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Daily Nisaab Prices

16 July 2018 / 2 Dhil Qaida 1439
Nisáb = R5 033.60
Silver = R8.35/g (259.65/oz)
Gold = R618.38/g (R16 695.06/oz)
Prices & Calculations include VAT

What is the meaning of Nisáb?

Nisáb is a minimum amount of wealth which makes one liable to pay Zakáh. The person who possesses an amount equal to or greater than this specified minimum wealth, which remains in his or her possession for a period of one year is considered wealthy enough to pay the Zakáh.

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Mr BumbleTHERE is a famous line in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, an 18th century novel about the treatment of children in industrial England. Mr Bumble, the portly supervisor of a child workhouse, gets enraged when Oliver asks for some more gruel, a watery, ill-cooked broth.

“Please, sir, can I have some more?” asks a frightened Oliver, who then meets the wrath of the unfeeling Mr Bumble.

Whilst there is a long distance, historically and geographically, from Charles Dickens to South Africa, I am often reminded of this scenario when poor people knock on our door. Of course, it is a scene played out in many cities and towns throughout South Africa on a daily basis.

Some of those who knock are brazen, with a sense of entitlement, but on the other hand, there are those who are respectful – even Oliver-like – in their requests for help. For these people, just to walk up to a strange door has taken up their last reserves of pride.

Indeed, these are the souls we have to take extra care of, because they are not only begging for food, but their very dignity. We have to remind ourselves that Allah, the Almighty, can elevate – or reduce us – in the mere blink of an eye.

And as winter bites, and as the Western Cape experiences welcome rain, we have to remember that the cold weather is not a boon to the less privileged, but very often a severe setback. On the Highveld, where people have to burn things to stay warm, there are shack fires – and in the Cape as the rains come, so do the floods.

Cold, wet, hungry, homeless and shivering, the South African underclass faces many daunting challenges, challenges we ourselves would probably not be able to deal with, should we be suddenly taken out of our own comfort zones.

Think for a minute what a person hears, and sees, when they knock on your door, and you open it…the smell of food, the sound of a TV, a toilet flushing…a wave of warmth and comfort. All things they don’t have.

The other day, just as the rains had let up and the sun had broken through the clouds, a young woman knocked on our door. We had never seen her before, a sure sign that this was someone who really needed help. After the years, you get to learn the signs. The “regulars” have their routines.

She was a sweet person, desperately hungry, who told us that she lived under a nearby bridge, and that she was waiting for the social worker to find her a bed in a night shelter. Her background story was a typical one of abandonment, and lack of living space in a Cape Flats backyard. The city’s streets had been her only recourse.

She sat on our stoep to eat some of the food that that had been warmed for her, another sign of need, and loneliness. The hungriest will always eat immediately, and those collecting for families or communes will quickly scurry away.

After she’d eaten, the young lady made a request, which for some might have sounded a little odd.

“Please, sir, can I have some soap? Even if it’s an old bar.”

Given her circumstances, it was not an odd request. This was a call for self-esteem. We had gained a little of her trust, and to refuse her would be crushing. So we dug in a cupboard, and came back with a new bar of soap and some facial cream.

“Jor. It’s new stuff. Thank you, auntie!” said the woman to my wife. Her smile was worth a million dollars. For us it had been a small sacrifice, but for her it had meant the world.

Indeed, small things can teach us so much. Many years ago an old hand from an NGO had advised me to never give the underprivileged inferior goods. “Don’t give anybody something you yourself wouldn’t use,” he had told me, “never!”

Of course, SANZAF fully embraces this policy of giving the best. And in the dark moments of winter, a small thing such as a “dignity pack” (soap, shampoo, cream, toothpaste etc.) can make such a huge difference. The truism is that hope – the ultimate aim of sadaqah and Zakah – does not have to cost the proverbial arm and a leg, and that we don’t have to be a Mr Bumble.  

 

A solid Islamic financial base is said to be the soundest way to harnessing Zakah, the compulsory cleansing and redistribution of wealth, deemed to be a pillar of the faith. In many parts of the globe, Zakah is said to be the forgotten pillar, either due to grinding poverty, famine and warfare in Islamic lands, or due to minorities with threatened civil liberties.

Nonetheless, Zakah as an institution in the 21st century has started to make great strides, especially since the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1923 rocked the Muslim word, and set it back on all fronts – socially, economically, educationally and politically.

THE South African National Zakah Fund, or SANZAF as it is fondly known, is one of the country’s most enduring and established humanitarian agencies. For over 40 years, SANZAF has served the Muslim community by ensuring that Zakah, a communal pillar of faith, has been executed.

This SANZAF has done without reproach, producing an audited balance sheet every year to guarantee its total transparency. In addition, its beneficiaries have been known to all and sundry, the organisation’s PR and marketing team making sure that the public is duly informed of who gets what.

MOST outsiders to Islam understand Zakah as an alms tax, a poor tax, of a Muslim’s wealth. Of course, superficially, it is – but in terms of its real definition, it is not. For Zakah, say Arabic lexicons, means “cleanliness, growth, blessing and praise”.

All these connotations of the word are understood in the context of Qur’an and Hadith, which extol time and time again how Zakah is an investment of the heart. Indeed, we all understand that Zakah is a pillar of faith – together with the profession of belief (the kalimah shahadah), Salah (prayer), Ramadan (the fast) and Hajj (the major pilgrimage.

IT is always interesting reminding ourselves that those who qualify for Zakah fall into eight basic categories. Zakah, one of the five pillars of Islam, is not an alms tax – as so many like to define it – but more a cleansing of one’s stable assets, an act of faith executed by the redistribution of a small portion of one’s wealth.

The Prophet [SAW] once said that Allah Himself ruled on Zakah, and that its categories were divinely decreed: the poor, the needy, Zakah administrators, hearts to be reconciled such as reverts and those friendly to the community, those in bondage, the debt-ridden, those on the path of Allah and the wayfarer, or traveller.

WE always seem to recognise things around us in cycles. We have the cycles of life (the seven stages of man described by Shakespeare) and the cycles of the weather, today a big concern to us, due to global warming. Then we have the cycle of bear and bull markets, the ups and the downs, on the stock exchanges of the world.