Zakah on ambergris
Fatwa No: 338749

  • Fatwa Date:15-1-2017 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 17, 1438
  • Rating:

Question

Asalaamu alaykum. My friend found a piece of amergirs in the sea. My friend sold it for 100,000 dollars. Does he have to pay zakah on that?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

According to the view of the majority of the scholars, there is no zakah for what is extracted from the sea. Rather, zakah is only obligatory on it if it is sold and the money reaches the Nisaab (minimum amount liable for zakah) and a whole lunar year elapses on it. 

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

There is no zakah on what is extracted from the sea, such as pearls, coral, amber, and the like, according to the apparent view of Al-Khiraqi, and it is the opinion chosen by Abu Bakr. The same thing was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Umar ibn Abdil ‘Azeez, ‘Ataa’, Maalik, Ath-Thawri, Ibn Abi Layla, Al-Hasan ibn Saalih, Ash-Shaafi'i, Abu Haneefah, Muhammad, Abu Thawr, and Abu ‘Ubayd. There is another narration from Ahmad that says that there is zakah on it, because it is extracted from metal, so it is like something extracted from the metal of the land. It was also reported that ‘Umar ibn Abdil ‘Azeez took one fifth as zakah on amber; this is the view of Al-Hasan and Az-Zuhri. Az-Zuhri also said that one fifth should be taken from the pearls of the sea.

Our evidence is that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, 'There is no zakah on amber, because it is something thrown out by the sea,' and Jaabir said the same thing; both narrations were reported by Abu ‘Ubayd. Also, it used to come out at the time of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and his Caliphs, but it was not reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) imposed zakah on it, nor did any of his Caliphs. In principle, there is no zakah on it, and it is not valid to compare it by analogy to the metal of the land, because amber is thrown out by sea, and it is found on the land lying on the ground without any difficulty in getting it, so it is like the permissible things that are taken from the land, such as manna, ginger, and the like.

The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:

The majority of the Hanafi, Maaliki and Shaafi'i scholars – and it is also one of the two narrations by Ahmad – and the opinion of Abu ‘Ubayd and Abu Thawr as well – held the opinion regarding what is extracted from the sea, such as pearls, amber and coral, that there is no zakah nor one fifth on it, because it was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that he said, 'There is no zakah on amber because it is something thrown out by the sea.' Jaabir narrated the same. It was also extracted from the sea at the time of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and his Caliphs, but it was not reported that he or they imposed zakah on it. There is another narration from Ahmad – and this is the view of Abu Yoosuf – that says that there is zakah on it because it is like something extracted from the metal of the land. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that he said about amber, 'If there is any zakah on it, it would be one fifth.' Ya’la ibn Umayyah wrote to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, about an amber that he found on the sea coast, and ‘Umar consulted the Companions. They advised him to take one fifth, so Umar ibn Al-Khattab wrote to him to this effect. The same thing was reported from Al-Hasan and Az-Zuhri. ‘Umar ibn Abdil ‘Azeez also took one fifth [as zakah] on amber...

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa