Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allaamah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori – may Allaah preserve him –
What’s the criterion of wealth whereby accepting charity is no longer permissible?
The Majority of the people of knowledge are upon (the view) that those that are wealthy whereby charity is no longer permissible for them, are those that possess that what suffices them and their dependants.
It has come in a hadith:
(من ملك خمسين درهمًا فهو غني)
“Whoever owns fifty dirham is wealthy.”
(من جاء عنده شيء يعشيه يغذيه فهو غني)
“Whoever has that which he can live upon and eat is wealthy.”
This state of wealthiness in regards to begging.
The Prophet ﷺ when sending Mu’ādh to Yemen said:
إنك تأتي قومًا أهل كتاب فأول ما تدعوهم إليه أن يشهدوا أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدًا رسول الله ويقيموا الصلاة؛ فإذا فعلوا ذلك فأخبرهم أن الله افترض عليهم صدقة تؤخذ من أغنيائهم فترد على فقرائهم
“Verily you are going to approach a people who are people of the book, let the first thing you call them to that there is none worthy of worship in truth but Allah alone, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and to establish the prayer, if they accept this then inform them that Allah has obligated upon them charity, which is taken from their wealthy and given to their poor.”
What’s intended here with wealthy are those who own :
five camels, forty sheeps, thirty cows, five Awsaq (sixty sā’ – two hundred fourty medium sized full double-handfulls) of barley, wheat, raisins and dates, who ever has [that which reaches these amounts in their respective categories] is wealthy.
Which teaches us that the wealthy person who the zakāt is taken from, are those that have with them that which reaches the nisāb and what exceeds it.
As for the wealthy person upon who it’s not permissible to beg, is he who can find what to eat and live on, this person is considered wealthy.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
يا قبيصة! إن المسألة لا تحل إلا لأحد ثلاثة: رجل أصابته فاقة حتى يشهد ثلاثة من ذوي الحجا: أن فلانًا من الناس أصابته فاقة حلت له المسألة حتى يصيب قوامه من العيش أو سداده من العيش
“Oh Qabisa, begging is not permissible but for one of the three (classes) of persons: and a person who has been smitten by poverty. the genuineness of which is confirmed by three intelligent members of this peoples for him begging is permissible till he gets what will support him, or will provide him subsistence..”
The hadith is in Sahih Muslim.
And the wealthy who is not allowed to take the zakāt in this subject, and it’s the position of imām Shāfi’ī and others, and it’s the correct position; it’s he who owns that which suffices him and his children. If he were to own that which doesn’t suffice him and his children, then he is still a faqīr (poor and needy), and charity is correct for him to take.
In addition, zakāt is not correct except upon the Muslims, those who Allah clarified in His Book and upon the tongue of His Messenger.
Translated by : Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani
الكنز الثمين في الإجابة على أسئلة طلبة العلم والزائرين (3) (https://www.sh-yahia.net/show_books_38.html)
Under: كتاب الزكاة
Entitled: حد الغنى الذي لا تحل معه صدقة