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Zakat / Zakat of a deferred debt

Zakat of a deferred debt

publish date : 2014-09-07 07:05 PM | Views : 1450
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Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. My question concerns my money which I used to own and then I gave it to my husband when our house was being built. I do not know if Zakat for this money is due from me. I do not own any other money besides that and my husband cannot repay me now because he does not have money and he has other debts. I later on inherited some money and paid off his remaining debts. Is Zakat due from me for the money that I inherited? My husband says that he will repay all the money that he got from me installments whenever he is able to do that. Please answer me, and may Allah reward you.

زكاة الدين المؤجل


Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions. Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. As to what follows: In response to your question, we say:   Question: I bought a piece of land in an installment sale, and I will not be able to own the land except after paying the last installment and that will be after eight years if Allah wills. My question is that when I signed the contract and paid the first installment, my intention was to sell the land as soon as I own it. Is Zakat due on that land? Is Zakat due on a deferred debt?   The scholars have different opinions concerning the compulsoriness of Zakat on a deferred debt which the debtor will pay in installments: The first opinion: Zakat is compulsory on the deferred debt together with the present wealth if the debtor is well-to-do. This is the opinion of the Shafi’tes. It was also narrated by Ahmad. This was the opinion that was held by Ishaq and Abu ‘Ubaid. This opinion was narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, ‘Uthman, ibn ‘Umar, and Jabir (may Allah be pleased him).[1] The second opinion: Zakat is due on the money which the creditor currently owns if the debtor  is wealthy. He may delay the repayment of the Zakah on the deferred debt until it is repaid. This is the opinion of the Hanafites[2], Ahmad and Sufyan. The third opinion:  Zakat is due on a deferred debt once, when the creditor is repaid. This is applicable regardless of whether the debtor is solvent or insolvent. This is the opinion of Malik,[3] and it was attributed to Ahmad in one narration. This was the opinion of al-Hasan and ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz.[4] The fourth opinion: There is no Zakat at all in a delayed debt. This is a narration from Ahmad and was chosen by Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah. This is also the old opinion of ash-Shafi’.[5] This opinion was also held by some ash-Shafi’tes[6], and ibn Hazm from the Zahirites. In his as-Sunan (4/150)al-Bayhaqi said, “This opinion was narrated by ibn al-Munthir from ibn ‘Umar, ‘Ikrimah and ‘Ata”. What is observable in this issue is that the opinions of the scholars on it are based on the difference of opinion on a debt, whether it is growing wealth or not[7]. Is it like property which  is present or not?[8] Those who said that Zakat is compulsory in this issue used the hadiths which state that Zakat is compulsory on property, and a debt is part of property, thus it is compulsory to pay Zakat on it. They also used as evidence the reports that have been transmitted by some Sahaba concerning the compulsoriness of  Zakat on a debt. There is no clear proof in these evidences because the general evidences about the compulsoriness of Zakat in property are specific for the issues that were mentioned in the evidences, and there is  no evidence that indicates that Zakat is compulsory on a debt. In his old opinion, ash-Shafi’ said, “I do not know of an authentic report  which can be relied on in the issue of Zakat of a debt. I think that there is no Zakat on a debt. And Allah knows best.”[9]   As to what was transmitted from some Sahaba, it is comparable by what was said by their compatriots, and the opinion of some Sahaba is not proof if some Sahaba dispute it. The opinion of those who said that it is compulsory to give the Zakat of the debt for one year is a strange opinion.  Concerning this opinion, Abu ‘Ubayd said in al-Amwal (p 440), “As for giving the Zakat for one year, I do not know of the proof for that.” I also do not know the proof of those who say that the creditor has to pay the Zakat for one year even if the debt stays with the debtor for several years. In my opinion the preponderant opinion is that there is no Zakat on a deferred debt based on original freedom from obligation. And Allah the Exalted knows best. Dr. Khalid al-Muslih 10/09/1424     [1] Ikhtilaf al-‘Ulama 1/112. Abu Hanifa did not differentiate between the Zakat of a debt whose time is due and a deferred debt . [2] Mukhtasar Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha 1/434, Haashiyat Radd al-Muhtaar  2/307. [3][3] Al-Istithkar 9/69. Malik did not differentiate between the Zakat of a debt whose time is due and a deferred debt .   [4] Al-Istithkar 9/69. [5] Ma’rifat as-Sunan wa al-‘Athar 6/154. [6] Al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhaththab 5/509. [7] Tarikat al-Khilaf by al-Asmandi p 15-16. [8] Bidaayatil Mujtahid 1/273. [9] Ma’rifat as-Sunan wa al-Athar 6/154

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