The Hanafiyyah hold that as far as the determination of zakah is concerned, combining (animals) has no effect. Whether such a combination is between partners or has ensued because of contiguity does not matter. There will be no zakah on the joint ownership of partners unless each of them attains a nisab. The consensus is that zakah has to be determined on the basis of sole ownership.
The Malikiyyah maintain that ownership of cattle is considered as one for the purpose of zakah. The combination becomes valid only for zakah when the co-owners in their own right possess a nisab. In addition to this, they should have a common herdsman, a common breed, a common pen, and the expressed intention of having joint ownership. If the herd of one of them is distinguished from the other, they will be considered two separate entities. In that case, each individual becomes liable for zakah. The combination affects livestock. What is taken as zakah from the herd will be distributed among the partners in accordance with each one’s share. If the property of one of the associates is separate, then all of it is considered combined.
According to the Shaf’iyyah, every share of the combination affects the zakah and the zakah on two or more associates’ separate properties becomes due. This may affect the amount of zakah due; for example, if two men, each possessing twenty sheep, combine their sheep, the zakah due is one, but if they do not combine them, then there is no zakah on either one. On the other hand, a combination of 101 sheep with the same number results in a zakah of one and one-half sheep. However, if the flocks of sheep are considered separately, then the zakah due on each lot is only one sheep. As for the case of three associates, each of them having forty sheep, if they combine them, the zakah due is one sheep – that is, the zakah due for each partner is one-third of a sheep. However, if treated separately, each should pay one sheep. In addition to this, the Shaf’iyyah moreover stipulate the following:
1. The partners should qualify financially to pay zakah.
2. The combined property must attain a nisab.
3. Its zakah is due at the end of the year.
4. None of the properties is singled out from the others as regards resting pen, grazing area, watering, herdsmen, and milking sheds.
5. Flocks of the same kind are bred by the same ram.
Ahmad agrees with the Shaf’iyyah, except that he limited the effect of combination to cattle and does not take into consideration any other properties.