10 Nov Alms and Charity: Virtues of Zakat: Part 24
WHAT IS NAWAIB (SUPPLEMENTARY ALMS FOR EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES)?
Though comprising several meanings such as substitution, disaster, catastrophe and misfortune, nawaib is the name given to the gains acquired in addition to zakat during extraordinary circumstances such as the dispatch of troops, maintaining national security and so on. As the designated nisab (the minimum wealth required to be eligible for zakat) is the very minimum of zakat, and as there is no set maximum, it is evident that when the necessity for supplementary funds arises, the tax rate may increase. This verdict can also easily be extracted from the overall message of the Qur’an, and it finds corroboration in the very practice of God’s Messenger (upon whom be peace). For instance, the Noble Messenger accepted donations for the Medina Treasury in preparation for military campaigns as exemplified in the Tabuk Campaign.
Those wholeheartedly wanting to bequeath their entire possessions were not dissuaded during the prelude to Tabuk; however, during times of relative harmony, even the wealthiest people such as Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, could only have the maximum of a third of their possessions accepted by the Messenger of God (upon whom be peace).
WHAT IS USHR (THE ALMS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE)?
Ushr means “one-tenth;” thus every single fraction often is called “ushr.” “They have not been able to reach even one-tenth of what We have given” alludes to the shortcomings of the Meccan polytheists in their incapability of realizing their so-called power. As an Islamic concept, however, ushr, is considered to be a certain portion of agricultural produce, like zakat. Thus, in this aspect, it falls under the zakat heading. The calculation of ushr is based on the relative ease or hardship of the yield of a certain crop. Because we will scrutinize this issue further in a few chapters to come, by simply throwing light on its cluster of benefits, for now, we will move on.