My experience with Zakat
Till 1998, I used to pay Zakat on approximate calculations of my wealth and savings and a rough weight quoted by my wife. In 1998, a senior lady colleague who was Britisher and new revert married to a Omani came to me to consult on Zakat. She asked whether she needs to pay Zakat on diamonds, whether weight has to be adjusted as per carats and other questions. She mentioned that she took the whole lot of jewelry to a goldsmith to weigh. I gave her whatever clarifications I could. But what really impressed me was her desire to be accurate in her calculations.
Soon after, I started using proper calculation sheets and purchased a balance to weigh the gold. Masha Allah, over the ensuing years, I could see accelerated growth in my investments in the real estate and shares. Believe it or not, my portfolio grew by 100% each year without any serious intervention from my side.
For those who give in Charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit) and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward. Al Mujaadilah: Ayat 13
Since then, I pass on my experience to all my relatives and friends to share in the benefits of protection of our wealth by Allah which is his promise for paying Zakat regularly.
One of the points of view I very much appreciate is that the measure of Zakat at 1/40th (2.5%) of your wealth is the minimum laid down in Shariah. Though this detailed calculation is not mentioned in Quran, Zakat and Salat together have been mentioned many times. But should we not look at the other side of it. Why don’t we exceed this 2.5% and think that there is no maximum of Zakat as long as there are needy and helpless in the world. Zakat, by the way, is besides our Sadaqa, Hadiya, and all other kinds of charity. A Sahih Hadith is quoted below on calculation of Zakat.
Ali ibn Abu Talib reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If you have two hundred coins and a year has passed, then five coins is due for alms; and you will owe nothing until you own twenty coins, but when you own twenty coins and a year has passed, then half of a coin is due for alms and whatever exceeds that should be calculated likewise.”Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 1572
There are many books and much material on the net and everywhere else. An eBook compiled and written by my good friend Arif Jameel is linked below. He has done extensive research and explained things very clearly. As he is still open for suggestions to improve, he has left it as a draft. I find it very reliable and user-friendly. It has a section of FAQ. Jazakallah Arif Jameel.
You can also visit the website www.zakatonomics.com to download the book and a Zakat calculator.
Here are two Zakat calculation sheets. The first one is quite elaborate for an individual with personal as well as business interests. The second one is more applicable to Muslim women who have gold.