Paying Zakat Al-Fitr on Behalf of Christian/Jewish Wife: Obligatory?

31 May, 2019
Q As-Salamu alaykum. Is a Muslim husband obliged to give zakat al-fitr on behalf of his Christian or Jewish wife?

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi 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:

A Muslim husband is not obliged to pay Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of his Christian or Jewish wife because Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory on Muslims only.


Answering your question, the Fatwa Center at Islam Q and A, states:

If the wife is one of the People of the Book (Christian or Jewish), the husband is not obliged to give Zakat Al-Fitr on her behalf, because zakat al-fitr is only obligatory for Muslims.

This is indicated by the report narrated by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined Zakat al-Fitr, a sa` of dates or a sa` of barley, on behalf of free and slave, male and female, young and old, among the Muslims. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The words “among the Muslims” indicate that being a Muslim is a condition of Zakat al-Fitr being obligatory and that it is not required of the disbeliever on his own behalf. There is scholarly consensus on this point.

“No Zakat al-Fitr is required of a disbeliever because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  “… among the Muslims”. This is consensus, as al-Mawridi said, because it is a means of purification and that does not include the disbeliever.” (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 2/112)

Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar said:

The words “male and female” clearly indicate that it is obligatory for all women, whether they have husbands or not. … Then he said: (The scholars) are agreed that a Muslim should not give it on behalf of his non-Muslim wife. (Fath al-Bari, 3/369).

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.