One of the other important economical responsibilities of the Muslims, is the paying of zakat.
As for the importance of zakat, it is enough for us to mention that in the Glorious Qur'an, after the mentioning of Salat, zakat is mentioned and it is counted as one of the signs of faith and righteous actions.
In countless hadith from the Masumin ('a), it has been narrated that: "Someone who does not pay the zakat, is out from the religion."
Zakat, just like khums, has its own specific instances.One part of the zakat is a tax or custom on the body and life, such that once a year, for those people who have the ability to pay this tax (from the view point of property), it becomes wajib on them on the day of 'Eid al ـ Fitr. The rules related to this type of zakat were explained at the end in the section of fasting.
The other division of zakat is the zakat on wealth, but it is not that this is necessary or included on all the property of a person, rather zakat is only wajib on nine things.
ISSUE 385: The things that zakat is wajib to be paid on are the following:
Wheat, barley, dates, raisins, camels, cows, goats, gold and silver, and properties of the traders (business goods), with the conditions that have been explained in the Taudhihul Masa'il.
ISSUE 386: Zakat becomes wajib in the event that the object that zakat must be paid on, reaches a certain quantity. These amounts have been given in the following table:
The Rules of Zakat
ISSUE 387: If for the complete year, the animals graze from the grass of the wilderness, zakat will become wajib on these animals. Therefore, if during the year, or for a part of the year, the grass is plucked or picked or that which is cultivated is eaten, then zakat will not be paid on these animals.
ISSUE 388: The zakat of gold and silver becomes wajib in the event that the amount reaches one sikke ـ that which one can do business with. Therefore, because of this, the amount that women possess these days and use, does not have any zakat liable on it.
ISSUE 389: Paying the zakat is one of the acts of worship and must be given with the intention of zakat and with the niyyat of being paid for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and in compliance with his rule.
The Disposal of Zakat
ISSUE 390: There are eight ways that the zakat can be disposed of; and one can dispose of one's zakat in all or some of these ways. The following are some of the places that zakat can be disposed:
It can be given to the poor and destitute.
It can be given to an indebted person who is unable to repay his debt.
It can be given to those non ـ Muslims who if zakat is given to them, they may become inclined to Islam or they may help Muslims in the time of war.
It may be spent in the way of Allah; meaning, in those things that have a common benefit for the Muslims ـ for example, building a well, bridge or masjid25.
25 For more information on the disposal of zakat, one can refer to the Taudhiul Masail, rule numder 1953.
The Rules of Buying and Selling
ISSUE 391: It is recommended that the person who is involved in trading, learn the rules of buying and selling that he will commonly have a need for.
ISSUE 392: Buying and selling, watching over, writing, reading and teaching those books that can lead people astray is haram; unless it is done for a good reason, such as to answer or reply questions raised in these books.
ISSUE 393: Selling a product that has been mixed with something else, in the event that it becomes unclear what the product is, and if the seller of the product does not inform the purchaser, then it is haram. For example, ghee that has been mixed with fat and then sold (such an action is called Ghash).
ISSUE 394: In transactions, the exact product that is being bought and sold must be specified, but it is not necessary to mention the specifics such that if stated or not, would have an affect on the desire or inclination of the people in relation to that product.
ISSUE 395: In the buying and selling of two things which are of the same type ـ which are sold by weight or quantity ـ if more is sold, it is called riba and is haram; for example, one gives one tonne of wheat, and in return, takes 1.2 tonnes.
ISSUE 396: It is mustahab that the person selling does not make a difference in the price between the people buying from him ـ unless it is because one is a poor person or someone like this ـ and also one should not be firm in one's price, and if one wishes to cancel the transaction, one should agree to this.
ISSUE 397: Taking an oath during transactions if that which is said is true, is makruh; and if it is a lie, then it is haram.
Breaking or Cancelling a Transaction
ISSUE 398: In some instances, the seller or buyer is able to cancel the transaction and some of these instances include:
The buyer or the seller have been cheated.
If at the time of the transaction, it had been specified that for a specific period of time, both parties, or even one of the two parties is allowed to cancel the transaction. For example, at the time of buying and selling it is stated that if either person is worried or has anxiety (over the transaction), then for three days (once the deal is made) one is able to break the contract.
The seller and the buyer have not separated from each other, even if they have left the place of the transaction.
The object that had been bought was defective, and after the transaction, it was noticed.
The seller explained the item to the person buying the product, who himself did not see the product's specialities, and later on it was noticed that it was not as the seller had explained it to be; for example, it was said to the buyer that this notebook has 200 pages, and later it was found to have less than this amount.
ISSUE 399: If after a transaction, one notices a defect in the product and right away does not break the deal, rather delays in this, then later on one does not have the right to break the transaction.
Giving a loan is one of the mustahab acts that has been highly emphasized in the Qur'an and Ahadith, and on the Day of Judgment, the one who had given a loan, will receive a great reward from Allah (SWT).
The Divisions of Giving a Loan
1. Durational Loan: At the time of giving the loan, it had been specified when the loan will be paid back.
2. Non ـ Durational Loan : The time when the loan will be paid back is not specified.
The Rules of Giving a Loan
ISSUE 400: If the loan is given with a specific period of time stated, and the person giving the loan specifies when it will be paid back, or both parties come to an agreement, then the person who gave the load can not request the loan back before the time period agreed upon.
ISSUE 401: If the loan is given without a specific period of time (when it will be paid back), then the person who had given the loan can ask for it back anytime.
ISSUE 402: If the person who gave the loan requests for the loan to be paid back, then in the event that the person who had taken the loan is able to pay it back, he must pay it back right away, and if he delays in its payment, he has committed a sin.
ISSUE 403: If the person giving the loan makes a condition that after a period of time, for example after one year, he will take back more (than that which was given), or he will provide some service for him, this is riba (interest) and it is haram. For example, one gives 100,000 tuman (approximately $200.00USD) as a loan and makes the condition that after one year, one will take back 120,000 tuman (approximately S240.00USD).
ISSUE 404: If the person giving the loan does not make the condition that he will take more back, but the person who had taken the loan himself gives more back, this is no problem, and rather, this action is mustahab.
Custody or Trust
If someone gives his property to another person, and tells him that it is deposited as a trust, and the latter accepts it, they both must abide by the following rules.
The Rules Regarding Custody or Trust
ISSUE 405: If someone will not be able to look after a deposited thing, and the person making the deposit is unaware of this, then the person must not accept the (responsibility) of the deposit.
ISSUE 406: Someone who deposits something as a trust, whenever he wants to take it back, he is able to; and the person who accepted to look after the thing, whenever he wishes to give it back to its owner, he too is able to do this.
ISSUE 407: Someone who accepts to look after something, if he does not have a safe and suitable place to keep the item, he must prepare one.
ISSUE 408: The person taking care of the trust must look after the item in such a way that the people would not say that he is being disloyal, or that in the protection of the item, he has fallen short in looking after it.
ISSUE 409: In the event that the trust of a person is lost:
1. If the person looking after the trust did not pay attention in taking care of the trust, he must give or repay the owner for that which was lost.
2. If in the taking care of the trust, one was not negligent, and for other reasons that property got lost; for example, a wind took the item away, then the person who was the caretaker of the item, will not be responsible to pay it back to the owner.
ISSUE 410: The person taking care of a property is not allowed to use the item, except with the permission of its owner.
Lending and Borrowing
Lending of something is that someone gives his own property to another person so that he may make use of it, and in exchange, one gets nothing back; for example, a person gives his bike to another person, so that the person may go to his house and return.
ISSUE 411: Someone who lends something to another person can take it back whenever he wants to, and the person who has borrowed the item can give it back to its owner whenever he wishes to.
ISSUE 412: If that which was lent out becomes lost or damaged, then in the event that in the protection of the item, care was shown, or in its use, excessive care was shown, one is not responsible (for the item). But if one was neglient in taking care of the item, or in its use, excessive care was not shown, then compensation must be paid (to the owner).
ISSUE 413: If it was previously specified that for whatever reason, the person borrowing the property would be responsible for it, then one must repay it (if anything happens to that property).
Items that are Found
ISSUE 414: If someone finds something but does not take it, then no special responsibilities fall upon him.
ISSUE 415: If something other than an animal is found, then the following rules will apply:
If the item does not have any special signs which would help in finding its owner, then one is able to take it for ones self, but according to Ihtiyat Mustahab, one should give it away as sadaqa on behalf of the owner.
If there are special signs on it, and its worth is less than 12.6 chickpeas of coined silver26, and the owner is not known, then according to Ihtiyat Wajib, it must be given away as sadaqa on behalf of the owner, and anytime the owner is found, then if he is not happy with his property having been given away as sadaqa, one mast give the owner the replacement (of that which was given in sadaqa)
If the value of the item is not less than 12.6 chickpeas of coined silver (as was explained in the footnote 26) and it has some special signs on it that would enable one to identify the owner, then for the first week, an announcement must be made every day, and every week after that, it must be announced once per week, then if in the event that after one year of announcing, the owner still is not found, one is able to keep it for the owner so that whenever he is found, the item can be given back to him, or it can be given as sadaqa to the poor in the name of the owner, and the Ihtiyat Wajib is that one does not keep it for ones self.
Losing one's Shoes
ISSUE 416: If someone's shoes are taken, and in their place, another pair of shoes are left, then in the event that one knows that the shoes that are remaining are the property of the person who took his shoes, and this person will be content that the person (whose shoes were taken) takes his shoes in place of the stolen shoes, he can take these shoes in substitute for his own shoes (that were taken). However, if he knows that his shoes were taken unjustly or without right, and if the value of the shoes that are left behind are not more than the value if his own shoes, he can take them in place of his own shoes.
26 This amount of silver is approximately 2.52 grams, and at the time this book was being translated, the morth is approximately 300 tuman, or $0.60 US.
Usurpation is that a person, without permission, and by oppression, takes possession of the property of another person.
Usurpation is one of the major sins, and on the Day of Judgment, the person who had committed usurpation will face a great punishment.
ISSUE 417: If a person usurps something, not only has he committed a haram act, but he must return that property to its owner, and if he loses that thing, he must repay that what was lost.
ISSUE 418: If the thing that was usurped becomes spoiled, one must give the equal value of that item.
ISSUE 419: If that thing that was usurped changes, so that it is better than it was in the beginning, for example, a bike is repaired, if the owner of that property says that it was in such and such way, he must give it to him, and one is not allowed to take money for the trouble that one had gone through, and one does not have the right to change the thing to how it was in the beginning.
Eating and Drinking
Allah the Almighty has made the beautiful nature and all animals and fruits and greeny at the disposal of mankind for his own use, so that he is able to use these things for eating and drinking, and covering himself, to build his shelter, and other necessities, but for the protection of man's life, and for the security of his body and soul, and for those to come after him, and to protect the rights of others, laws and regulations have been laid down, of which, some will be explained in this chapter that relate to eating and drinking.
ISSUE 420: Eating those things which cause death and which are a harm to a person, are haram.
ISSUE 421: Eating and drinking those things which are najis are haram.
ISSUE 422: Eating dirt is haram.
ISSUE 423: Eating a very small amount of the dust from the grave of Sayyid ash ـ Shohada ('a) for shafa' (intercession) from a sickness is not a problem.
ISSUE 424: It is wajib for every Muslim to give those Muslims who are close to him, who may die from hunger or thirst, bread and water so as to save them from death.
The Etiquettes of Eating
ISSUE 425: The following actions, which are related to eating food, are mustahab:
1. Washing the hands before and after eating.
2. Saying (بسم الله) when starting to eat, and saying (الحمد الله) when one is finished eating.
3. Eating with the right hand.
4. Eating small bites of food.
5. Chewing the food properly.
6. Washing the fruit before eating it.
7. If many people are sitting at the dinner table, whatever food is front of each person, that person should start with it.
8. The host should start eating before all others, and should finish after all others.
ISSUE 426: The following actions, which are related to eating food, are makruh:
1. Eating food even though one is full.
2. Eating to one's fill (eating too much food).
3. Looking at the faces of others while eating.
4. Eating hot food.
5. Blowing over hot food.
6. Cutting the bread with a knife.
7. Placing the bread under the dishes.
8. Throwing away fruit before it has been completely eaten.
The Etiquettes of Drinking Water
ISSUE 427: The following actions, related to drinking water, are mustahab:
1. In the daytime, standing while drinking water.
2. Before drinking water, saying (بسم الله) and saying (الحمد الله) when one is finished drinking.
3.Drinking water in three sips.
4. After drinking water, remembering Hadhrat Imam Hussayn ('a), his family, and his companions, and cursing their killers.
ISSUE 428: The following actions, related to drinking water, are makruh:
1. Drinking too much.
2. Drinking water after eating fatty foods.
3. Drinking with the left hand.
4. In the evening, drinking while standing.