Q: Who is liable to pay Zakat?

A: Whoever has the following three characteristics qualifies to pay Zakat :

1) Adolescent
2) Muslim
3) Sane

Adolescence (have reached the age of puberty)

In Islam, mature individuals are obliged to perform the compulsory forms of worship such as Ṣalāt, Zakat, Fasting and Ḥajj. Islam considers adolescents as mature. A person is adolescent when experiencing puberty. The following are some indications of puberty :
1) Experiencing a wet dream
2) Menstruation
3) Reaching fifteen lunar years in age (approximately 14 years and 7 months)

Muslim

Zakat is an action of worship and it is only obliged on those who have faith in Islam. Faith in Islam is a primary condition for the requirement of all forms of worship .

Sane

According to all jurists, a sane person qualifies to pay Zakat if other conditions are found. A sane person is one who has mental capacity.

Differences of opinion:

• The orphan
• The child (pre-puberty)
• The mad / insane

The three schools of jurisprudence other than the Hanafi school state that Zakat should be paid on qualifying wealth owned by the orphan, child and the insane .

The three schools of jurisprudence consider the ownership of wealth reaching the Nisab as the driving factor behind the Zakat obligation. Furthermore, the child, insane and orphan’s wealth will also benefit from the purification of wealth due to the payment of Zakat.

The Hanafi school considers the element of worship in Zakat and therefore opines that Zakat is not binding on the orphan, child and insane. Since these individuals are not obliged to perform worship, they are not obliged to pay Zakat. However, if a person has intermittent sanity, they will be required to pay Zakat. Only a person with continuous insanity and mental incapacity is exempt from Zakat .

The parent/guardian will be responsible to pay Zakat on the wealth of the orphan, child and insane. They can pay from the wealth of these individuals.

And Allah knows best!

Mufti Faraz Adam