Assalamualaikum SS Datuk Mufti, is it still necessary for me to pay business zakat even when I’m experiencing loss in my business?
Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The main matter that should be understood when answering this question is that zakat is paid not to decrease a person’s wealth nor is it so that a person will experience a loss. On the contrary, zakat system will foster and cultivate a person’s wealth. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ
“Sadaqah does not decrease property,”
Sahih Muslim (2588)
Imam al-Nawawi explained the above hadith has two meanings:
- The zakat paid for the property is blessed removing him from harm. The decrease of the property is replaced with blessings. This could be felt through the senses and norm.
- Although the physical property decreased, the decrease is replaced with multiplied rewards from Allah SWT. (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 16/141)
The obligation for business zakat is in accordance with syarak evidences from the Quran and al-Sunnah. Allah SWT states:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنفِقُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ
“O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth.”
Surah al-Baqarah (267)
Imam Ibn Kathir cited Mujahid that the sadaqah meant in the above verse is zakat from property obtained through trade. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 1/697)
Syeikh al-Maraghi commented, donate your property, whether it is from your trade or farm, from grain, fruits and others. (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/612)
The same is stated in a hadith narrated by Samurah bin Jundub RA, he said:
فَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَأْمُرُنَا أَنْ نُخْرِجَ الصَّدَقَةَ مِنَ الَّذِي نُعِدُّ لِلْبَيْعِ
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to command us to pay Zakah from (the goods) we had prepared for sale.”
Sunan Abu Daud (1562). Syeukh Syuaib al-Arnauth state the hadith’s sanad is dhaif (weak).
Imam al-Saharanfuri said the meaning of sadaqah in the hadith is the obligatory zakat from the property for trade. (See Bazl al-Majhud, 6/317)
According to the above question, the obligation for zakat for business is applicable when it fulfils the following conditions:
- The ownership of the property must be with akad (sale, rent). If the ownership is because of inheritance, will or hibah, then it is not considered as property for trade.
- The owner must have the intention to sell the property when he owns it and the intention must be continuous. If otherwise, the property is not considered as property for trade even if he has the intention to sell it afterwards. If he has the intention to sell the property when he bought it, then intends to keep it without selling it, then the property is not considered as property for business and it is not obligatory to pay zakat for it. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 2/27)
Answering the above question, business zakat is obligatory to be paid when it fulfils the conditions of business zakat as well as reaching the haul duration (a year) and nisob (amount of property) that obligates zakat. The loss experienced in business is not a reason or ‘ilah that make it permissible for a person to neglect zakat. As for the paid zakat, it will bring blessings and foster the business owned.
As a conclusion, we have explained why business zakat itself is sanctioned; which is to purify the property and foster one’s business. The loss experienced or decrease in sales is not a reason that abrogates the obligation of zakat as long as the property fulfils the obligatory conditions of zakat. Thus, it is obligatory to pay business zakat when it fulfils the haul and nisob.
Hopefully, this explanation will open our minds so that we will fulfil our zakat obligation in our daily lives. Amin.