Stewardship & Charity

How can a person be poor and still owe Zakat?

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Do Poor People Pay Zakat?

As some of you may know, Zakat is one of my passions and is one of the most visited and asked about issues on my site. I use the Pubble service to field questions from readers of this site. Its a great service that I highly recommend. Occasionally, those questions deserve detailed answers or are common questions that deserve to be highlighted. The following is one of those questions.

Here’s what one reader wrote in yesterday:

so from what my mom is telling me, from what she is hearing from a some scholar, that given current value of gold/silver, if you have $400 in your savings (not the amount of income that you made), that you are eligible (or compulsory) to pay 2.5% in zakat? i’m not trying to start a fiqh fight, but my question is: what about people who themselves are in dire need, they are poor, they live off of welfare, food stamps, etc. yet Alhamdulillah at the time of paying zakat, they have like say $1000.00 in the bank, would they still be required to pay zakat? because I’m confused as to how people who in of themselves, their own nation’s standards classifies them as poor, even (these) poor people would have to pay zakat?
Also, can someone give me a simple way to understand:
a) conditions to make you eligible to pay zakat
b) conditions to make you ineligible to pay zakat
c) conditions to make you eligible to receive zakat
d) conditions to make you ineligible to receive zakat?
Do we go by the standards as set by the financial/political institutions of the nation of residence? OR do we just disregard that, and go only by the Hadith without any regard to the specific context that many of America’s poor live in today?
and tbh my intention is (hopefully) pure, because I believe that zakat has many purposes, other than purifying the donor’s wealth and giving him barakah, but to also address poverty in of itself. I do not want to see people who in of themselves are truly poor, for it to be compulsory upon them to pay zakat when they are in such a fragile situation, where every penny literally counts. and to give even 2.5% of that wealth could mean a difference.

Firstly, I think that a standard course in Zakat law would answer most of your questions. Here is a quick guide to many common Zakat questions. I usually do one yearly during Ramadan, so if you are in the Houston area it would be great if you attended. It is free and offered at local Masjids.

From what I understand from your question, you are perplexed that someone could own the minimum amount to make themselves liable for Zakat, but still be poor enough to receive Zakat. There is an essential condition that you may not be aware of, and that is the surplus wealth kept in savings (the $400 you mentioned) must be held consistently for one full calendar year.

Basically we’re asking the question: “If I have savings and spend from it, making my savings go below Nisab, do I still have to pay Zakat?” The short answer is: No, you do not have to pay Zakat if your savings go below Nisab.

If a person has savings of this amount or more for one calendar year, without ever dipping below that amount or having that amount earmarked for their on going expenses, then they will pay Zakat on that amount. While there are situations in which a person can be eligible to receive Zakat and liable to pay it (think of the concept of the working poor) they are very few and far between, given that Islamic law does not oblige a person to pay on their earnings and gross income, but only pay Zakat on their surplus savings after all expenses and other liabilities.

and Allah knows best,


Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Try our Zakat page for more information.

Do I have to pay Zakat on my stocks and shares?

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zakat on stocks

Do I have to pay Zakat on my stocks and shares?


If you own stock in a company (or shares as they are called) then to determine their liability for Zakat you should look at the investment strategy you are using.

  • If you are using them for a long term investment (something you plan to hold for a year or more) then you will pay Zakat on the dividends distributed by those stocks (shares) when paid, if they are more than Nisab.
  • If you are an active trader, or have an active portfolio in a mutual fund, then you will pay Zakat yearly on the market value of the stock (share) or the portfolio, as well as the dividends.
  • If you sell these stocks (shares) during the year, you will add the amount received from sale to your liquid assets and pay Zakat according to general rules of Zakat.

This is the method prescribed the Fiqh Academy of the OIC and is generally prescribed by most scholars who are specialists in the field.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Try our Zakat page for more information.

I only own the Nisab of gold and I have no other wealth, how will I pay my Zakat?

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I only own the Nisab of gold and I have no other wealth, how will I pay my Zakat? If a woman only has gold the exact amount of the Nisab, and does not have any other wealth, what should she do? Is she obligated to sell her gold jewelry to pay her Zakat?


In the highly improbable case that a woman only owns the exact amount of Nisab of Gold and no other wealth what so ever, then yes she is obligated to sell a part of her gold to pay her Zakat.This includes Gold and Silver jewelry.

If she chooses to pay from her gold itself, then she can pay 2.125 grams in Zakat. This would automatically reduce the gold she owns to below the Nisab, and it would then not be liable for Zakat the following year it is remains the same.

If a relative, friend, or 3rd party pay it for her, that is acceptable. If they loan her the money to, and she pays them back, that is acceptable as well.

If like most women she has some other form of wealth (cash or otherwise) she can valuate that form of wealth and pay the value of her Zakat from that other form of wealth.  For example, she can calculate her Zakat liability for the year, and start to pay off the Zakat early. So if the Nisab is 85 grams of gold and it equals $4838 USD this year, then 2.5% of that will be 120.95 USD, which she can pay off in 6 months by paying 20 dollars a month.

While some might say “But the gold has sentimental value” we should keep in mind that the pleasure of God is our utmost goal, and that this worldly life will fade away.

ما عِنْدَكُمْ يَنْفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

What is with you will perish, and what is with God is eternal. We will reward those that were patient with the best of what they performed.

And Allah knows best.

Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Try <a title=”Zakat – Essential Information” href=””>our Zakat page for more information</a>.

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