What is the obligatory zakat on liv...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

What is the obligatory zakat on livestock?


A Muslim has got sheep 200 heads, goats 200 heads, & cattle 100 heads ( for over a year now) in his grazing ranch ( natural feeding).

The number of his livestock is growing through breeding. I mean they give birth to lambs, kids &calfs.
Then all the necessary requirements (conditions) for paying Zakat are fulfilled. Will he pay zakat in the form of cash money? Or will he slaughter the animal and give the meat as zakat? Or should he give the alive animal to one person?



In the Shari'ah (Islamic law), zakat on livestock is prescribed as follows:

• Zakat on cattle

For cattle, the minimum on which zakat is due is 30 heads, for which it is obligatory to pay a yearling (i.e. a male calf in its second year (Ar. Tabi'). It is named as such because it follows its mother in pasturage. According to another opinion, it is named Tabi' because its horns equal its ears in size. If the owner gives out a female calf in its second year it fulfills the obligation. Therefore, the owner must give out a Tabi' for each 30 heads. The zakat due on 40 heads is a two-year-old female that has entered its third year (musinna). It is named as such because the number of its teeth is complete.

This is based on the hadith in which Mu'adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) sent me to Yemen and commanded me to take a two-year-old female calf [as zakat]out of each 40 heads and a one-year-old male calf [as zakat] out of each 30 heads." (Recorded by At-Tirmdhi and others).

• Zakat on Sheep (including goats).

For sheep or goats, the minimum on which zakat is payable is 40, on which it is obligatory to pay a six-months-old sheep or a one-year-old goat. The zakat on 121 sheep is 2, on 201 sheep is 3, on 400 sheep is 4, and for every additional 100 the zakat is 1 sheep. This calculation is based on the Prophetic tradition narrated by Anas.

The principle in zakat is that it must be paid from the same type of goods on which it is due. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent Mu'adh to Yemen, he told him, "Take grains from grains, sheep from sheep, camels from camels, and cows from cows" [Reported by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim who declared it authentic).

Hanafi jurists and others maintained the permissibility of paying the equivalent value from wealth other than the same kinds of goods upon which it is due. This is because the original restriction was meant only to facilitate its payment (from goods he already possessed) and not because it is an obligatory in itself.

They based their opinion on the report of Tawus in which he said, "Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) told the people of Yemen, 'Bring me fabric and garments as zakat instead of barley and corn; this is easier for you and better for the Companions of the Prophet in al-Medina" [Reported by Bukhari as a hadith mu'allaq (hanging hadith) and by al-Bayhaqi).

Imam al-Shafi'i (may Allah be pleased with him) said that even though Tawus did not meet Mu`adh, he knew that Mu'adh understood the Prophet's order in light of the general benefit in as much as this facilitated matters for the zakat givers. He therefore refrained from accepting zakat from the same kind of goods possessed by the zakat giver when he realized that the benefit of the people lay elsewhere. This was because the people of Yemen were famous for their textile industry and thus it was easier for them to pay their zakat from the merchandise they produced and because these fabrics were needed by the people of Medina.

Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to do the same. Sa'id Ibn Mansur reported in his Sunan that 'Atta` said, "Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to take trade goods as zakat instead of dirhams [money).

This is the opinion we prefer, since the ultimate objective of zakat is to fulfill the needs of the poor and the needy. As long as the kinds of goods paid as zakat fulfill the needs of the poor and are beneficial to them, they are closer to fulfilling the objective of zakat.

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