Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah.
I’m an Islamic studies female student in the middle east. I’m fully sponsored by a state zakat. My question:
- Is it obligatory for me to pay my zakat fitrah myself (not paid by my wali)?
If it is obligated, then,
- How should I pay my zakat fitrah; should I distribute it myself to the poor and needy?
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.
Zakat fitrah or is also known as individual zakat is an obligatory zakat for every Muslim individual annually. From Ibn Umar R.Anhuma, he said:
فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَكَاةَ الفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ عَلَى العَبْدِ وَالحُرِّ، وَالذَّكَرِ وَالأُنْثَى، وَالصَّغِيرِ وَالكَبِيرِ مِنَ المُسْلِمِينَ، وَأَمَرَ بِهَا أَنْ تُؤَدَّى قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ النَّاسِ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the `Id prayer. (One Sa' = 3 Kilograms approx.)
Sahih al-Bukhari (1503)
There are three obligatory conditions for zakat fitrah:
- Time, which is after maghrib on the last day of Ramadhan and the eve of Eid.
- Al-yasar (able/capable)
Refer al-Mu`tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie (2/97-98) by Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili hafizhahullah
If someone is responsible for someone else due to marriage (wife and children), relatives (mother, father and siblings) and service (slave), then it is obligatory on the person to also pay for those he is responsible for. This is in accordance with:
كُلُّ مَن تَلْزَمُهُ نَفْقَةُ غَيْرِهِ تَلْزَمُهُ فِطْرَتُهُ
“Whoever is responsible on someone, then he is also responsible for the zakat fitrah.”
Refer Taqrirat al-Sadidah - Qism Ibadah (pg. 419) by Syeikh Hasan al-Kaf hafizhahullah.
Hence, generally it is obligatory for the responsible person (father, grandfather, mother, grandmother and upwards the lineage) to pay zakat fitrah for the daughter.
However, this is under the following obligatory conditions [al-Mu`tamad (4/288-289)]:
- The responsible person is able economically.
- The children are still young, have not reached puberty.
- The child is poor and is unable to work.
Thus, if a daughter does not fulfil the above conditions. Then the father is no longer obligated to pay for her expenses as well as paying zakat fitrah on her behalf.
Hence, for this case, we are inclined towards the opinion that you are obligated to pay for your own zakat fitrah if you are financially able especially since you are fully sponsored. In our past experience, students in the middle east usually pay for their own zakat fitrah. Furthermore, zakat fitrah is not expensive, it is just the amount of 2.6-2.75 kg of staple food of the country (Ghalib qut al-balad). However, if your father wants to pay your zakat fitrah, then it is permissible, but only with your permission. Refer al-Mu`tamad 2/102.
As for the ruling, zakat fitrah is valid if you want to distribute it yourself to the people eligible to receive zakat (asnaf) without going through a representative. It is obligatory to set the intention when it is handed to the asnaf or representative with; this is the obligatory zakat from my property, this is an obligatory charity from my property, this is the zakat of which is obligatory from my property. This is the difference of charity, sunnah, nazar and kafarah with zakat fitrah which is obligatory.
As for how you should pay your zakat, it is best if you consult with Malaysian student association there as to how it is usually done there. This is to ease the process of determining the correct channel of identifying the asnaf and methods of payment.