source :Osoul Global Center


Cattle include camels, cows and bovine animals are objects deserving zakat to be paid on certain conditions; the threshold should be met, to be owned for more than a year, grazing period and not used for living.


Cattle includes camels, cows and sheep which also includes goats. Zakat is liable on all these.

Conditions: The following conditions must be met in order for cattle to be liable to zakat:

1-1. The threshold of zakat must be met, and the threshold is five camels, 30 cows or 40 sheep.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) says

‘No zakat is payable for less than five camels’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1,447; Muslim, hadith No. 979

:Mu’adh reports

‘Allah’s messenger sent me to Yemen to collect their zakat dues. He instructed me to take a one-year-old cow for every 30 cows, and a two-year-old one for every 40’

Related by Ahmad, vol. 36, p. 403; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 1,576; al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 623

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said

‘If a man’s cattle is less than 40 sheep, no zakat is payable for them, unless the owner wishes otherwise’

Related by Al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1,454

2-The cattle should meet the threshold and remain for a full year with their owner,

:as the Prophet (peace be upon him) says

‘No property is liable to zakat until it has turned a year’

3- The cattle should graze for most of the year in open fields that grow naturally.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) says

‘On sheep grazing in open fields: one sheep is due for any amount between 40 and 120 sheep.’ [1]

:He also says

‘On naturally grazing camels, a two-year-old she-camel is payable’

Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 1,575

 If the cattle graze for a short period during the year and are fed for most of it, then no zakat is payable for them.

4-The cattle should not be used for purposes like tilling the earth or carrying goods, because such animals are considered to be among man’s essential needs like clothes. If the animals are hired to other people, the income is liable to zakat at the turn of the year.

The payable duty

For camels: For five camels, a one-year-old sheep or a two-year-old goat is due. For 10 camels two sheep; for 15 camels three sheep and four sheep are due for 20 camels. For any number between 25 and 35 camels a one-year-old she-camel is due. If the owner cannot find such a she-camel, then a two-year-old male camel suffices. If there are between 36 and 45 camels, a two-year-old she-camel is due. For 46-60 camels, a three-year-old she-camel is due. For 61-75 camels, a four-year-old she-camel is due. For 76-90 camels, two 2-year-old she-camels are due, and for 91-120 camels, two 3-year-old she-camels are due. When the number of camels is above 120 the zakat payable is one two-year-old she-camel for every 40 camels or one three-year-old she-camel for every 50.

For cows: A one-year-old cow is due for 30-39 cows, and a two-year-old one is due for 40 cows. When the number of cows is greater, the zakat due is calculated by multiples of these figures: a one-year-old cow for every 30, and a two-year-old cow for every 40.

For sheep: For 40-120 sheep, one sheep is due in zakat; and for 121-200, two sheep become due. For 201-300, three sheep are due. Then one sheep is due in zakat for every one hundred sheep above 300. hadith detailing these is reported by Anas who quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him): ‘For free grazing sheep, one sheep is due for 40, up to 120 sheep, when they are above 120 then two sheep are due until they reach 200. If they are more than 200, and up to 300, three sheep are due. Above 300, a sheep is due for every one hundred.’

Which animal to give in zakat

Islam requires that what is given in zakat should be of the average quality of the flock or herd owned by a person, and not be of the highest or lowest quality. In animals, the age is very important. An animal that is younger than what is specified is insufficient and deprives the poor of some of what is due to them, and one that is older may be an unfair loss to the owner.

The zakat officer must not take an animal which is ill, defective or old because it does not benefit the poor. On the other hand, he should not take a fat animal that is intended for food, or a pregnant one, or the one that is looking after its calf, or the ram prepared for breeding, or the best looking animal. To take any of these is to be unjust to the owner.The Prophet (peace be upon him) told one of his Companions he sent to collect zakat:

‘Do not touch their best property’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1,395; Muslim, hadith No. 19

Mixing cattle

This is done in two ways: mixing individual animals, when the flock is owned by two people, without separating them so as to know which belongs to whom. This happens either through inheritance or through purchase. The other way is mixing by appearance, which means that what belongs to each owner is known, but they are neighbours.

Both ways make the two properties as one. If the total is equal to or above the threshold of zakat, then both owners are liable to zakat. However, if one of them is a non-Muslim, the mixing does not apply. The two properties should share the same pen or sheepfold, grazing area, milking place and have the same stallions. When these conditions are met, the two properties are treated as one.

:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

‘What is separate should not be joined together, and what is joined should not be separated to evade zakat. The two owners of a mixed flock divide what is due equally between them’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 1,450

 Mixing may make zakat payable or may waive it altogether. This is applicable to zakat on cattle only.

It is sinful to mix animals in order to dodge zakat. An example of joining the separate properties is the case of three people who each have 40 sheep, making 120 in total. If each of them is to pay his own zakat, each will give one sheep, while if they join their properties together, the zakat due on them all is one sheep. Thus, joining the separated flocks makes the zakat due one sheep instead of three and this is prohibited if it were to avoid zakat.

An opposite case is that of two men having 40 sheep. When they are aware of the approach of the zakat officer, they separate their sheep, keeping 20 in one place and 20 in another. Neither flock becomes liable to zakat. This is also prohibited as they are trying to trick Allah to skip paying zakat.


  1. Ibid.



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