Question # 544: My father is eligible to pay Zakat and he is not paying it. Can I pay on his behalf? Will it be counted towards him? I am asking this question because I read few days back the below Hadith from Sahih Muslim Sahih Muslim – 2277 ( International Numbering 982) Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) sent Umar for (collecting) Sadaqa (zakat), and it was said that Ibn Jamil, Khalid b. Walid and ‘Abbas the uncle of the Messenger of Allah ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ), refused (to pay it). Upon this the Messenger of Allah ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) said: Ibn Jamil is taking revenge but for this that he was destitute and Allah made him rich. As regards Khalid, you are unjust to Khalid, for be reserved his armours and weapons for the sake of Allah, and as for ‘Abbas, I shall be responsible for it and an equal amount along with it. And he again said: ‘Umar, bear this in mind, the uncle of a person is like his father. Thanks
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: It is not valid for the son to pay Zakat on his father’s behalf without his knowledge and consent because the intention is a condition for Zakat to be accepted. Nevertheless, the son has to kindly advise his father that refusing to pay Zakat is one of the great major sins. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said in an authentic hadith that one who does not pay Zakat, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a poisonous snake, which will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’
Long Answer: When the wealth of [a Muslim] reaches its Nisaab (i.e., minimum amount for which Zakat becomes obligatory; equal to 85 grams of gold) and a full Hijri year has passed, it becomes obligatory upon him to give Zakat immediately. If he refuses to pay Zakat while denying its obligation, he has disbelieved if he knows its ruling… It is not right (valid) for his [son] to pay Zakat on [his father’s] behalf without his knowledge and consent because the intention is a condition for Zakat to be accepted. If [he] pays Zakat on his behalf without his intention, it is not accepted from him.
The [son] has to do [his] best to advise him with kindness and leniency and remind him of Allah, Most High, and His punishment because refusing to pay Zakat is one of the great major sins.
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “If one is granted wealth by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed, poisonous, male snake with two black spots over the eyes (or two poisonous glands in its mouth). The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.'” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
[Therefore, for the Zakat to be valid, there must be an intention from the payer, which clearly isn’t the case here unless the son seeks his father’s permission.]
(The above reply is based on a similar answer provided by Islamweb.net, a website belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.