I have 85,000 dollars student loan debt, and also 3000 dollars in credit card debt. I am unemployed with some disabilities and older husband who is retired. Our only income is my husband's Social Security. I pay zakat on the gold jewellery I have. Are we required to pay zakat?
Based on the hanafi position, If you pay Zakah on Gold, then it would indicitae you are above the nisab, therefore you will not be eligible to recieve Zakat.
However Zakat is an indivudual obligation and can be received indivudualy.
You have Gold more than the nisab of the Gold standard so you can't receive the Zakat.
The Student Loan is most likely not due to be paid immediately, so you can't count this as a deduction, but if you are paying a monthly amount towards it, that can be deducted. The Credit Card depends on your intention of paying. If you pay only the minimum amount, then deduct that from your asset in that month. If you are looking to pay the full amount, then pay it all, and see what assets you have remaining. Even then, if you are below the nisab is cash assets, you still have Gold in excess, so you still won't meet Nisab.
Your husband is on Social Seciurity and probably has nothing left after expenses like bills, etc, so its possible that he is eligible. But you must consider any savings he has too. That is counted as an asset.
Zakat is paid under certain conditions:
- The person should be Muslim, adult, sane, free (not a slave).
They must posses a certain minimum amount of extra wealth (called nisab), fully owned by them in excess of personal use (such as clothing, food, shelter, household furniture, utensils, cars, etc).
They should have had this minimum amount in possession for a complete lunar year (hawl).
- The wealth should be of a productive nature, from which they can derive profit or benefit such as merchandise for business, gold, silver, livestock, etc.
- The minimum amount (or Nisab) should not be owed to someone, i.e., it should be free from debt.
so to answer your question, if the debt is too big that ones money(excluding the debt) doesn't reach the "Nisab" then one doesn't pay zakat.
I think having a job might as well be one of the requirements as not having a job is like not having a "productive nature".
If disability is a cause for you to not be able to gain money, then, wallah aalam(and God knows more), I don't think one should pay it, but in the case of someone that makes money even with a disability(say stephen hawking) then I think in that case zakat is a must.
Again old age preventing one to work, wallah aalah, is okay to not pay zakat but otherwise, I'm not so sure.
Remember that the zakat is paying 2.5% only! not more, not less!
According to a paper presented by Ahmad Bello Dogarawa, presented at International Conference on Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities in Ghana organised by the Al-Furqan Foundation.
Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is probably the first pillar of its economic system. It represents the first and most important tool for implementing the economic justice of Islam and provides sustenance to the economically unfortunate, two issues for which Islam is especially sensitive. Zakat is the basis for equitable redistribution of wealth in Islam and the most viable tool for combating poverty and other social and economic ills in an Islamic society. It is an obligation mentioned in the Qur‟an about thirty times, in twenty-eight of which, Zakah is associated with prayers. This obligation is also emphasised in a number of sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
Zakat provides the basis of Islamic social welfare and plays the role of solving dangerous problems such as poverty, unemployment, catastrophes, indebtedness and inequitable income distribution in a Muslim society, both at family, community and state levels.
Given this, I don't think you need to worry about paying Zakat. If anything, given your circumstances you should be receiving Zakat. Given that you live in the West you should see social welfare system as being Zakat, it just happens to be implemented by a Western country. This also suggests that supporting a welfare system in a non-muslim majority country (as well as a muslim majority country) should be seen as a religious duty.