Question # 553: There is a Mormon (Christian) sister who stays with and is taken care of by her Muslim brother. Is he required to pay Zakat ul-fitra on behalf of her?

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Dear questioner,

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Shorter Answer: The Muslim brother does not have to pay Zakat ul-fitr on behalf of his non-Muslim sister.

Long AnswerZakat ul-fitr must be paid on behalf of every free Muslim, male or female, old or young, [i.e., himself and of those on whom he spends, such as his wife, his children, and his relatives if he is obliged to spend on them.] With regard to the non-Muslim, Zakat ul-fitr is not obligatory for him because of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه), who said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) enjoined Zakat ul-fitr upon the people at the end of Ramadan, a saa‘ of dates or a saa‘ of barley, upon everyone, free or slave, male or female, among the Muslims. (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

[Imam Al-Khatib Ash-Shirbini (Shafi’i Madhhab d. 977H) wrote] in Mughni al-Muhtaaj: “No Zakat ul-fitr is required of one who is originally a non-Muslim because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “of the Muslims,” and this is the consensus of the Muslims. al-Maawardi said: …because it is a purification, and he/[she] (the non-Muslim) is not one of its people (i.e., it is a purification from sin, and there is no purification from sin for the non-Muslim unless he/[she] becomes Muslim).”

Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi [(Shafi’i Madhhab d. 475H)] said in al-Muhadhdhab [fi Fiqh al-Imam al-Shafi’i]: “Nothing is required of him except the Zakat ul-fitr of a Muslim. If the one on whose behalf he is giving it is a non-Muslim, he is not required to give Zakat ul-fitr on his behalf because of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar, “[it was enjoined] upon everyone, male or female, free or slave, among the Muslims.” Moreover, the purpose of Zakat ul-fitr is the purification of the one on whose behalf it is given, and the disbeliever cannot be purified (of sin).”

An-Nawawi [(Shafi’i Madhhab d. 676H)] said in al-Majmu’ [sharh al-Muhadhab]: “Ash-Shafi‘i and his companions said: He is not obliged to give anything except the Zakat ul-fitr of a Muslim; if he has a relative or a wife or a slave who is a non-Muslim, he is obliged to spend on them, but he is not obliged to give Zakat ul-fitr on their behalf. There is no difference of opinion concerning this matter among us. This was also stated by Malik, Ahmad, and Abu Thawr.”

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen [(Hanbali Madhhab d. 1421H)] said in ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘: “It may be understood from the author’s words that he should not give Zakat ul-fitr on behalf of a non-Muslim wife or a non-Muslim slave.”

(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by

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.