Zakat on a minor's wealth
Is zakat obligatory on the money of a minor used for trade purposes?
The majority of scholars have maintained that zakat is obligatory on the wealth of a minor, a spendthrift or an insane person who is suspended from dealings. This is the opinion implemented for fatwa because zakat is a financial right upon the wealth itself and therefore is not waived by young age, extravagance or insanity; guardians pay it on their charges' behalf. Scholars based their opinion on the general implication of the Qur`anic verses and authentic hadiths on the obligation of zakat on wealth that has reached nisab (minimum amount upon which zakat is due) and which has been in a person's possession for one lunar year.
- Take, [O Mohammed], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah's blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. [At-Tauba: 103]
- When the Prophetsent Mu'adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) to Yemen, he told him, "Inform [the people of Yemen] that Allah has commanded them to pay charity on their property; it is to be taken from the rich from among them and given to their poor" [Muslim]. Since poor minors, spendthrifts and the insane are eligible to receive zakat, they must pay it if they are wealthy.
- Al-Shafi'i reported through Yusuf Ibn Mahek that the Prophetsaid, "Trade with the funds of orphans so that they may not be used up by zakat" [This is a mursal hadith that is strengthened by the general implication of the above textual evidences and by its chains of transmission and similar hadiths on the topic. The same was mentioned in a mawquf hadith from 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him)].
- At-Tabarani mentioned in Al-Mu'gam Al-Awsat that Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, "Trade with the funds of orphans lest they be consumed by zakat" [The hadith scholar, Al-'Iraqi, declared it authentic].
- 'Amr Ibn Shu'aib narrated from his father who reported from his grandfather that the Prophet said, "Whoever is entrusted with the money of an orphan, is to trade in it lest it be consumed by zakat" [At-Tirmidhi].
Had zakat not been obligatory on the property of minors, spendthrifts and the insane, it would not have been permissible for a guardian to pay it from their charges' wealth.
This is because a guardian is not allowed to spend or make voluntary donations from his charge's money except towards obligatory matters. For this reason, the Prophet commanded guardians to invest the wealth of their charges to prevent it from being consumed by the zakat owned on it. The obligation of zakat on the wealth of minors and spendthrifts has been authentically reported from 'Umar, Ali, Ibn 'Umar, 'A`isha and Jaber Ibn 'Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them all). Nothing contradictory is known to have been mentioned by any of the Companions except for a weak report from Ibn 'Abbas that is not used as evidence.
This is the opinion that that best conforms to the legislation of zakat in Islam as a financial obligation that is to be paid to deserving recipients, attested to by the words of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). He said, "Zakat is a right due on wealth." Moreover, minors and the insane must fulfill any financial obligations due upon them, which their guardians make from their charges' wealth.
Zakat is an obligation on the wealth of a minor, spendthrift and the insane; their guardians pay it on their behalf under the following conditions:
- That zakat exceeds the charge's expenditures and basic needs;
- That the wealth reaches nisab;
- That one lunar year passes upon the wealth's possession;
- The value of zakat is 2.5% of the wealth.
Allah Almighty knows best.