Why pay zakat on land when the companions didn’t
Why should we pay Zakat on plots of land when we know that the companions of the Prophet, alaihissalaam, didn’t do so?
Our understanding is that the law of Zakat given to us by the Prophet, has three categories: Zakat on livestock, production, and wealth. The details of each one of these categories is different. Zakat on wealth is applicable on all assets that are not in our daily use provided their combined value is more than the minimum threshold of nisaab (which is approximately Rs.12,000 these days). If there were exceptions to this rule during the times of the companions, there must have been reasons accompanying those exceptions. For example, in the case of land, it was either agricultural land that they had in their ownership, on which Zakat was paid in the form of Ushr or they had land which didn’t carry value the way it does today. Even if land did carry value, it wasn’t expressed in the form of price the way it is done now. Since plots of land in excess of one’s need are very much a part of the total wealth people own today and they know their precise value, calculating Zakat to be paid on them is no problem today. There is no reason why Zakat shouldn’t be paid on them today. It doesn’t make religious sense that wealth owned in the form of gold and silver should be subject to Zakat but the same value stored in the form of plots should be exempt. God Almighty is neither against gold or silver nor is He in favour of land. He wants us to pay 2.5% Zakat every year on all
wealth we own. And it is only He who knows the best.