties.