Assalamualaikum. Is it permissible for a child who is still under the care of his father to pay for his own zakat fitrah? And is it true that it is wajib for a father to pay the zakat fitrah for his children? Hope for an explanation.
Waalaikumussalam wrt, wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We will begin with the definition of zakat fitrah which is certain amounts from one’s property that is wajib to be paid by every mukallaf for himself and his dependents after the sun sets on the last day of Ramadhan on certain conditions. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 1/553)
Among the roles and functions of zakat fitrah is stated in a hadith narrated from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where he said:
فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ طُهْرَةً لِلصَّائِمِ مِنَ اللَّغْوِ وَالرَّفَثِ ، وَطُعْمَةً لِلْمَسَاكِينِ ، مَنْ أَدَّاهَا قَبْلَ الصَّلاَةِ ، فَهِيَ زَكَاةٌ مَقْبُولَةٌ ، وَمَنْ أَدَّاهَا بَعْدَ الصَّلاَةِ ، فَهِيَ صَدَقَةٌ مِنَ الصَّدَقَاتِ.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) enjoined Zakat-ul-fitr on the one who fasts (i.e. fasted during the month of Ramadan) to purify him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakah for the person who pays it before the Eid prayer and it is Sadaqah (i.e. voluntary charity) for the person who pays it after the Eid prayer.
Sunan Abu Daud (1609)
Zakat fitrah is one of the obligatory worships that must be fulfilled by a Muslim himself or through his proxy. In a hadith narrated by Ibnu Umar RA, he said:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَرَضَ زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ، عَلَى كُلِّ حُرٍّ أَوْ عَبْدٍ، ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى، مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) prescribed the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr (on breaking the fast) of Ramadan for people, for every freeman, or slave, male and female among the Muslim – one sa' of dried dates, or one sa' of barley.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1433) and Sahih Muslim (984)
There are three valid conditions for zakat fitrah:
- The time – after Maghrib on the last day of Ramadhan and when the night of Eid starts
- Capable (al-yasar)
(See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie, 2/97-98)
Basically, is it the obligation of a father to pay the zakat fitrah of his children? In this issue, if the children have not reached puberty but they have their own property, then the zakat fitrah is paid using their own property. However, if they do not own any property, then yes, their zakat fitrah is the responsibility of the father.
Imam al-Nawawi said: “If a child does not own any property, then his zakat fitrah is paid by his father. It is wajib for the father to pay it according to the consensus of scholars as cited by Ibn al-Munzir and others. However, if the child has his own property, then the zakat fitrah is taken from his property. The same is stated in the opinions of Abu Hanifah, Ahmad Ishaq and Abu Thaur.” (See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 6/141)
Imam al-Nawawi also said: If a child is rich, then his zakat fitrah is taken from his property, not from his father or grandfather. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, Ahmad and Ishaq. (See al-Majmu’, 6/120)
An Islamic legal maxim states:
كُلُّ مَن تَلْزَمُهُ نَفْقَةُ غَيْرِهِ تَلْزَمُهُ فِطْرَتُهُ
“When a person is obligated to provide (sustenance/maintenance) for someone, then it is also his obligation to fulfil the zakat fitrah.”
Thus, if it is his obligation to provide for another person due to marriage (his wife, children), family ties (mother, father, sibling) and service (slave), then it is also wajib for him to pay the zakt fitrah of his dependents. (See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 419)
According to the above discussion and explanation, it can be concluded:
- Basically, a father has to pay the zakat fitrah of his dependents. Unless, if the child has his own property, then it is permissible to take from the child’s property.
- In the above issue, if the child wants to pay his zakat fitrah, then it is permissible for him to pay his zakat fitrah himself if he has his own property and the capability to do so. To avoid it being paid twice, he should first inform his father.
May Allah SWT grant us the knowledge and understanding in obeying His every commandment. Amin.