Debt may not prevent one from paying Zakah
Fatwa No: 116828

Question

Dear Brothers in Islam Assalam u alaikum i have read many fatwas on Zakaah but could not find answer to my question in any of them, please answer the below question of mine. i have bought a flat by taking a loan from an islamic bank, now i owe the bank about 500,000 Dhs which i have to pay them back in 4 years. i have given the flat on rent from which i am getting an income of 70,000 per year, i am using this income + my salary to pay back the loan to the bank. now my question is that how will i calculate zakaah on my wealth?? lets say that my loan is 500,000 Dhs and i have bank blance of about 100,000 Dhs. what i have read so far is that i have to minus the loan amount from the money i have in hand and than pay zakaah on the balance. but in my situation if i minus the loan from the money i have in hand the balance would come out to be in negetive, so do i not pay zakaah at all till i pay back my loan?? please answer to my question as i am really concerned about this matter. jazakallah khair Faisal Iqbal

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

Debts prevent one from paying Zakah on hidden wealth such as gold, silver, cash money and unhidden wealth such as plants, fruits, cattle and tradable items, whether the debt is due now or delayed to an appointed time on two conditions:

1-    The loan should consume all the money or that the loan decreases the money from the Nisaab, if it does not consume it or does not decrease it from the Nisaab, then it is an obligation to pay Zakah on the remaining money.

2-    The person who is liable for the Zakah does not have other non-Zakatable items (on which he is not obliged to pay Zakah) which he may consider in paying his debts. If he has other items, then he should consider them for debts and pay the Zakah on the money he is obliged to pay Zakah on. What is meant by the items on which he is not obliged to pay Zakah is to have cars, or buildings or goods that are not prepared for trade and which are beyond his necessary needs.

Therefore, if you do not have other items which you may pay your debts with, then you are not obliged to pay Zakah on the money which you have at hand, but if you have other items with which you may pay the debt, or part of it, in a way that what would remain reaches the Nisaab, then you should pay the Zakah on the money which you mentioned in the question. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 87557.

Allaah Knows best.

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