Thursday

Zakat on Paper Currency

There is Zakat on modern paper currency because it is equivalent to silver. During the early days of Islam, silver and gold were the currency of exchange minted into dirham for silver and dinaar for gold. Silver, not gold, had a larger circulation. Thus many scholars are of opinion that silver should be the standard for the paper currencies of today because that is more advantageous to the Zakat payer, as it raises the minimum nisaab whereas gold lowers it. Although both metals are no longer circulated, they are still considered as a security against ever fluctuating paper money.
Silver should be used as a standard to assess Zakat annually, not paper currency, even if the currency is hard currency like the US dollar, Yen and Deutch Mark or Pound Sterling. Because these currencies are backed by political decisions that may not have anything to do with the economy, the value and strength of this paper money depends largely on all haram usury system of interest rates.
Thus, the Zakat payer should look up in the local newspaper's financial or business section for the price of silver which is currently about $3.82. per ounce. The nisaab, then, is 596 x .04=28.80 ounce multiplied by$3.82= 90.91. therefore. The nisaab is about $100.00, as of December 17, 1991.
The nisaab should be based on the market value of the currency. If the money is hard currency, there will be no problem, but if the money is a non-marketable currency, like most currencies in the third world countries, the nisaab should be based on the black market, which realistically reflects the value of the currency on the money market. In any case, the silver rate should be used to assess the Zakat.
If the nisaab is determined, the Zakatable amount is 2.5%, or .025 multiplied by the amount. For instance, if the Zakatable amount is $56,000.00 it will be 56,000. x .025 = $1,400.00.
Zakat is due on gold, silver, and or paper currency, whether it is cash in hand or credit in the hands of borrowers. Zakat is due on debts or cost of merchandize or rental money. If the borrower is a wealthy person that you know will pay back the debt, the lender (that is Halaal lending free of usury) should include that money in the assessment and give its Zakat. However, one can delay Zakat on a loan until he receives payment, then return its Zakat for the past years that he was unable to assess for Zakat. If the borrower is poor or is refusing to pay the debt, there will be no Zakat on the money until the lender receives the money. Then he will assess it for Zakat of one past due year, but there will be no Zakat in the years before that.
There is no Zakat on precious stones such as diamonds, or metals such uranium, regardless of their value. Gold and silver, of course are assessed for Zakat. However, if a person possesses any of these stones or metals, he should give their Zakat like any other articles of trade. If a person possesses diamonds or any other precious stones as an edge against inflation or for ornaments, there will no Zakat on these.