2UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH TAX REVIEW[Vol. 7:XX
(C.E. Bosworth ed., 2004) (“The obligatory payment by Muslimsof a determinate portion of specified categories of their lawful property for the benefit of the poor and other enumerated classes or, as generally in Quranic usage, the portion of property so paid.”).3.J
92 (1988) (“This is not regarded as charity, sinceit is not really voluntary but instead is owed, by those who have received their wealth as a trust from God’s bounty, to the poor.”).4.1 M
ISTORY IN A
97, 98 (1985).5.
at 98, 287.6.E
note 2, at 411:Zakat is due on property only if a minimum quantity is held, e.g. five camels. The zakat payableincreases with the amount of property held, and where, as in the case of livestock, such increasesin the property subject to zakat are not pro-rata, but set at discrete increments, each of theseincrements represents a further nisab, with eleven such nusub [pl. of nisab] in the most complexcase, that of camels. The amount of property below the first nisab and between each subsequentnisab is termed waks/wakas. It is generally held that no zakat is due on the waks between the nusub. . . . Thus the one sheep or goat due on nine camels (the second nisab being ten) is in fact due ononly five, the four additional camels being waks, and should four of the nine perish after zakat isdue, there will be no proportionate reduction in the amount of zakat to be paid.
20 (Monzer Kahf, ed., 1997) (“The amount of nisab must be over and above what is required to satisfy basic needs and to pay immediately due debts.”).8.
at 19–20.9.Timur Kuran,
The Provision of Public Goods Under Islamic Law: Origins, Impact, and Limitations of the Waqf System
, 35 L
. 841, 845–46 (2001).
within Islam. It is the Third Pillar of Islam and is a requirement for all
In the early development of the Islamic community, zakat was collectedas a tax by the state, and the funds were distributed to defined needy groups.
Unlike some earlier vehicles for wealth redistribution (such as the Year of Jubilee in the Jewish Torah), this proto-tax and welfare system was not merelyaspirational; it was legally enforced using the power of the state. Two
innovations make zakat relevant for modern legal scholars. The firstinnovation was a progressive element in the calculation. A base amount of wealth and income was exempt from taxation (
). This amount was
presumed to meet basic living expenses. The second innovation was the
taxation of the most common form of income in a largely agrarian society(crops and livestock) along with a tax on gross wealth which was not activelyinvested (cash, precious metals, etc.). Muslim communities mobilized vast
zakat resources to meet the needs of the poor, complemented by the growth of
(the plural form of
, a form of trust or endowment).
Although many insights related to zakat will only have application within predominantly Muslim jurisdictions, the traditional jurisprudence and the