Zakat of Agricultural Products

Source: https://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/PrintFatwa.php?lang=E&Id=29066&lang=E&Id=29066

Question
I own two acres of land, one of which is my property and the other is rented out. What is the due zakat on each of them, given that I am growing banana trees and that costs a lot of money to cultivate?

Answer
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

Scholars have differed with regards to the due zakat on agricultural products. Imam Abu Hanifah, may Allah have mercy upon him, believed that zakat is obligatory on agricultural products, regardless of their amount. He believed that zakat should be paid on everything that comes out of the earth like grains; all crops and fruits; such as bananas, pomegranates, peaches and even vegetables, legume and flowers. He depended on the narration of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, who reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “On that which is watered by the heavens (i.e. rain), springs or its own roots, a tenth of the harvest is due and for what is watered by irrigation, half a tenth (i.e. twentieth) of the harvest.” [Al-Bukhari and others]

The other three Imams, may Allah have mercy upon them, believed that zakat is obligatory on edible agricultural products that can be measured by capacity (i.e. Saa‘: a measure that equals four double-handfuls of an average person’s hands) such as rice, wheat, dates and raisins. They relied on what the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “No zakat is payable in less than five Wasqs (i.e. equals sixty Saa‘) of dates.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The same narration was reported as follows: “No zakat is payable in less than five Wasqs of dates or grain.” [Muslim and Ahmad]

This indicates that zakat is only due on edible agricultural products, provided the resulting crop is used as regular food which can be stored and planted, as stated above. As for vegetables, fresh fruits and legumes, they are not measured or stored, so no zakat is due on them.

The predominant opinion in this regard is that zakat is not obligatory on fruits and vegetables since vegetables were plentiful in Al-Madinah and fruits were abundant in the Arab markets in Taa’if. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were never reported to have taken zakat on any of these crops.

Hence, there is no zakat on the bananas grown in this land. However, if the money that is earned from selling agricultural products reaches the due Nisab of zakat, whether by itself or when added to other money or trade goods, and the Hawl (i.e. lunar year) has passed, then zakat becomes due on that money.

Allah Knows best.


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What Should Not Be Included in Zakat Payment?

The rights of property owners must be considered when their properties are subjected to zakat. The best items are not to be taken as zakat unless the owners freely permit it. Likewise, the rights of the poor should be considered…..

The rights of property owners must be considered when their properties are subjected to zakat. The best items are not to be taken as zakat unless the owners freely permit it. Likewise, the rights of the poor should be considered.

A defective animal should not be taken as zakat unless all of the other animals are defective. In such a case, zakat is due to the average of that property. Some proofs for this view are:

1. In the letter of Abu Bakr: “Neither an old or a defective animal nor a billy goat may be taken as zakat.” This also means that zakat cannot be taken in excess of what has been required; unless he wants to pay zakat more then he needs to, then it is permissible.

2. Sufyan ibn ‘Abdullah ath-Thaqafi reported: “Umar forbade the zakat collector to levy zakat on the following: barren ewes (al-‘akulah), a sheep kept at home for milk (ar-rahy), a pregnant ewe (al-rnakhid), or a ram used for breeding (fahl al-ghanam).”

3. ‘Abdullah ibn Mu’awiyyah al-Ghadiri reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever performs these three acts will have had (savored) a taste of belief (‘irnan): He who worships Allah alone, and [believes] that there is no god but Him; he who good-heartedly offers the zakat on his property which will repay him every year; and he who does not offer a very old sheep, a mangy sheep, a sick sheep, a mean and low sheep, or a ewe which produces only a small amount of milk. You should offer one from the average. Verily, Allah asks you to offer neither the best nor the worst.” [It was related by Abu Dawud and at-Tabarani with a good transmission].


Taken with slight modifications from Fiqh-us-Sunnah by As-Sayyid Sabiq

Zakat on Rented Land?

Based on one view, zakat is obligated on land and its output when land is rented to the farmer for a given amount of money or any commodity. It (the 10% or 5%) becomes due from the owner, according to Abu Hanifah. He argues that zakat, though usually collected from the output, is, in fact, a levy on the land. In renting, the land remains owned by the owner and not by the user, and since zakat is a charge on the land, similar to kharaj (a type of individual Islamic tax on agricultural land), it is the owner’s responsibility to pay it. Renting is like farming, a sort of increase in the land, and out of this increase zakat is paid [Refers Al-Mughni and Fathul Qadir] While, from another view, which the opinion of the majority is that zakat is changed to the renter on the grounds that zakat is a levy on the output and not on the land. Consequently, the owner of the output is responsible for zakat. It becomes obvious to us, along with Ibn Rushd, that there is a difference in the concept of zakat.

There are several records that narrating people that rent a land to others, and this activity is allowed in Islam.

Jabir narrated:
The people used to rent their land for cultivation for one-third, one-fourth or half its yield. The Prophet said, “Whoever has land should cultivate it himself or give it to his (Muslim) brother gratis; otherwise keep it uncultivated.” Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever has land should cultivate it himself or give it to his (Muslim) brother gratis; otherwise he should keep it uncultivated.” [Refer Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no. 2340]

Nafi` narrated:
Ibn `Umar used to rent his farms in the time of Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, and in the early days of Muawiya. Then he was told the narration of Rafi` ‘bin Khadij that the Prophet (ﷺ) had forbidden the renting of farms. Ibn `Umar went to Rafi` and I accompanied him. He asked Rafi` who replied that the Prophet had forbidden the renting of farms. Ibn `Umar said, “You know that we used to rent our farms in the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) for the yield of the banks of the water streams (rivers) and for certain amount of figs. [Refer Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no. 2343 – 2344]

Hanzla bin Qais narrated:
Rafi` bin Khadij said, “My two uncles told me that they (i.e. the companions of the Prophet) used to rent the land in the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) for the yield on the banks of water streams (rivers) or for a portion of the yield stipulated by the owner of the land. The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade it.” I said to Rafi`, “What about renting the land for Dinars and Dirhams?” He replied, “There is no harm in renting for Dinars- Dirhams. Al-Laith said, “If those who have discernment for distinguishing what is legal from what is illegal looked into what has been forbidden concerning this matter they would not permit it, for it is surrounded with dangers.” [Refer Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no. 2346 – 2347]

The Prophet did not stop or prevent this activity. However, when land mas limited and the Ansar and Muhajirin were in great number, as a practical measure, he ordered land cultivated as much as possible. He did not want the land used on a produce – share basis (or muzara’a), but used on ijara (rent), because ijara provided ease for the tenants. Afterwards, when lands were plentiful, this restriction was lifted [Refer Subul us-Salam: 3/169]

Based on one view, zakat is obligated on land and its output when land is rented to the farmer for a given amount of money or any commodity. It (the 10% or 5%) becomes due from the owner, according to Abu Hanifah. He argues that zakat, though usually collected from the output, is, in fact, a levy on the land. In renting, the land remains owned by the owner and not by the user, and since zakat is a charge on the land, similar to kharaj (a type of individual Islamic tax on agricultural land), it is the owner’s responsibility to pay it. Renting is like farming, a sort of increase in the land, and out of this increase zakat is paid [Refers Al-Mughni and Fathul Qadir]

While, from another view, which the opinion of the majority is that zakat is changed to the renter on the grounds that zakat is a levy on the output and not on the land. Consequently, the owner of the output is responsible for zakat. It becomes obvious to us, along with Ibn Rushd, that there is a difference in the concept of zakat.

Is it on the land or on the output, or maybe on both? There doesn’t appear to be any consensus that zakat could be on both land and output together, although this appears to be the fact of the matter.

When the owner is the same as the farmer, the problem does not exist, but when the owner and farmer are not the same people, the majority argues that since zakat is paid on the output, it is a responsibility of the person who owns the output. Abu Hanifah, conversely, refers to the basis of zakat being on the growth of land itself [Refer Budahatul Mujtahid 1/239]

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Justice requires that both parties share in the payment of zakat. Neither should be allowed to avoid it, while the whole burden is unjustly thrown on the other. Ibn Rush is wise enough to realize that zakat is in fact on the land and its output together.

The best view is, the farmer who pays rent should be allowed to deduct the rent along with other expenses and debt from the output and pay zakat on the residual if it reaches nisab. While the owner must be required to pay zakat on his share of the increase [value] of the land, which in this case, is the total rent he or she receives if it reaches nisab. Payment is calculated according to the rate that applies to the output itself, i.e. 10% or 5%. The owner is definitely permitted to deduct any expenditure paid on the rental property that might be involved, such as property taxes along with expenditures and debts [Refer Fiqh Az-Zakah 1/408]

References:
Zakah According to the Quran & Sunnah: A Comprehensive Study of Zakah in Modern Perspective (2011), by Professor Muhammad Zulfiqar.