What Is Niṣâb in Islam?

NiSAb Defined
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Niṣâb is the Arabic word that names the minimum quantity the Prophet, on him be peace, set as a fixed threshold at which a Muslims must pay Zakat from eligible wealth. Different types of assets have different specified thresholds. Literally, niṣâb means “origin” because the right of the poor and Zakat-worthy on one’s wealth begins at this limit of its accumulation.

The Prophet himself, on him be peace, established the niṣâb values for all five categories of Zakatable wealth: personal, business, agricultural produce, livestock, and discovered or prospected troves. The limits he set at which the believer must pay Zakat on that wealth are part of Revelation. (See What Requirements Qualify Wealth for Zakat?)

There is also a Zakat Calculator to help with this.

What are the set Niṣâb Values?

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Here is a table that displays each wealth type, it’s prophetically delimited niṣâb in value equivalence, and that wealth stream’s Zakat rate (also specified by the Prophet, on him be peace).

The niṣâb value for personal, business, and discovered wealth is the current worth of 85 grams of pure gold (approx. 3 U.S. ounces). 1

The niṣâb of agricultural produce is 1,439 lb. (653 kg).

The niṣâb for ovine (sheep and goats) is 40 head.

The niṣâb for bovine (cattle, buffalo, bison, antelope, yaks, etc.) is 30. 2

He set it for camels at 5.

For a comprehensive explanation about how we know our measures of niṣâb for wealth today are the same as what the Prophet, on him be peace, established see How Is Zakat Calculated on Wealth?

How long after wealth reaches its niṣâb does it come due?

Zakat on most Zakatable wealth comes due when it reaches niṣâb after the passage of an Islamic lunar year. The Islamic year is called the Hijri year, and its period for the purposes of determining Zakat payment is called a ḥawl.

One calculates a hawl (Zakat year) from whatever date one’s Zakatable wealth reaches the “minimum threshold” of niṣâb for that type of wealth until an entire 12 hijri months pass. That final day becomes a payer’s Zakat Due Date (ZDD) (see When Is Zakat Due?)

Do changes in niṣâb change when Zakat comes due?

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Yes. If wealth dips below the niṣâb threshold in the course of the year, one restarts the Zakat year count (ḥawl), according to three of the four most prominent schools of Islamic Law (Maliki, Shafi‘i, and Hanbali). So when wealth during the Zakat year falls below niṣâb, these scholars hold the ḥawl count restarts when that wealth-type again reaches niṣâb.

In the ruling of the Hanafi school, fluctuations of Zakatable wealth below niṣâb at any time after one’s wealth achieves that niṣâb limit do not alter one’s Zakat calendar if one had the niṣâb amount at the beginning of the Zakat year (ḥawl) and also has the niṣâb for that wealth on its due date (ZDD).

This graph illustrates the Hanafi position on niṣâb (the dates are arbitrary). Periodic dips below the niṣâb threshold have no effect on one’s Zakat payment at its due date (“W” In this graph). “C” shows the point at which the other legal schools restart the Zakat year because one’s wealth has fallen below, and then risen back up to, the Zakat threshold (niṣâb).

How is Niṣâb calculated on personal and business wealth?

To convert personal or business wealth into money for Zakat payment, here are two formulas. The gram measure is easier and more precise:

  • Current gold price per gram USD x 85 grams = Nisab (most precise)

  • Current gold price per troy ounce USD x 2.73295 t oz = Nisab 

At the time of this writing, these calculations would look like this:

  • $58.04 (gold price per gram) x 85 gm = $4,933.40

  • $1,805.34 (gold price per t oz) x 2.73295 t oz = $4,933.90

For a more detailed explanation of niṣâb calculation and conversion with Zakat rates, see Nisab and Zakat Calculation in a Nutshell.

Calculate your Zakat payment or learn more.

You can calculate your Zakat payment with our Zakat Calculator or learn more about Zakat with our Zakat Handbook.

1. Precious metals, like gold and silver, are commonly measured for weight in troy ounces, named after Troyes, France. The troy ounce, like the apothecaries’ ounce, is 31.103 grams. The “regular” or common U.S. ounce (the avoirdupois ounce) is 28.3495 grams, rounded to 28.35 grams. That makes nisab at 85 grams of gold virtually 3 U.S. ounces (technically, 85.0485 grams). Nisab in troy ounces is virtually 2.75 (technically, 2.732). The British Imperial dry pound and ounce are the same as their U.S. equivalents until the hundredweight, 100 lb. U.S. system, but 112 pounds British Imperial (written 100 cwt, (centum weight)).

 2. There are 10 genera of bovine. Here, only some commonly used names are mentioned.