Assalamualaikum SS Mufti. I have a question. If a mentally unstable person or child have his own property, then is zakat wajib upon their property?
Hope for an explanation from SS Mufti. Thank you.
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.
Indeed, Allah SWT has made it wajib for the Muslim ummah to pay the zakat according to His statement of verse 103 surah al-Tawbah:
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا
“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them,”
Surah al-Tawbah (103)
The jurists list the conditions which obligate a person to pay the zakat from his property. Among them is stated by Imam Khatib al-Syarbini in his book al-Iqna’ Fi Halli alfaz Abi Syuja’, saying, there are five conditions:
- Muslim, it is not wajib for non-Muslims
- Free, not a slave
- Full ownership. It is not wajib on a slave al-mukatab for his ownership on his property is weak
- Completes the nisab, a certain amount of property when it is wajib to pay zakat if it reaches it
- Complete the haul a certain duration which obligates zakat on the owned property
- Herded animals, an additional condition for zakat on farm animal that is wajib to be paid when the animals are herded in permissible pastures. (Refer al-Iqna’ Fi Halli Alfaz Abi Syuja’, 1:212-213)
If one considers the above obligatory conditions, reaching puberty and rational mind is not stated as one of the conditions as it is usually stated in other obligatory conditions such as prayer and fast.
However, the jurists did not set the condition of reaching puberty and a rational mind as the obligatory condition for zakat, which shows that it is wajib for children and mentally unstable person to pay zakat if the above conditions for it are fulfilled. This is clearly stated in fiqh books, among them are:
Imam al-Mawardi stated in his book, al-Hawi al-Kabir, citing the opinion of Imam al-Syafie:
وَتَجِبُ الصَّدَقَةُ عَلَى كُلِّ مَالِكٍ تَامِّ الْمِلْكِ مِنَ الْأَحْرَارِ ، وَإِنْ كَانَ صَغِيرًا أَوْ مَعْتُوهًا أَوِ امْرَأَةً لَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي ذَلِكَ
Zakt is wajib for every person who owns a property with complete ownership (tam al-milk), from a free owner (not a slave), even if it is a young child or an insane person or a woman. There is no difference between them in the obligation of zakat. (Refer al-Hawi al-Kabir, 3:329)
While in the book al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah fi al-Masail al-Mufidah, Syeikh Hasan al-Kaff stated:
فَلَيْسَ مِنْ شُرُوط وُجُوبِ الزَّكاة: البُلُوغ و العَقْل قَتَجِبُ فِي مَال الصَبِيّ وَ المَجْنُون والمخَاطَبُ بِذَلِكَ وَلِيُّهُمَا
“Thus, it is not included in the obligatory conditions of zakat for a person to reach puberty or sane and rational. Hence, it is wajib to pay zakat from the property of a child or an insane person. And it is commanded for their wali to pay it on their behalf. (Refer al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah fi al-Masail al-Mufidah: 397)
To conclude, we would like to state that zakat upon the property of a child or mentally unstable person is wajib if it fulfils the stated obligatory conditions of zakat. The conditions exclude the condition that a person must reach puberty and sane, thus, zakat upon their properties are wajib to be paid.
Hence, the wali who is taking care for them such as their parents and responsible caregiver are responsible to fulfil their obligation of zakat on the behalf of the child and insane person for they are incapable to understand and manage it themselves. May Allah SWT give us sahih understanding in fulfilling His commandments as well as bless us with taufiq and hidayah to sincerely worship Him. Ameen.