Conditions of Zakaat
Scholars have established specific conditions or requirements for Zakat to be incumbent on the individual. Some of these conditions are related to the person that pays the Zakat and others to the property itself.
Zakah is only incumbent on Muslims. This is because it is one of the pillars of Islam. Allah says, “Take from their wealth a sadaqah in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them.” [9:103]
This verse is addressing Muslims and not the disbelievers, for the latter are not entitled to purification and sanctification. Furthermore, Muslims are the ones in need of purification. This shows that zakah is not mandatory upon the disbelievers and it is not to be collected from them unless they embrace Islam. In the above hadeeth, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wasallam, asked Mu’adh to tell those who believed and established salah of their obligation of zakah. This also shows that zakah is not incumbent on the non-Muslim. However, the non-Muslims will be questioned about it in the hereafter because they are commanded to follow the Shari’ah, it’s principle and branches.
Takleef (Legal Competency for Obligation)
Some scholars have placed the conditions of buloogh (reaching the age of puberty) and sanity (intellectual and emotional stability) for the mandate of zakah. They said that, “zakah is not mandatory on the wealth of those who are not mukallaf (competent persons obligated to observe the precepts of religion).” This is so because zakah is an act of worship and acts of worship require intention. However, these people cannot have any intention considered confident or reliable. Other acts of worship such as salah, fasting and hajj are also not required from them.
The validity of zakah depends upon the expression of one’s intention. The one paying the zakah should pay it to its recipients, believing that it is an obligation to be incumbent on the individual. the zakah and others to the property itself: to be discharged. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, said, “The value of one’s deeds is determined by one’s intentions.” Zakah is an act of worship. Therefore, it should be associated with intention.
Complete possession of wealth
The real owner of the wealth is Allah and Allah has, out of His Grace and Generosity, granted man succession to it. He has entrusted man with it so that man can use it and dispose of it according to the Law of the Real Owner. Allah says, “And give them something out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you.” [24:3] He also says, “Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees.” [57:7]
The meaning of complete possession of wealth, in this instance, is that the wealth is within the hands of a particular person and that such wealth is free from any rights by others. This person has the right to dispose of and use the wealth as he wills. He must have the possibility of benefiting from his possession and must be personally designated. Two important concerns should be noted regarding this condition:
The money is designated to its owners. This meaning is indicated in many verses in the Qur’an among which are the following: “Take from their wealth a sadaqah …” [9:103] and “And those in whose wealth there is a known right for the needy who ask, and for those who are deprived (of wealth).” [70:24-25) This designation suggests possession. They may use and dispose of their wealth, as they will.
Zakah is to give possession of the wealth to its recipients. In order to do so, the person should possess the wealth. How can a person give away money to others that does not belong to him? There are also other circumstances and conditions under which, a person’s wealth or a portion thereof, is not liable for zakah.