Giving Zakah on Trade Commodities in Kind or in Cash is Permissible

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling on giving the Zakah of perfumes as perfumes, and how should their value be assessed? And is it permissible to consult an expert to that end?

From an Islamic perspective, Zakah(Obligatory charity) was legislated to help the vulnerable groups of society, such as the poor and needy, where it is taken from the rich and given to the deserving recipients mentioned in the Noble Quran/ Surat At-Tawbah. In this regard, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said to Mu`adh when he sent him to Yemen, "You will go to the people of the Scripture. So, when you reach there, invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Apostle. And if they obey you in that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in each day and night. And if they obey you in that tell them that Allah has made it obligatory on them to pay the Zakat which will be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor among them. If they obey you in that, then avoid taking the best of their possessions, and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah."{Related by Bukhari & Muslim}.

All Muslims are obliged to pay Zakah on all types of wealth: gold, silver, currency, cattle, what comes out of land and trade commodities. The Zakah due on each type should be given from theat same type except trade commodities which, according to the majority of the Muslim scholars, should be given in cash. However, Hanafie scholars have allowed paying that Zakah either in kind or in cash." According to our school of thought(Hanafie), Zakah on trade commodities can be given either in kind or in cash."{Al-Enaiah Shareh Al-Hidaya, 2/191-192}.

In conclusion, Zakah on trade commodities can be given either in kind or in cash so long as it benefits the poor and meets their need since this is the purpose for which Zakah was legislated in the first place. However, if that purpose wasn`t met, then giving that Zakah is pointless. Therefore, if the Zakah due on the above perfumes was given as perfumes, and they were beneficial to the poor, then that is permissible; otherwise, it isn`t.
As regards assessing the value of those perfumes, in principle, it should be done by experts in that field and based on the whole sale market price. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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