Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The Book of Zakat al-Fitr
The discussion in this book is covered in sections. The first is about the identification of the hukm of zakat al-fitr. The second is about the identification of the person on whom it is obligatory. The third relates to the amount that is due and in what kinds of commodities. The fourth is about the time when it is due. The fifth is about the person entitled to receive it.
The Identification of its Hukum
The majority of the jurists maintain that zakat al-fitr is an obligation. Some of the later jurists in Malik's school held that it is sunna, and this was also the opinion of the jurists of Iraq. One group of jurists said that it stands abrogated by the injunction of zakat (on wealth).
The reason for their disagreement arises from the conflict of the traditions on the issue. This is so as in the authentic tradition of 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar, in which he says, "The Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) declared zakat al-fitr as prescribed for the people at the end of Ramadan, one sa' of dates or one sa' of barley for each freeman or slave, male or female, from among the Muslims". The apparent implication of this is an obligation in accordance with the opinion of those who follow the opinion of a Companion in comprehending it as an obligation, or it implies a recommendation in the command of the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him) as his exact words have not been stated for us. It is also established that the Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) in the well-known tradition about a Bedouin mentioned zakat; the man asked: "Is there another obligation on me besides this?" The Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) replied, "No! unless you pay voluntarily". The majority maintained that this zakat is included in the prescribed zakat (that is, it takes the same hukm of obligation), while others held that it is not. They argued on the basis of what is related from Qays ibn Sa'd ibn 'Ubada that he said, "The Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) used to order us to pay it prior to the revelation of the verse of zakat. When the verse of zakat was revealed he did not command us to pay it nor did he prohibit us from doing so, and we still pay".
The person on whom it is obligatory and the persons on whose behalf it is to be paid
They argued unanimously that the Muslims are the addressees in the command, whether male or female, minor or major, slave or freeman, because of the preceding tradition of Ibn 'Umar, except the deviation by al-Layth, who exempted the residents of the capital from the obligation to pay zakat al-fitr, and restricted it to the residents of the villages, but he has no evidence for this. Another deviation is found in the opinion of those who do not make it obligatory on behalf of the orphans. As to the persons on whose behalf it is obligatory, they agreed that it is obligatory on each person who is able to pay it on his own behalf, for it is a zakat on the person and not on the wealth. It is also obligatory on the person to pay it on behalf of his minor children if they do not own independent wealth, and also for slaves if they do not own any wealth. They differed over what is besides this.
The summary of Malik's opinion is that a person is obliged to pay zakat al-fitr on behalf of all persons whose maintenance is obligatory on him. Al-Shafi'I agreed with him on this, but they differed with reference to their dispute over whom a man is obliged to maintain if he is in difficult straits. Abu Hanifa opposed him with respect to a wife and said that she is to pay for herself. Abu Thawr opposed them in the case of a slave who owns wealth. He said that if he has wealth he is to pay for himself, and his master is not to pay on his behalf. This was also upheld by the Zahirites. The majority maintain that a man is not obliged to pay on behalf of his minor children if they have their own wealth sufficient for zakat al-fitr. This was the opinion of al-Shafi'i, Abu Hanifa, and Malik. Al-Hasan said that the liability is upon the father, and if he pays it out of the wealth of his son (child) he is to compensate it.
Affluence is not a condition for this kind of zakat, according to most of the jurists, and there is no nisab, but they only stipulated that this zakat be a surplus over his need for food for himself and for his family. Abu Hanifa and his disciples said that it is not obligatory on a person entitled to claim sadaqa, as it is not possible that a person should be liable for it as well as entitled to it. This is evident, Allah knows best.
The majority maintain that this zakat is not dependent on the prerequisite of being a mukallaf (that is, a person responsible for the performance of worship), as is the case with other forms of worship. The obligation, therefore, applies to minors and slaves (and to the insane person). (It is to be paid on their behalf by their guardian or maintainer.) Those who understood from this that the underlying cause of the hukm is wilaya said that the wali is under an obligation to pay the sadaqa (zakat al-fitr) for all those who are under his guardianship. Those who understood the cause to be maintenance said that it is the maintainer who is to pay the zakat al-fitr for all those whom he is obliged to maintain under the law. This disagreement arose because they agreed over the minor and the slave, and it is these two cases that point out that this zakat is not linked to the person of the mukallaf alone, but is owed on behalf of others if guardianship and the obligation to maintain exist. Malik, then, maintained that the underlying cause is the obligation to maintain, while Abu Hanifa held that the cause here is wilaya, and for that reason they differed over the wife. It is related as a marfu' tradition that: "Pay the zakat al-fitr on behalf of all those whose burden of maintenance has been placed upon you". It is, however, not well-known.
They disagreed over the case of slaves on a number of issues. The first, as we have mentioned, is the obligation of his zakat on his master if he (the slave) has wealth. This is based on the point of whether he can or cannot own something. The second case is about the slave who is a disbeliever, whether he (the master) should pay zakat on his behalf. Malik, al-Shafi'i, and Ahmad said that there is no obligation of zakat on the master for his disbelieving slave. The Kufis said that he is liable for zakat on his behalf. The reason for their disagreement stems from their dispute over the addition on the issue laid down in the tradition of Ibn 'Umar. This relates to his words "the Muslims", over which Nafi' has been opposed, as Ibn 'Umar being narrator of the tradition also held the opinion that zakat is to be paid on behalf of disbelieving slaves. There is another reason for the disagreement and that is whether the obligation of zakat on the master for his slave is due to the fact that the slave is a mukallaf or whether he is property. Those who maintained that it is due to his being a mukallaf stipulated that being a disbeliever is a condition, while those who said that it is due to his being property did not stipulate it. These latter jurists said that this is indicated by the consensus of the jurists that if the slave is freed and the master has not paid zakat al-fitr on his behalf, it is not obligatory for him to pay as in the case in expiation. The third issue is about the mukatab. Malik and Abu Thawr said that the master is to pay zakat al-fitr on his behalf. Al-Shafi'i, Abu Hanifa, and Ahmad said that he is not obliged to pay on his behalf. The reason for the disagreement emanates from the vacillation of the case of the mukatab between a freeman and slave. The fourth is the case of slaves acquired for trade. Malik, al-Shafi'i, and Ahmad held that the master is obliged to pay zakat al-fitr on their behalf, while Abu Hanifa and others besides him said that there is no sadaqa payable for slaves owned for purposes of trade. The reason for the disagreement arises from the conflict of analogy with the general implication (in the tradition). This is so as the general implication of the word slave (used in the preceding tradition) implies the obligation of zakat for slaves owned for trade as well as others. In Abu Hanifa's view this general implication is restricted by analogy, and that is due to the convergence of two kinds of zakat in a single type of wealth. They disagreed, likewise, in the case of slaves owned by slaves and the cases under this topic are many.
The categories (of wealth) from which it is obligatory
From what kind of wealth is it due? A group of jurists held that it is due either in wheat, or dates, or barley, or in aqit (cheese made from sour milk), and that this is a choice of the person on whom it is obligatory. Another group of jurists held that it is obligatory upon him in the staple food of the land, or in the food of the mukallaf if he does not possess the dominant staple food. This is what 'Abd al-Wahhab has related as the opinion of the School (Malik's).
The reason for their disagreement stems from their dispute over the meaning of the tradition of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, who said, "We used to pay zakat al-fitr during the period of the Messenger of Allah (God' peace and blessings be upon him) as a sa' of food or a sa' of barley or a sa' of aqit or a sa' of dried dates". Those who understood a choice from this said that any of these things he pays in is sufficient. Those who understood from it that the variety in payment is not a basis of permissibility, but is the consideration of the food of the person paying or of the staple food of the land, upheld the second opinion.
How much is obligatory? The jurists agreed that the zakat al-fitr paid in the form of dried dates or barley is not to be less than one sa', because that has been established in the tradition of Ibn 'Umar. They disagreed about the quantity the person may pay in wheat. Malik and al-Shafi'i said that less than one sa' would not be sufficient, while Abu Hanifa and his disciples said that one-half sa' is sufficient.
The reason for their disagreement stems from the conflict of traditions. It is related in the tradition Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, who said, "We used to pay zakat al-fitr during the period of the Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) as a sa' of food or a sa' of barley or a sa' of aqit or a sa' of dried dates or a sa' of raisins". The apparent meaning is that by food he meant wheat. Al-Zuhri has also related from Abu Sa'id from his father that the Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) said, "For the sadaqa of fitr is one sa' of wheat shared by two persons or a sa' of barley or one of dates for each person". It is recorded by Abu Dawud. It is related from Ibn al-Musayyab that he said, "The sadaqa of fitr in the period of the Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) was one-half sa' of wheat of one sa' of barley or one sa' of dried dates". Those who adopted these traditions said that the obligation is for one-half sa' of wheat, while those who adopted the apparent meaning of the tradition of Abu Sa'id made an analogy for wheat upon barley and held them to be similar for the obligation.
When is zakat al-fitr due?
When does zakat al-fitr become (immediately) due? [Otherwise, its payment may be voluntarily advanced any time during the month of Ramadan, which is good for the poor who may have to prepare food for consumption.] They agreed that it becomes obligatory at the end of Ramadan, because the tradition of Ibn 'Umar that "The Messenger of Allah (God's peace and blessings be upon him) declared zakat al-fitr as prescribed for the people at the end of Ramadan". They disagreed over the determination of a specific time. Malik, in a narration from him by Ibn al-Qasim, makes it obligatory with the breaking of the dawn on the day of fitr. Ashhab has related from him that he considers it obligatory at sunset on the last day of Ramadan. The first opinion was also held by Abu Hanifa and the second opinion by al-Shafi'i. The reason for their disagreement is whether it is a worship associated with the day of 'id or with the passing of the month of Ramadan [this happens at sunset on the last day of Ramadan], as the night of 'id is not part of Ramadan. The application of this dispute is to be seen in the case of a child born before morning on the day of 'id, but after sunset (of the last day of Ramadan). Is zakat al-fitr obligatory on behalf of this child? [It is not according to the first ruling, but it is according to the second opinion.]
Avenues of expenditure
To whom is it to be paid? They agreed that it is to be paid to the poor, because of the saying of the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him), "Make them free from want on this day". They disagreed whether it is permissible for the poor of the Ahl al-Dhimma. The majority maintain that it is not permitted for them, while Abu Hanifa said that it is permissible.
The reason for their disagreement is whether the basis for its entitlement is poverty alone, or it is poverty as well as being a Muslim. Those who maintained that it is poverty as well as being Muslim did not permit it for the dhimmiyun, while those who maintained that it is poverty alone permitted it for them. One group, however, stipulated for the Ahl-Dhimma that they be monks.
The Muslim jurists agreed unanimously, however, that the zakat on wealth is not permitted for the Ahl al-Dhimma, because of the saying of the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him): "It is a sadaqa acquired from their rich and bestowed on their poor".- Ibn Rushd's Bidayat al-Mujtahid, (The Distinguished Jurist's Primer); Professor Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee (translator); Professor Mohammad Abdul Rauf (reviewer)
posted by DiCrypTor | 11/01/2005 03:43:00 PM |
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