A man accumulated salaries that reached 4,500 Dirhams. The Nisaab of Zakaah last year was 3,800 and he paid Zakaah according to this Nisaab. This year, the Nisaab reached 5,500 and it was declared on the first day of Al-Muharram. If we consider this Nisaab, then there is no Zakaah due from him. The question is: Which of the two is the Nisaab that should be adopted by the owner of the money? Should he consider with which Nisaab did the passage of an entire lunar year coincide, that is to say, before or after declaring the new Nisaab? Or, should he always consider the new Nisaab, although throughout the year in which he collected his money the Nisaab was 3,800?
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, is His slave and messenger.
The Nisaab of Zakah is constant and does not change. It is five Uqiyas of silver, that is to say what equals about five-hundred and ninety-five grams of pure silver or twenty dinars of gold, that is to say about eighty-five grams of pure gold. The Nisaab of cash is the least of these two Nisaabs (i.e. that of gold and that of silver) because this is safer in terms of clearing liability, better for the poor and because scholars stated that the Nisaab of trade commodities is the least of the two. If this cash is not gold or silver, it is treated like trade commodities. As previously mentioned, the Nisaab of trade commodities is assessed by what is better for the poor. Ibn Qudaaamah said: “If a lunar year elapses on commodities while their value reaches the Nisaab of silver but not that of gold, one should assess them by silver for the poor to attain a share thereof. If their value reaches the Nisaab of gold but not that of silver, one should assess them according to gold for Zakah to be obligatory upon them.”
Therefore, if the value of cash reaches the Nisaab at the beginning of the lunar year, then its value became less than the Nisaab during it. No Zakah should be paid for it because the owner no longer owns the Nisaab upon which Zakah is obligatory. If he owns cash or commodities that reach the Nisaab by adding them to what he already owns, he should start counting a new year. The same applies if their value increases till it reaches the Nisaab, he should start a new year as in the case of commodities. Ibn Qudaamah said: “If one possesses commodities whose value is less than the Nisaab and half a year elapsed in this state, then these commodities developed, the prices changed so they reached the Nisaab, he sold them for a sum that reaches the Nisaab or he owned during that year other commodities or prices that completed the Nisaab, he should start counting the lunar year from that time and he should not count the previous period. If one owns commodities that reach the Nisaab but they decreased during the year and then increased to reach the Nisaab once more, he should start counting a new year because the year was interrupted as it decreased during it.” [Quoted with slight modification]
If a year elapses while he owns the Nisaab or more, he should pay Zakah for the portion on which a lunar year elapsed except the money earned as profit from trade as Zakah is paid for it with its origin even if a lunar year did not elapse on it.
Allaah Knows best.
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