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Is zakaah due on honey?

Does zakaah have to be paid on honey?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Some of the scholars – including Imam Ahmad – are of the view that zakaah is due on honey. They quoted a number of texts as evidence for that, such as the following: 

1 – The report narrated by Ibn Maajah (1824) from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took one-tenth of honey (as zakaah). Al-Albaani said in Saheeh Ibn Maajah: (it is) hasan saheeh. 

2 – It was narrated from Sulaymaan ibn Moosa that Abu Sayyaarah al-Muta’i said: I said, O Messenger of Allaah, I have bees. He said, “Give one-tenth (of their honey).” I said, O Messenger of Allaah, protect it for me. And he protected it for me. Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1823; classed by al-Albaani as hasan li ghayrihi in Saheeh Ibn Maajah

Al-Sindi said in Haashiyat Ibn Maajah

In al-Zawaa’id, Ibn Abi Haatim said, narrating from his father: Sulaymaan ibn Moosa did not meet Abu Sayyaarah, and the hadeeth is mursal. Al-Tirmidhi narrated in al-‘Ilal from al-Bukhaari that this hadeeth is mursal, then he said: Sulaymaan did not meet any of the Sahaabah. End quote. 

3 – Abu Dawood (1600) narrated from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb, from his father, that his grandfather said: Hilaal, one of Banu Mut’aan, came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with one-tenth of the honey from his bees, and he used to ask him to protect a valley for him that was called Salabah, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) protected that valley for him. When ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab became the caliph, Sufyaan ibn Wahb wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asking him about that, and ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) wrote to him saying: “If he gives you what he used to give to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one-tenth of the honey from the bees, then continue to protect Salabah for him, otherwise there is no protection and anyone may take the honey who wants to.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood

That was also narrated from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez (may Allaah have mercy on him), but the most correct view is that no zakaah is due on honey. 

Imam Ahmad was asked: Are you of the view that zakaah is due on honey? He said: Yes, I am of the view that zakaah is due on honey, (at a rate of) one-tenth. ‘Umar took zakaah from them. I said: Were they giving it voluntarily? He said, No, he took it from them. 

See al-Mughni, 4/183-184 

The majority of scholars, including Maalik and al-Shaafa’i, are of the view that there is no zakaah on honey. They classed as da’eef (weak) the reports that were narrated about zakaah being due on it. They interpreted the saheeh reports concerning that as meaning that the one-tenth that was paid was in return for that protection, as is the apparent meaning of the hadeeth narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him). 

Imam al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Chapter on the tithe (one-tenth) of that which is irrigated by rain and flowing water, and ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez did not think that anything was due on honey. 

Al-Haafiz said in Fath al-Baari

Ibn Abi Shaybah and ‘Abd al-Razaaq narrated with a saheeh isnaad going back to Naafi’, the freed slave of ‘Umar, that he said: ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez sent me as governor of Yemen and I wanted to take one-tenth of honey, but Mugheerah ibn Hakeem al-San’aani said: There is nothing due on honey. I wrote to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez and he said: He is right, there is nothing due on honey. And a contrary report was narrated from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez, which was narrated by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq, but its isnaad is da’eef (weak). The first report is more sound. It is as if al-Bukhaari is referring to the weakness of the report, “One-tenth is due on honey.” 

Al-Bukhaari said in his Tareekh: There is no saheeh report about zakaah on honey. 

Al-Tirmidhi said: There is no saheeh report on this matter. 

Al-Shaafa’i said: The hadeeth, “One-tenth is due on honey” is da’eef (weak). 

Ibn al-Mundhir said: There is no proven report concerning honey, nor is there scholarly consensus, so no zakaah is due on it. This is the view of the majority. End quote. 

The words of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), “If he gives you what he used to give to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one-tenth of the honey from the bees, then continue to protect Salabah for him, otherwise there is no protection and anyone may take the honey who wants to.” indicate that what he took from Hilaal was not zakaah, rather it was in return for that protection. 

Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali mentioned in his book al-Furoo’ (2/447-450) the evidence quoted by those who said that zakaah must be paid on honey, and he discussed the evidence and proved that it is da’eef (weak), then he said: Whoever ponders that and other texts, will clearly see that the issue is weak. End quote. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Is zakaah due on honey? 

He replied: 

The correct view is that there is no zakaah on honey, because that was not narrated from the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Rather it was narrated that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) guarded the places where bees lived and took one-tenth from the beekeepers in return. Based on this, no zakaah in due on honey, but if a person gives it voluntarily, that is good, and it may be a cause of his bees increasing in number and producing more honey. But is not an obligatory duty, such that a person would be sinning if he does not give it, because there is no evidence to that effect. End quote. 

Fataawa al-Zakaah, p. 87 

The Standing Committee was asked: Is zakaah due on honey that is produced by bees or not? 

They replied: 

No zakaah is due on honey that is produced by bees, rather zakaah is due on its value if it is prepared for sale and one year has passed, and its value reaches the minimum threshold (nisaab), in which case one-quarter of one-tenth is due. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 9/266.

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