Before I answer
this question, let me draw your attention to an important aspect regarding
its calculation: One of the heads on which Zakāh was levied in the time of
the Prophet (sws) was on the harvested crop. It is evident that, contrary to
wealth (on which Zakāh was levied annually at the rate of 2.5 %), crops form
a different category. While in the former, no production is taking place,
the latter are actually a form of produce. On crops grown on rainy lands,
Zakāh was levied at the rate of 10 % of the produce at the time of produce,
while on lands which needed human effort for water supply to grow crops, it
was levied at the rate of 5 % of the produce at the time of produce. In
other words, if the spirit of this directive is kept in consideration, Zakāh
on any form of produce is either 10 % or 5%, whatever be its nature. In the
times of the Prophet (sws), since agricultural produce was the only form of
produce, therefore Zakāh was imposed on it on the above mentioned rates.
Today by analogy, it should be levied at these very rates on any other form
of produce. Industrial produce, in these times, for example is a very common
form of produce.
As far as the difference in
the two rates of produce (5% and 10%) is concerned, it is evident that where
human effort is very little – that is it is confined to sowing seeds only
and where water is actually supplied through rains, the rate of Zakāh is
more, ie 10%. On the contrary, where this effort is considerable, the rate
is reduced to 5 %. In other words, if one derives the principle underlying
this calculation, one can safely conclude that Zakāh on all items which are
produced both by the interaction of labour and capital is 5%, and on items
which are produced such that the basic factor in producing them is either
labour or capital, it is 10%.
It also needs to be
appreciated that all the tools of production are exempted from Zakāh.
With this background, I now
come to your question. By analogy, earning money through stocks seems to be
a form of produce in which no labour is involved. It is the case of
production made through capital only. If this derivation is true, then Zakāh
should be levied at the rate of 10 % on the dividend earned. The total
amount invested in stocks is, of course, exempt from Zakāh since it is
basically the tool of production.