Trade Goods: What Are They & What Is The Ruling Of Zakaah On Them?

Ibn Qudaamah (RA) said: "Goods do not become trade goods unless two conditions are met:
 
(I) That he takes possession of it by means of his actions, such as buying, marriage, khula', accepting a gift, a bequest, booty, or earning of permissible things.
 
(ii) That he intends when taking possession of it to sell it. If he does not intend when taking possession of it to sell it, then it is not trade goods, even if he forms that intention later on. If he takes possession of it by inheritance and intends to sell it, it does not become trade goods. This is similar to if a settled person intends to travel, the rulings on travelling do not begin to apply to him unless he takes action. It was narrated from Ahmad in another report that goods may become trade goods by virtue of intention, because Samurah said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallaallahu alayhi wa sailam) commanded us to pay zakaah from that which we had prepared to sell. Based on this, when a person forms the intention to sell it, it becomes trade goods". [al-Mughni,2/336.]
 
The former is the view of the Hanbalis, Hanafis, Maalikis and Shaafa'is. [Sources: Badaa'i'al-Sanaa'i', 2/12; Sharh al-Kharashi'ala Khaleel, 2/195; al-Majmoo', 6/5; and al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fihqiyyah, 23/271].
 
Explanation Of The 2nd Opinion
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (RAH) said: "The second view concerning this issue is that as soon as the intention to sell it for trade purposes is formed it becomes trade goods, even if it came into his possession without him taking any action, and even if he took possession of it without intending to trade in it, because of the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallam):
 
"Actions are but by intentions, and. each person will have but that which he intended ... "(Bukhari)
 
This man intended to deal in it, so he has to pay zakaah on it. For example: if a man buys a car to use it for transportation, then he decided to make it capital for the purpose of trade, then zakaah must be paid when one year has passed on it from the time he formed that intention. But if he has a car that he is using, then he decides to sell it, it is not trade goods, because he is not selling it for the sake of doing trade, rather it is because he no longer wants it.
 
Another example is if he has land that he bought to build on, then he decided to sell it and buy some other land. His offering it for sale is not for the purpose of trade, because the intention of selling in this case is not to earn money, rather it is because he no longer wants it. There is a difference between two people, one of whom makes it his capital or the purpose of trade and another who decides he no longer wants or needs this thing, so he wants to sell it. In the first case zakaah is due according to the correct opinion, and in the second case no zakaah is due." [al-Sharh al-Mumti' (2/626)].
 
The zakaah that is due on trade goods is 2.5% of the value of the goods. And Allaah knows best.
 
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