Zakat is a tremendously important obligation as it is the third Pillar of Islam. Being a major pillar in our religion communicates to us how instrumental it is in this world. Zakat provides countless communal, social, and spiritual benefits that can only be reaped through fulfilling this obligation.
“And establish prayer and give Zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves you will find it with Allah.”
Therefore, after understanding the enormous responsibility of Zakat, we must also understand how to pay it in the correct manner. If both aspects are whole-heartedly grasped by a sincere believer, then an exponential reward will follow this deed. One of the crucial aspects of Zakat are the rulings pertaining to jewelry.
In this short article we will discuss:
- What is defined as jewelry.
- What are the opinions and proofs in this regard.
- The details needed to understand what rulings are applicable.
1.0 What is Defined as Jewelry?
Jewelry is linguistically defined as personal “ornamental pieces (such as rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets) that are made of materials which may or may not be precious (such as gold, silver, glass, and plastic), are often set with genuine or imitation gems, and are worn for personal adornment.”
This means that any type of worn ornaments are technically defined as jewelry. However, this is not the same in the Shari’ah context when determining Zakat. There are a number of general rules to take into consideration when calculating Zakat.
1.1 Artificial Jewelry
All artificial ornaments regardless of their value are non-zakatable. The only time such items will be zakatable is if they are inventory for business purposes. In such a case, the artificial jewelry would be classified as zakatable, not due to it being defined as jewelry, but rather due to it falling under business wealth/inventory.
1.2 Jewels or Stones
Jewels or stones, whether they are artificial or real, are not zakatable. This includes all types of stones such as diamonds, rubies, pearls, and more. Regardless of the value of these stones, they themselves are not zakatable.
1.3 Metals Apart from Silver & Gold
All types of metals, whether artificial or not, apart from gold and silver are also not zakatable. This means that jewelry made from copper, aluminum, iron, and other metals are not to be taken into consideration when paying Zakat.
1.4 Pure Gold & Silver
The value of pure gold and silver is a zakatable asset. If any jewelry is found to contain gold or silver metal, then the weight of that metal is zakatable. The current weight of the jewelry should be converted into the current value of that weight in either gold or silver.
Example: Grams of gold x Current gold spot value = Total zakatable gold amount.
After understanding these basic points, it is important to know the key differences of opinion on the topic of Zakat and jewelry.
Gold and Silver are, as mentioned, zakatable metals. If any gold or silver is retained in one’s ownership for one entire lunar year, then it will be zakatable. In this general ruling, there is unanimous agreement among the scholars of Islam. However, gold or silver jewelry worn by women carries different opinions
2.0 Is Zakat Payable on Women’s Jewelry?
Hanbali, Shafi, and Maliki Position: According to the vast majority of 3 out of 4 schools of jurisprudence, the conclusion of the ruling is that Zakat is not payable on the gold and silver in women’s jewelry which is worn.
Hanafi School of Thought: The official Hanafi opinion is that Zakat is payable on all gold and silver, including jewelry.
To pay Zakat on gold and silver jewelry that is worn is currently the position held by NZF and is encouraged, since it is both the cautious and more beneficial opinion.
Once all of this has been understood, certain questions and circumstances may come to mind. For that reason, we will do our best to educate you on some situations that may arise so that you are well informed to pay Zakat correctly.
3.0 Paying Zakat on Mixed Metals (mixed with Gold or Silver)
Mixed Metals: If gold or silver is mixed with other metals, then there are two opinions on how to calculate the Zakat on such metals:
The Hanafi Opinion: In the case of mixed metals, one must determine whether 50% or more of the metal in gold or silver. If the jewelry is 50% or more gold or silver, then the entire metal will be taken as gold or silver and will be 100% zakatable. If it is 49% or less gold or silver, then the metal will not be considered gold or silver and will not be zakatable.
Hanbali/Shafi Opinion: For gold and silver mixed with other materials, if the total gold (or silver) percentage is greater than 50% in that piece, then Zakat should be paid on it, proportionally to the percentage.
Example: If a gold bracelet is 75% gold and 25% other metals, and the total weight is 100 grams, then Zakat is paid on the 75g of gold that is in the bracelet.
4.0 Husband Paying Zakat on Behalf of Wife
It is permissible and valid for the husband to pay the wife’s portion of Zakat. However, if he does not pay the Zakat his wife is responsible for, then she is obligated to do so on her own. This means that a woman will be required to pay Zakat even if it requires to liquidate an asset or sell jewelry.