Zakat on Mango Orchards
Q. Kindly clarify, we are fruit commission agents. Our major business is Mango fruit. We give huge advance to the Mango orchards owners and have an understanding to sell their crop through our Mandi.
We also take orchards on lease for a certain number of years by paying a lumpsum amount to the owner. Do we have to pay Zakat on the Mangoes? If yes, then whether on the total quantity of Mangoes or on the sale proceed.
We also sometimes fix up a deal with the owners of orchards on seeing the flowers of the fruit and take the orchard for that season on paying the lumpsum. Do we have to pay Zakat on the total quantity of fruit or the owner has to pay?
A. Your Zakat is to be compounded from two computations depending upon different modes of your business. The Zakat from your commission business is not to be charged on the income but on capital investment at the rate of 2.5% while the Zakat for the orchards you acquire on lease is an 'Ushr' (10%) of the produce you achieve.
For the simplicity of calculation, it is advisable for you to pay your total annual Zakat in the mangoes season. Add up your Zakat dues calculated separately for different modes of the business at the conclusion of each mango season, in the following manner:
1. On Commission Agency :
Assess the value of your business assets including cash, stocks, precious metals if any and those credits which you expect to get back in normal course. (there is no Zakat on bad debts or those credits which are not recoverable within the promised or normal time stipulation. You start counting them only after their recovery). Add up the above, subtract from this your dues and liabilities including both the business and personal dues. Calculate the Zakat at the rate of 2.5%, on the net assets so arrived. There is no Zakat on the income of your business unless it is used to increase the business assets which will be assessed in the subsequent year for the purpose. The rule is that Zakat is charged on wealth and not on income. Qur'an ordains:
"Take alms of their wealth wherewith you purify them and may make
them grow and pray for them........." (9:103)
2. On Orchards on Lease : The rule for the payment of Zakat on crops or fruits is different and is derived from the following verses of Qur'an:
"....And (spend) of that which we bring forth from the earth
for you... " (2:267).
".........Eat of the fruit thereof when it fruits and pay the due
thereof upon the harvest day ....." (6:141).
From the above, we find that Zakat of the crop is due on the day it is harvested. The crops of grains and dry fruits etc, are not perishable and can be stored. But mangoes are perishable and all the fruit of the orchards is not collected at one time as all of it is not ripe or pluckable at the same time. Only a part of the mangoes is pluckable at a time. It is collected and sold before the next batch is ripe and plucked. The harvest day for the mangoes will therefore be the day when the last of them arrive from the orchard. Till then the bulk of it is already sold in the market. Besides, the quality of the whole lot of an orchard is not the same. For the above reasons, it is reasonable to pay Zakat on the sale proceeds although for crops, it is recommended to be paid in terms of quantity of the crop. The gist of the order can be followed by paying vide the same percentage on each sale, which was recommended as percent of quantity of the total crop. The quantity of Zakat on crops was fixed by the Prophet (Pbuh) thus:
"Zakat is one tenth (10%) of that crop which is irrigated by rain water or
streams or floods and one twentieth (5%) of that irrigated by man-made
facilities." (Bukhari, Tirmizi, Abu-Dawood, Nisai, Ibne-Maja)
It is evident that actual Zakat is 10% of the crop. The half concession was in lieu of very high expenses of irrigation in desert lands. Nowadays there are fertilisers and pesticide sprays etc, in addition to tubewells or other irrigation facilities. As all these expenses can be estimated, there is no need for a lumpsum concession. The proper method would be to deduct the expenses of irrigation, fertilisers, pesticides etc and labour expenses first and then take out 10% as Zakat. It is also decreed by a large number of scholars on the strength of a Hadith that a part of the total fruit which is used for consumption of family members and friends, before it is sold, is also exempt from Zakat.
And now comes the all important part of discussion pertaining to the orchards on lease.
Imam Abu Hanifa says that 10% Zakat is payable by the owner of the field (or orchard) as the Ush'r (1/10th) is related to the land which produces.
Almost all the other Fuqaha opine that it is due on the person who takes on lease, as in their view the Ush'r pertains to the actual produce and not the land. When the owner of the land does not own the produce, they say, how can he take out the 1/10th?
The reality lies, infact, between the above two. The Ush'r is to be shared by both the leaser and the leased. Ibne Rush'd Usuf Al Qardhavi and many other scholars have divided the responsibility between the two as follows.
The amount of rent or lease is to be considered an expense. Add to it other expenses incurred and the equivalent quantity of fruit is exempted. Exempt also the personal consumption of family members and friends before 10% Zakat is computed. The orchard owner on his part, pays 10% on his lease income after deducting property tax or other taxes and his personal debts, if any, from this income
The above seems to be the most balanced opinion and is recommendable. Your Zakat on orchards on lease is therefore calculated in the following manner. On the day of the first sale of such mangoes, deduct all the expenses of lease (for all years) from the sale proceeds. If the expenses exceed the sale, then carry forward the balance of expenses to the subsequent sale and so on. A 10% Zakat is due on the amount of sale which exceeds the expenditure. During the subsequent years, the lease amount will not be deducted as it has already been taken into account in the first year.
3. On the Fruit of a Season :
The Zakat in case of seasonal deals on seeing the flowers will also be calculated in the same manner as above. This kind of deal however is disapproved of by the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) although it is a common practice today.
" Reported Abdullah Bin Umer (R.A) that the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) has forbidden the sale of fruits (on trees) till their maturity is apparent. The forbidding is for both the seller and the buyer." (Bukhari, Muslim)
The proper way is to take on lease, the orchard for the year or season before the appearance of the flowers or to strike a bargain for the produce after the fruit is matured.
Q. Can a Muslim spend from Zakat for paying the school fees and for books for those who cannot afford to pay, medical treatment of the poor, maintenance of schools where almost all the students are from poor Muslim families, meeting marriage expenses, expenses incurred in connection with distributing books and literature conveying message of Islam. kindly clarify these doubts for the benefit of Ummah?
A. There precisely are eight heads for which Zakat is to be given. (1) The poor, (2) The Miskeens (Those white collar needy persons who hide their poverty for self respect), (3) The workers engaged for collection and distribution of Zakat, (4) Whose hearts are to be reconciled (New converts or the potential converts among non-Muslims even though they may not be poor), (5) To free the captives (bonded labour etc), (6) The debtors, (7) For the cause of Allah ( in holy war or for the person who left his home for acquiring religious knowledge, or for travel expenses of a preacher) and (8) The wayfarers. (Qur'an 9:60)
Zakat can be given to the poor and the Miskeens for their studies and medical expenses but you may not pay these expenses directly without their knowledge and consent. In principle, they must own the money given to them as Zakat and pay for their own tuition or medical dues. You may arrange it so with them that with their consent their tuition or medical expenses are paid directly to the concerned institution. Alternatively it may also be permissible that you donate out of the Zakat dues to such a reserve fund of a school or hospital which is exclusively meant for the poor and Miskeen. Those unable to pay the dues must be offered to draw from the funds for the necessary payment after being informed that it is Zakat money.
The Zakat money cannot be given in the building or maintenance fund of a School, Madrasa, Mosque or a Hospital. It is also not permissible to spend the Zakat in purchasing the missionary literature for distribution. However, the books or clothes (uniforms) of needy students can be bought for them with their consent. It can also be given for marriage expenses of poor and Miskeens. In short, any kind of need of the poor and Miskeen may be provided from out of Zakat fund with their knowledge and consent.
It must be mentioned here that one must be careful of Zakat collectors in the name of agents or Safeers of Madrasas, mushrooming through out the country, particularly in the month of Ramadan. The Zakat fund is mis-appropriated by a large number of them in two ways. (1) They force the poor students, after giving it to them, to part with it in favour of Madrasas. They have unashamedly named the trick as Heela-e-Shara'ee (legal trick). (2) They keep a huge cut of the collection for themselves which ranges between 40-50%. True that Qur'an allows the Zakat to the collectors but a self determined percentage is a gross misuse of Zakat fund. It was all right if they worked for a respectable salary but a Rs:2.5 lakh cut from a Rs:5 lakh collection is a mockery of Islamic code beyond imagination.
Q. i). When a living creature dies, does it re-appear in any other shape?
Amanullah, Nimbahera, Rajasthan
Q.ii). I have come across many magazines (e.g. Sarita) in which, cases of rebirth have been published. I remember having read that a department was set up by the government a few years back to verify the cases of rebirth and the department concluded after studying about 700 cases that rebirth did exist. I keep coming across people who affirm re-birth (in this world). Kindly clarify.
Ahmed S., Belgaum.
A.1. We do not have any scientific means yet, to know of what happens to the soul (the living part of a creature) after death. Death is the name of separation of the soul from the material and lifeless body. After the soul is departed, the constituents of the body which are different elementary, mixture and compound forms. They may be utilised in shaping other bodies of different present or future living beings but there is no scientific proof of any soul which was once united with a body, coming back to exist in another body in this material world. The only source of information, we have is the Word of the Creator Himself who created and controls all souls. The latest and the safe and unaltered word of God, the holy Qur'an declares: "Every living being has to taste death. And We test you by evil and by good by way of trial and (then) to US you shall be recalled". (21:35)
In the gospel, the Christ Isa (A.S.) is reported to have announced of the eternal life of bliss or punishment of the souls: "And these (evil ones) shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal." (Mat. 25:46) Vedas are proclaimed as Word of God by Hindus. The Vedic Rishis knew of the only one eternal life of reward or punishment and they taught to pray for the life of bliss: "Make me immortal in that realm where happiness, transports, joys, felicities combine and longing wishes are fulfilled." (R.V. 9:113:11)
There is no truth in a government agency been set up which verified the rebirth. Such tales are spread to authenticate the myth of 'Avagaman'. Although a large number of reported incidents of rebirth are definitely cheating business, the occurrence cannot be altogether denied in the absence of a genuine and authentic study of such reported cases by scientific people. It is a fact that the theory of rebirth in this world (metempsychosis) does not stand before reason. In the ancient most holy books of Hindus, the Vedas, there is no trace of the theory and it is deduced by the researchers that the Pundits invented it to justify their exploitation of masses by telling that they (the Pundits) were prosperous because of good deeds of earlier lives and the deprived need not complain as their suffering was due to their own bad deeds in previous lives
Still the incidence of some children describing their earlier births with the mention of places, people and events unknown to them, is not impossible. To explain the mystery behind this phenomenon, let me analyse the prominent features common to all such cases.
(i) The frequency of such reported occurrences is less than 1-in-10 million births throughout the world. The percentage of genuine cases, if any, amongst these is anybody's guess. So let us assume that genuine cases of birth of such children who describe their past lives with verifiable places and events, are one in a billion.
(ii) Over 90% of this minuscule occurrence is reported from India.
(iii) All such children who narrate the events of their previous lives, forget those events before they reach adolescence. It is as if they were seeing a film which suddenly vanished from their memory screen before they entered into puberty.
Pondering over the above three features gives rise to the following questions:-
(i) A soul is an intelligent entity. After passing one life in this world, when it starts another stint in another body, why does it forget the previous happenings? After all it is the material body of a new born child which is shaped for the first time but the soul was not destroyed and recreated or reborn as a baby. Instead it has the experience of the years of the previous lives (according to the proclaimers of Avagaman) when it enters into a babies body.
(ii) Why it is that only 1-in-billion children remember their past lives while all the other forget? Even those who remember claim to recall a very few events of only the immediately preceding life and not all the past lives they lived.
(iii) Those very few who do claim to recall a few events, forget them after a few years. In other words, only a few immature children before the attainment of adolescence can describe these events. Why do they forget it when they grow? The defenders of the theory say that we all forget most of the events of our childhood. But this logic is not sustainable. Sure, we forget most of the events of our childhood but we all remember with photogenic details all the special and very important events of our childhood. Even the very old men who forget the things they heard or saw a few moments back, recall with minutes details, some important events of their past. When a child starts telling about his previous life, he becomes a celebrity overnight. Thousands of people flock around him and he has to repeat his story an innumerable times. It is an event of his life which he can never forget. He actually does not forget but the visions which he saw in his childhood stop coming to his mind anymore as he grows.
(iv) It is also strange that less than 10% of such cases are reported from the rest of the world other than India, the land of the believers of the transmigration of souls (Avagaman). I have been able to analyse the above phenomenon by comparing it with 'Haaziraat'. Very few people still possess the mystic knowledge of Haaziraat today although until 60s, there were plenty. Through Haaziraat, by looking into a small round shaped black box or over the flame of a 'Deepak' or sometimes on thumbnail tainted black by a Haaziraat expert, a small child of below 7 could tell and disclose many hidden and concealed things. I have myself witnessed Haaziraat performed on many children. My cousin, a couple of years younger to me used to relate unseen events by looking into the black box. For example he once told us the exact location of our expected guests who were delayed. Then he went on describing their features, their attires and their moment by moment location until he declared that they had reached our doorsteps and are about to knock. Exactly at that moment the knocking came and our guests were there wwearing the same clothes which my 6 years old cousin had described and my cousin had never before seen our guests.
It seems a fairy tale today but a number of people from older generation have witnessed 'Haaziraat'. The main feature of Haaziraat was that it could be performed through a child only. The Haaziraat experts could communicate with unseen creatures through the medium of a child. Suffice it to conclude that the devilish powers can sometimes make a willing child their subject and make him see in a vision what is ordinarily hidden from normal eyes. Such devilish powers can, with the help of a Haaziraat expert, disclose to a child's mind the people, their homes and certain events associated with them which the child had no means to know otherwise. As the child grows, they can no more use him as his subject or medium.
Haaziraat experts still exist though a very few can be traced today. Infact I intend to demonstrate, with the help of one Haaziraat expert, in a few public functions the art and its use to unfold the mystery behind the children claiming to describe their past lives.
The near extinction of the possessors of Haaziraat, also explains the diminishing number of children narrating rebirth. It also explains why most of such cases had been appearing in India only.