Should We Pay Zakat Al-Fitr on Baby Born on the Eve of `Eid?
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Should We Pay Zakat Al-Fitr on Baby Born on the Eve of `Eid?

Questioner

Kareem

Reply Date

Jun 20, 2017

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. My wife is pregnant, and she is expected to give birth to the baby on the eve of `Eid Al-Fitr or on the morning of `Eid. Should I pay Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of the fetus or the baby born on the eve of `Eid al-Fitr?

Mufti

Answer


Zakat Al-Fitr on Baby Born on the Eve of `Eid

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

If the baby is born on the eve of `Eid and before the `Eid Prayer, the guardian is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr for him or her, as the time of its payment is extended till the `Eid Prayer, according to the majority of scholars.


Responding to your question, Dr. Rajab Abu Mleeh, Professor of Islamic Studies at Kolej Universiti Insaniah, stated:

First of all, we would like to congratulate you for the coming child; we implore Allah to render him or her upright, successful, and dutiful to his or her parents. Indeed, the children are a gift from Allah, Who grants this blessing to whomever He wills and deprives whomever He wills of it.

Almighty Allah says: “He creates what He pleases; He grants to whom He pleases daughters and grants to whom He pleases sons, or He makes them of both sorts, male and female, and He makes whom He pleases barren; surely He is the Knowing, the Powerful.” (Ash-Shura 42:49–50)

Regarding Zakat Al-Fitr, it is an obligatory charity that is incumbent on every free Muslim. It serves to bring delight and satisfaction to the destitute on the day of `Eid, as well as to save them from begging people on this cheerful day. Muslims should pay this kind of Zakah on behalf of themselves and their dependents.

According to the majority of scholars, Muslims are not obliged to pay Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of the fetus. The great scholar Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy upon him) opines that if the fetus completes 120 days before the dawn of `Eid Al-Fitr, the guardian is required to pay Zakat Al-Fitr on behalf of him or her. He argues that the fetus is included in the word young used by the Prophet in the following Hadith, “Pay [Zakat Al-Fitr] for every free or slave person, whether young or old, half a sa` [one sa`= 2.176 kilograms or 4.797 pounds] of wheat or a sa` of dates or barley.” (Abu Dawud) 

This interpretation, which Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy upon him) exclusively adopted, is questionable. However, it may be tolerable to pay Zakat Al-Fitr for the fetus on a voluntary, not obligatory, basis.

There is a disagreement among scholars regarding Zakat Al-Fitr for babies born on the eve of `Eid Al-Fitr, based on differences of opinion concerning the exact time of Zakat Al-Fitr. The Hanafis and Malikis (in one of two reports) are of the opinion that it is due at the break of the dawn on the day of `Eid. They quoted the hadith that was reported by Al-Bukhari that Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered the people to pay Zakat Al-Fitr before they go to the `Eid Prayer.”

The Shafi`is, Hanbalis, and Malikis (in the other report) hold the opinion that it is due at the sunset of the last day of Ramadan. They quoted the hadith that was narrated by Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), in which he said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) enjoined Zakat Al-Fitr for the one who fasts to rescue him from any indecent act or speech, and for the purpose of providing the needy with food. If one pays it before the [`Eid] Prayer, it is considered an accepted Zakah, and if one pays it after the Prayer, it is then considered an ordinary charity.”

The impact of this disagreement appears in the following situations:

1- Death after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan: The Shafi`is and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhabs (school of jurisprudence) are of the opinion that Zakat Al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of that person, as he or she was alive at the time when it was due. However, the Hanafis and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhabs hold the opinion that he or she is exempted, as he or she was not alive at the time when it was due.

2- Birth after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan: The Hanafis and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhabsare of the opinion that Zakat Al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of the baby, as he or she was born at the time when it was due. But, the Shafi`is and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhabs hold the opinion that it should not be paid, as the baby was a fetus at the time when it was due.

3- Conversion to Islam after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan: The Shafi`is and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhab shold the opinion that they do not have to pay because they were not required to pay Zakah at the time when it was due, as it is not accepted from a non-Muslim. The Hanafis and those who agree with them of scholars of other madhabsare of the opinion that it should be paid because they were required to pay it at the time when it was due, as embracing Islam commands them to observe all Islamic rulings. (For more details, see the Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia chapter on Zakat Al-Fitr.)

Ultimately, we are of the opinion that if the baby is born on the eve of `Eid and before the `Eid Prayer, the guardian is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr for him or her, as the time of its payment is extended till the `Eid Prayer, according to the majority of scholars. In a word, if the baby is born before the `Eid Prayer, Zakat Al-Fitr should be paid.

Allah Almighty knows best.




About Dr. Rajab Abu Mleeh

Professor of Islamic Studies at Kolej Universiti Insaniah

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