The correct opinion regarding paying Zakah from the money of a child
Fatwa No: 6407

  • Fatwa Date:22-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 21, 1435
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Question

I have money that belongs to an under-aged orphan who lives with his paternal aunt. This money does not increase on a regular basis and, if there is an increase, it is usually slight. The money has now reached the Nisaab but it is not invested. Is Zakaah due on it?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

According to the correct opinion of the scholars, it is obligatory to pay Zakah from the money of a child whether or not he is an orphan. This opinion is held by ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Ibn ‘Umar, Jaabir and ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them. This is also the opinion of Maalik, As-Shaafi‘i and Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them.

This opinion is based on the fact that Zakah is a right of the poor on the money of the rich, so it is not a condition that the owner should be an adult or sane person since the obligation of Zakah is contingent on the condition of reaching the Nisaab. So, once that condition is fulfilled, Zakah becomes due.

This opinion is supported by the general meaning implied in the Saying of Allaah Almighty (which means): {Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity} [Quran 9:103]

It is also supported by the statement of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when he sent Mu‘aath  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him to Yemen as he said, “Inform them that Allaah Almighty Enjoined charity upon them, to be paid from their money.” [Al-Bukhari]

So what counts is the money itself and not its owner. Thus, whoever assumes guardianship of an orphan who owns a Nisaab of wealth on which Zakah is payable has to pay Zakah on behalf of the orphan.

The obligation of paying Zakah on the money of a child is also attested to by the Hadeeth narrated on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him which reads: “Whoever is entrusted with the money of an orphan should trade with it and should not leave it to be used up by charity.” [At-Tirmithi]

Although the authenticity of this Hadeeth is criticized, it can be strengthened by the aforementioned information. Moreover, it is deduced from this Hadeeth that the guardian of an orphan is required to invest this money and trade with it on the orphan's behalf.

Allaah Knows best.

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