How Much is Zakah?
To determine how much the Zakah is due we need to determine upon what it is due, and the rates involved. Zakah is obligatory upon every Muslim male or female, irrespective of age, in possession of wealth in excess of a Nisab, mimimum, level of wealth, which they have had in their possession for 1 full lunar year. When someone has wealth less than the Nisab level, then Zakah is not due on that person; if they have more than the Nisab level of wealth then Zakat is obligatory on them.
The Nisab level of wealth is the equivilant of 613.35 grams of silver, or 87.49 grams of gold or their equivalent in currency value. Different Madhabs, Schools of Thought, may have different preferences on whether to use gold or Silver in determining the Nisab level, either view is Islamically valid. The Nisab level set using silver is normally less than that using gold, due to the prices of the metals themselves, and it must be remembered that the prices for silver and gold does fluctuate depending upon the market at any point in time. Zakat is generally charged at 2.5% of the value of the wealth of a person, held for 1 lunar year.
The rate of Zakah on gold and silver is 2.5%: Narrated from Anas (رضي الله عنه) that Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) wrote to him this document when he sent him to Bahrain: “This is the obligatory charity that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) enjoined upon the Muslims and that Allah enjoined upon His Messenger:… for silver, one quarter of one tenth.” [Al-Bukhaari (1454)]
It was narrated from ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If you have two hundred dirhams and one full year has passed, then five dirhams are due on them. You do not have to pay anything - i.e. on gold -- unless you have twenty dinars; if you have twenty dinars and one full year has passed, then half a dinar is due on them, and if the number increases then work it out on this basis.” [Abu Dawood (1572), Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood]
It is narrated from Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Aa’ishah (رضی اللہ عنھم) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to take from every twenty dinars or more, half a dinar, and from forty dinars, one dinar. [Ibn Maajah (1791), Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah].
Although within the West we use the solar calender, it is fairly easy to accomodate the lunar calendar by simply paying the Zakah during Ramadan and a lot of people choose Ramadan to pay Zakah or generously give Sadaqah, general charity. It is the month of fasting practices by all Muslims everywhere at the same time. Ramadan is also a blessed month and in Ramadan the blessings and the rewards for all good deeds are far greater than in any other month.