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:
Zakat Al-Fitr is obligatory on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.
With regard to your question, we would like to cite the following fatwa issued by the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas in Saudi Arabia:
If the situation of this poor person is as described in the question, then he should pay the sa` of food on behalf of himself, if it is surplus to his needs and the needs of those whom he is supporting on the day and night of Eid, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Start with yourself and then with your dependents.” (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
With regard to his dependents, if they do not have anything to give in zakah on behalf of themselves, then they are not obliged to pay it, because Allah says: “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There is no sadaqah except for one who has the means.” (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
And he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If I command you to do a thing, then do as much of it as you can.”
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.