Fri 25 Jm2 1435 - 25 April 2014
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His father has a monthly income and he is old – does he have to pay zakaah?

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This is the story of a Muslim man who used to offer all the prayers on time, especially Fajr, and he gave charity without counting, and he paid zakaah regularly, and he made his children pay zakaah on the money they earned, whether it was a little or a lot, even if the year had not yet passed. Now he is old and has become forgetful. He will ask you something, then he will ask the same question several times. He will offer a prayer and then repeat it several times. He is no longer able to get up for Fajr. He is a widower and lives with his daughter, and she spends on him even though he has a monthly income (pension), so his savings have increased, but when you talk to him about zakaah, he agrees with you about the subject and tells you that he does not have anything with which to pay zakaah, even though his daughter reminds him that he has savings in the bank. We do not know whether this is because of his forgetfulness and advanced age. We hope that you will reply and tell us how to handle this matter.

Praise be to Allaah.

We ask Allaah to grant your father a good end. The one who does righteous deeds during his life deserves to be honoured. This man has done well as he strove to fulfil his duties and avoid things that are forbidden. There are glad tidings for him and to others if they die as they lived. 

We would point out that his making his children pay zakaah on their wealth whether it was a little or a lot, and even if the full year had not yet passed, may mean that he made them give charity, not the zakaah that is enjoined in Islam, because zakaah is only due on wealth when it reaches the minimum threshold (nisaab) and one year has passed. We ask Allaah to reward him for his intention, and to reward his children for what they have done. 

Forgetfulness does not mean that the obligation of paying zakaah on his wealth is waived, because the obligation of zakaah is not subject to a person being sound of mind. Hence zakaah is required of young children and the insane. See question no. 75307

What you have to do is to pay zakaah from his wealth on his behalf. You do not have to pay zakaah on the money he receives every month unless one full year has passed since he acquired it. It is difficult to work it out every month, so the easiest way to deal with such a case is to look at when his wealth first reached the nisaab, then calculate one year. When the year has passed, pay zakaah on all that he has, even the income from the last month. Then the zakaah on the first month will have been paid when the year is complete, and the zakaah on the following months will have been paid in advance, and there is nothing wrong with paying zakaah in advance. 

See the answer to question no. 26113 for information on how to pay zakaah on a monthly income. 

And Allaah knows best.

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