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In Sharia (Islamic Law) nib () is the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to zakat. Several hadith have formulas for calculating nib, the most prominent of which declares that No Zak?t is due on wealth until one year passes. Zakat is determined based on the amount of wealth acquired; the greater one's assets, the greater the tax. Unlike income tax in secular states nib is not subject to special exemptions.

In Islam, nib is 20 din?rs for gold and 200 dirhams for silver[1] based on the original 1 to 10 exchange rate. The din?r is a gold coin weighing one mithqal (4.25 grams) and the dir?am is a silver coin weighing 0.7 mithqal (2.975 grams). The nib is applicable to the cumulative stock of din?rs, dir?am and any other zakatable valuables, such as merchandise that has been in store for at least one year. As long as the total value of the zakatable valuables exceeds the value of the nib, zakat must be paid.

The value of the Nib

The value of the nib is calculated in din?r coins and dir?am coins. The relation between 20 din?rs and 200 dir?ams which is part of the definition of nib reflects the contemporary exchange value between the din?r and the dir?am of 1 to 10 in the early days of Islam. In later times the exchange rate between the two Sharia coins changed according to market values, and so exchange rates of 1 to 11 and 1 to 12 are seen in early fiqh literature. This exchange rate has varied even more in the last few centuries. The shift in exchange rate meant that in later times 20 din?rs became more expensive in market value than 200 dir?ams. Despite this the definition of nib has not been altered throughout Islamic history, and therefore a choice is created between the value of 20 din?rs and the value of 200 dir?ams. Both values are accepted in Shariah, and so one can choose to pay the value of either of them.

The value of the coins and the value of the metal

The value of one din?r is not identical to the value of the gold content of one din?r, and likewise with the silver in a dir?am. There is also difference in value between din?rs depending on their quality and their acceptability. Although all gold or silver coins and products must be exchanged by weight and not by value in order to prevent riba al-fadl, different coins may have different market values as is reflected in the fiqh literature when it is said that some coins are not popular (makruhi)[See Imam Malik's al-Muwatta]. The value of the din?r and dir?am are thus different from their respective gold and silver content. This represents a problem to modern Muslims because din?r and dir?am coins are difficult to obtain.

A practical approach to the lack of Din?r and Dirhams

Some modern scholars have accepted that since din?rs and dirhams are no longer readily available the best solution is to calculate the nib using a mithqal of pure gold as a reference. Although this is not an exact calculation it is considered a valid approximation given current circumstances.

In some countries Muslim communities have minted their own din?rs and dirhams following the original standards. These coins are used both as a method for general payment and specifically to pay zakat.

One year rule

In order to be liable for zakat a Muslim must possess wealth in excess of the nib level for one lunar year (354 days). This year begins on the date the wealth is obtained; so long as the assets are in its owner's possession at the beginning and end of the lunar year the zakat tax is applicable. In many modern societies nib is considered equivalent to a governmentally determined poverty threshold.

References


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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