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Zakah on Savings for a Particular Purpose

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 1/1/04

Q. I have saved an amount of money earmarked for the payment of my sons examination fees next year, and another amount for my pilgrimage with my wife which we hope to undertake this year. Are these amounts subject to zakah?

S. Shafiullah

A. If you are a zakah payer, which means that you own the nisab, or the threshold of zakah, and hold it from one year to the next, then your savings are liable to zakah. The fact that you have earmarked them for a particular purpose is immaterial, because you still own the money and you can always change your mind about its use.

The only way the fees can be exempt from zakah is that you give it as a gift to your son. If he is not a zakah payer, and the fees, together with his other money, are less than the threshold of zakah, and they are not held from one year to the next, then no zakah is due on them. As for the savings for your pilgrimage, they are also liable to zakah. When you pay your zakah you know that you spend on your pilgrimage only money that has been purified with the payment of zakah.

Voluntary Prayer Before Zuhr

Q. I was told that the Sunnah or voluntary prayer before the obligatory one at zuhr should be offered in two units of 2-rakah each, and not as a single 4-rakah unit. However, in the Hadith collection Riyadh Al-Salihin both options are said to be valid. Please comment.

M.D. Saif

A. The Prophet was keen to demonstrate that worship could be conducted in more than one way so that people could do what suits them. This applies particularly to what is voluntary. Generally speaking, voluntary prayers could be offered in units of two rakahs at any time.

If four rakahs are recommended, these could be offered together, or in pairs. To insist that we must always follow one form betrays a narrow view, which is uncharacteristic of Islamic scholarship.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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