Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. What is the actual nisab amount? When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) mentioned zakat, he gave an amount of gold and its equivalence in silver, but because of inflation, the amount in cash value is drastically different, so what do we follow? If I annually pay my zakat in September but was late in paying, and now it is December, do I recalculate the amount or pay what I had to in September?
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.
The value of the zakat nisab fluctuates with the value of gold. You can get an up to date value on our zakat calculator in the currency you use.
Using the Gold Standard
In the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the value of the zakatable amount of gold and silver were the same. Afterwards, they changed, and now there is a huge difference between the two.
The fuqaha’ state that zakat should be calculated with whichever standard is most beneficial to the poor. Therefore, people who live in countries that have a relatively stronger economy should use gold. This is because someone with a couple of hundred pounds above their essential needs is not really wealthy – and zakat is for the wealthy.
In poorer economies, it might be practical to use silver as the standard. [Maydani, al-Lubab]
Making Up Missed Zakat
If you are making up missed zakat, you would calculate what the amount you owed was on the day it became obligatory for you to pay it, and then pay that amount. So, you would pay what you owed in September.
May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani