Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: Zakah on Buried Treasure and Precious Minerals
The term rikaz is etymologically derived from rakaza, the perfect tense ofthe verb yarkuzu (the imperfect root). It means 'to be hidden.' Allah, theExalted One, says: "Or hear from them the slightest sound" [Maryam 98]--thatis, rikz means a slight sound.
In the present context, this refers to what was buried at the time ofjahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period). Malik and many other scholars are of theopinion that rikaz means objects buried before the Arabs embraced Islam andwhich were dug up without any expensive effort or money. If these conditionscannot be met, then it is not considered rikaz. Abu Hanifah holds that it is aname of an entity hidden either by the Creator or by the created one (man).
The term ma'din (minerals) is derived from the verb 'adana (to reside), asin the phrase "'adana fi almakan," which means 'someone resided insome place.' Allah, the Exalted One, says: "Allah has promised to thebelieving men and believing women gardens of Eden" [at-Taubah 72] since itis an abode for eternity.
Scholars differ about minerals (ma'din) which are subject to zakah. Ahmadholds that everything dug from the ground, whether created in it or buried byman, and which has a value (such as gold, silver, iron, copper, lead,sapphires, chrysolite, emeralds, turquoise, crystal, agate, kohl (antimonysulfide), arsenic, tar, petroleum, sulphur, zaj) are subject to zakah. He,however, made it a condition that the extracted mineral should attain a nisabeither by itself or by its value. Abu Hanifah is of the opinion that zakah ispayable on any mineral that can receive an imprint or melt by fire, such asgold, silver, iron, or copper. As for liquids such as tar, or a solid mineralwhich cannot be melted by fire such as rubies, there is no zakah on them. Inthe former case, the admissibility of nisab is not a prior condition. Whetherlarge or small in amount, a fifth will be taken as zakah.
Malik and ash-Shaf'i hold that both gold and silver qualify for zakah. LikeAhmad, they insist that the gold should weigh at least twenty mithqal (a weightequal to 4.68 g.) and the silver at least 200 dirhams. They agree (with theHanafiyyah) that these metals do not require completion of a year to besubjected to zakah, which becomes due anytime it is available. According to thepreceding scholars, the amount should be one-fortieth, and its distributionshould be like that of the regular zakah. For Abu Hanifah, its distribution issimilar to booty (fay').
That zakah of rikaz and ma'din is obligatory is shown by a statementattributed to Abu Hurairah: "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: 'Thereis no compensation for one killed or wounded by an animal, falling in a well,or because of working in mines; but, one-fifth (khums) is compulsory on rikaz.'" Ibn al-Munzhir confesses that he does not know anyone who contradictedthis hadith except al-Hasan, who differentiates between what exists in the landof war and the Islamic land. The latter holds that if rikaz is found in theland of war, one-fifth (khums) is due, but if it is found in the Islamic land,it will be subject to the regular zakah.
Explaining it, Ibn al-Qayyim says that there are two interpretations of thisstatement:
The first interpretation is that whenever someone hires someone else to diga mine for him and then he falls into it and is killed, there is nocompensation for him. This view is supported by the Prophet's saying:"There is no compensation for one who falls into a well or who is killedby an animal--(al-bi'r jubar, wa al-'ajma' jubar)."
The second interpretation is that there is no zakah on minerals. This viewis supported by the Prophet's saying: "... but one-fifth is compuslory ontreasure--(wa fi az-zakah al-khums)." Thus, he differentiated betweenmineral (ma'din) and treasure (rikaz). He made zakah on rikaz compulsorybecause it is a wealth obtained without any cost or effort. He exemptedminerals (ma'din) from zakah because they require both cost and effort fortheir mining.
The rikaz are all those substances upon which one-fifth (khums) is payable,such as gold, silver, iron, lead, brass, and the like. This is the opinion ofthe Hanafiyyah, the Hanbaliyyah, Ishaq, and Ibn al-Munzhir. A report from Malikand one of the two opinions of ash-Shaf'i also corroborate it. Ash-Shaf'i alsoholds that only gold and silver are subject to khums.
Rikaz might be found in the following places:
-1- In a barren land, a land of unknown ownership, or in an intractibleroad, or ruined village. In that case, khums has to be paid, and the one who foundit may keep the other four-fifths for himself. This is based on a report froman-Nasa'i on the authority of 'Amr ibn Shu'aib from his father and from hisgrandfather, who said that when the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, wasasked about a lucky find (al-luqatah), he responded: "For anything along atractable road or in an inhabited village, its ownership is determined byestablished custom. If the owner claims it, it is his. However, when an item isfound in an intractable road or in an uninhabited village, then on it and therest of the find, one-fifth (khums) is payable."
-2- If the rikaz is found by someone in a land transferred to him, then itis his, as it is lodged in the land. Nevertheless, his ownership does not comefrom his possession of the land--it comes from the fact that it became known tohim. Analogically, this kind of find falls into the category of grass,firewood, and game which are found on land which is not his. He can claim it ifthe one who transferred the land does not ask for it. In that case, it will behis because the land originally belonged to him. This is the view of Abu Yusuf,and the Hanbaliyyah uphold it as sound. Ash-Shaf'i says it belongs to the ownerwho transferred the land (if he claims it) before him, and so on until it isclaimed by the first original owner.
Whenever land is transferred through inheritance, it is considered aninheritance by itself. If, however, the inhabitants agree that it did notbelong to the one from whom they inherited it, then it belongs to the originalowner. If he is unknown, then it is considered the lost property of an unknownowner. Abu Hanifah and Muhammad say that it belongs to the original owner ofthe land or to his inheritors if they are known; if they are not, it is to be placedin the public treasury.
-3- If it is found in the land of a Muslim or a free non-Muslim subject(zhimmi), then it belongs to the owner of the land, according to Abu Hanifah,Muhammad, and Ahmad. It is also reported from Ahmad that it belongs to the onewho found it (rikaz). Al-Hasan ibn Salih, Abu Thaur, and Abu Yusuf alsopreferred this opinion. This view is based on the belief that rikaz is notnecessarily owned by the owner of the land, except when it is claimed by theowner. In such a case, his word will be the final one because he has the rightover the land. If he does not claim it, it belongs to the one who finds it.AshShaf'i holds that it belongs to the one who claims it. Otherwise, it belongsto the original owner.
The amount payable on rikdz is one-fifth, regardless of a nisab, accordingto Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, and one of the two correct reports of Malik andash-Shaf'i. As for the completion of a year (haws), all scholars agree that ithas not been stipulated as a conditon.
Most scholars are of the opinion that khums is due on anyone who finds atreasure, whether he happens to be a Muslim, a free non-Muslim subject(zhimmi), old, young, sane, or insane. However, the guardians of the young andinsane must pay it on their behalf. Ibn al-Munzhir comments that all learnedpersons agree that a zhimmi who finds rikaz has to pay its khums. This is alsothe opinion of Malik, the scholars of Madinah, ath-Thauri, al-Auza'i, thescholars of Iraq, those who use analogy (ashab ar-ra'y), and others. Ash-Shaf'istated that khums is only due upon those who must pay zakah.
According to ash-Shaf'i, the distribution of khums is similar to thedistribution of zakah. Ahmad and al-Baihaqi narrate from Bishr al-Khath'amithat a man from his tribe said: "While I was in Kufah, I received a jarfrom an old monastery at the zakah district (jibayah) of Bishr. There were4,000 dirhams in it. I took it to 'Ali, who told me to divide it into fiveparts, which I did. Then, 'Ali took one-fifth and gave me four-fifths. When Ideparted, he called me and asked if there were some needy people living nearme. I replied that there were, and he asked me to divide the one-fifth amongthem." Abu Hanifah, Malik, and Ahmad are of the opinion that itsdistribution is similar to the distribution of booty (fay').
Ash-Shu'bi narrates that a man, while he was out of Madinah, found 1,000dinars in the ground. He brought them to 'Umar ibn alKhattab, who took thekhums of 200 dinars and gave the man the rest. 'Umar started to distribute the200 dinars among the Muslims who were present. Since a little bit was leftover, he then asked: "Where is the owner of the dinars?" When the manresponded, 'Umar said to him: "Take these dinars, for they areyours." In alMughni, it says that if it were like zakah, he would havealloted it to those who deserved it and would not have returned it to itsfinder. Furthermore, rikaz can be given to the zhimmi, whereas zakah is not.