I participated in a real estate fund about 27 months ago. The owner of the fund promised to sell the land in small pieces. He is taking his time since the market price is low. The question is: Do I have to pay Zakaat on the capital although I have not received my money back? If yes, do I have to pay for 1 year or 2 years?
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 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
Whoever owns real estate whether land, property, or otherwise with the intention of trading with it is obliged to pay Zakah [obligatory charity] on them when a complete lunar year elapses on the price at which he bought them if its value has reached the minimum amount liable for Zakah by itself, or with the addition of other money or tradable items he owns. Abu-Daawood reported that Samurah Ibn Jundub said, "The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , would order us to pay Zakah on whatever we prepared for sale.” Therefore, whenever the specified time elapses (in this case, a lunar year) this real-estate (and other wealth) should be valued according to the market value and 2.5% of that is to be paid. In principle, Zakah should be paid every lunar year. However, if you are unable to pay it because you do have not enough money at hand or if you fear a loss of money when you sell the land because of a downturn in the market, then it is permissible to delay the Zakah until you have enough money, or until you sell the land. Then you should pay the Zakah on all previous years by evaluating the value of the land at the end of each lunar year and pay 2.5% Zakah from the total value of the land for every lunar year.
Allaah Knows best.
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