The author of al-Mughm states that: “Merchandise can only be considered as trading goods for two reasons:
1. The actual possession of merchandise is acquired by an act such as a commercial transaction, marriage, divorce demanded by the wife (khul’), acceptance of a gift, bequest, booty, and other lawful acquisition. This is because that which is not subject to zakah cannot be considered as so subsequent to its possession on the basis of niyyah (intention) only, as, for example, in the case of fasting. It does not make any difference whether a person came to possess such items by buying them or not because his possession is by an act similar to inheritance.
2. The goods are intended, at the time of possession, for trade. These are considered as non-trade goods even though the person intends to use them later for trade.
However, if he possesses these goods through inheritance and intends them for trade, they are not considered as trade goods because the determining factor in such cases is the status of acquisition, not the temporary state of trade. Mere intention will not provide a valid reason to change its status. For example, if a person intends to travel without embarking upon it, then the mere expression of his intention will not constitute the act of travelling. Likewise, if a person bought merchandise for trade and then intended it for possession, it would be considered as such and zakah will not be paid on it.