Q. From my Shafi’i fiqh class, I have learned that women’s jewelry becomes zakatable only if the woman has more jewelry than those of her same social class. Is there more than one view in the Shafi’i school, the other being that if she has jewelry in excess of X amount, she should pay zakat on it?
A. The above is the main view, as mentioned in Matn abi Shuja` and `Umdat al-salik. There is more than one view in the Shafi`i school. This is shown by Nawawi’s wording in his chapter entitled “Zakat on money” in his handbook of Shafi`i law Minhaj al-Talibin:
Women are allowed to wear gold and silver ornaments as well as what is sewn with them according to the more correct view. The more correct view prohibits great extravagance such as her wearing an anklet that weighs 200 dinar. [= 850 grams]
[I.e. zakat must be paid on such articles.]
It is correct that extravagance is defined by comparison to one’s surroundings. The Kurdish women of Lebanon and those of Brunei that wear gold, would probably be considered extravagant in Turkey, for example, but not in their own cultures. Inside their own classes they can use the same criterion. Allah knows best.
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