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Trading In Currencies – When To Pay Ma’aser


I started with South African rands (ZAR). I used ZAR to purchase US$. Then I coverted the US$ to British pounds (GBP) and later I converted the GBP back to US$, making a profit in US$. I did not check whether the profit in $ also rendered a profit in ZAR (it was probably a loss in ZAR). I assumed that the profit in $ was maaserable and paid maaser thereon. I did more transactions the result being that $310 became €199, and the €199 became ZAR for a short period and the ZAR was converted into $172 and €122. I may do further deals in future; I do not intend at this stage to go back to ZAR. Do I have to give maaser now on the profit in $ and € (or even in ZAR although this amount would vary daily with the ZAR/$ and ZAR/€ exchange rates) and if so, how do I calculate the profit, since it started all in $ and now it is a mixture of $ and € ? I usually calculate maaser once per year. Do I have to include the $ and € profit in this year’s calculation? Many thanks.


Your question is not simple. I think that it depends on your ultimate goal. The basic two rules that are involved are that one gives ma’aser on money and not on goods. The second rule is that the local currency is money and other currencies are goods. Therefore if you intend to one day reconvert into rand and you are trading in order to ultimately turn it into rand you should look at the value in rands of your foreign currency at the beginning and at the end of the year and take ma’aser from the profit.

However, I think that if your intention is to end up with $ for example, and want to use the dollars overseas then perhaps you should look at the dollar amount, or in your case where it’s a blend, value it in terms of dollars at the beginning and end of the year. I am not certain everyone would agree since some would argue that under any circumstances one should value it in terms of rand but I am inclined to rule that in this case one should value it in the goal currency i.e. dollars.

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