listen to Parents or Creator?

Q: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
(first paragraph omitted)

I am a college student. I do not work and I earn my money from my parents, scholarships, and other sources. I have about 6,200$ that I have been saving since April 2010 for my school, I want to pay my Zakah at the beginning of this Ramadan, and I am aware that the Hawel (one year) has not gone around, but I want to pay it in advance just to build a habit, start learning how to calculate my Zakah, and purify the money. However, my father is opposing me, he is not letting me do that because he thinks the year has to go around the money I have so it becomes obligated. I tried to discuss it with him and told him that if I waited until next year, I won’t be able to pay it in Ramadan 2011 for doubled reward, but rather I will have to pay it in April 2011. Off course, I always become the loser when arguing with my parents.
1-Is it okay to pay my Zakah in advance?
2-Should I do what my parents are telling me, or should I just give my Zakah without letting them know?
3-If I do not give my Zakah by 2011 April? Will I be sinful? Can I extend the Hawel to Ramadan 2011 for the better Reward?
4- If I calculated my Zakah and I found out theoretically that 100$ is my given Zakah, can I ask my father(since he is in a different country) to pay the 100$ from his money to the poor who he knows and then I give the 100$ (Zakah amount)to him later??

Jazaka Allahu Khairan

Time: Saturday August 7, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Answers: The first paragraph has been omitted, for it is remains irrelevant for the general public. Your kind words remain inspirational for me and our website. I wish you and your family the same as well, ameen.

Your question has placed us in a quagmire. We want to help you make a wholesome decision wherein, not only are you correct with matters of zakah, but at the same time, you do not hurt yourself with respect to keeping up with parental obligations/rights. We do agree, each has a unique place in the life of a believer.

Q:1-Is it okay to pay my Zakah in advance?

A: 1) Yes, one can pay zakat in advance. More so if a worthy person came by, it may prove more beneficial in some instances. However, one is not obligated to do so.

Q:2-Should I do what my parents are telling me, or should I just give my Zakah without letting them know?
A:2) If you are indeed the owner (maalik) of the wealth, then you (alone) are responsible for payment of the zakah due on it.

Allah has placed it in your heart to do good deeds. One must thank Allah for this ability. Whenever the thought of good comes, we should act upon it without contradicting those that surround us. Those who surround us must also inspire us to do good deeds (Derived from Quran). ‘There is no obedience to the creation, when this creation (be it parents, children, etc.) demands that we disobey the Creator. We should, however, be civil about our differences. We must not behave incorrectly with those who choose a life choice that is not entirely befitting the noble pathways. You are undergoing a test between monetary and social relations.  Making a good choice would give you greater reward in both, Insha’Allah.

Q:3) 3-If I do not give my Zakah by 2011 April? Will I be sinful? Can I extend the Hawel to Ramadan 2011 for the better reward?

A:3) Yes, if you did not pay your Zakah on the Islamic date equivalent in 2011 (1432) you would be sinful.

To intentionally extend this date from the time one has become sahebe nisab would warrant one being sinful without a valid reason even though extending the ‘Hawel,’ is logical and to make it occur in Ramadaan is easier for people accustomed to the secular calendar. (See scenario) It may be better to keep your original Islamic date and pay it throughout the year and give greater portions of it in Ramadaan. This can also benefit the poor in the long run, for following the Islamic calendar would give better accountability in the long run in comparison to the secular calendar, as the Islamic calendar is shorter by ten days (approximately) versus the solar year (Gregorian – as used in the US.) Also, if done with the intent of gaining the greater reward in Ramadaan, then this too would be beneficial. The following method has been outlined on how it can be done.

Estimate as accurately as possible the amount owed between the Islamic date of April 2010 (1431) and a date you have fixed to pay your zakat in Ramadan (1431).  Thereafter, start your new cycle from the Ramadan (1431) date and use this given new Ramadan date each year from 1431 onwards.  When paying for the first time next year (1432) in Ramadaan, add the approximated difference between April 1431 and the Ramadaan of 1431 to compensate the difference of the first year shortfall (The year of 1431.) From next year (1432) onwards, it would get much easier inshaAllah for you, as you have now fixed your yearly cycle.

Q:4- If I calculated my Zakah and I found out theoretically that 100$ is my given Zakah, can I ask my father(since he is in a different country) to pay the 100$ from his money to the poor who he knows and then I give the 100$ (Zakah amount)to him later??
A:4)  Yes, you can make your father the wakeel (representative/trustee of assets) of your zakat and you can pay him back later.

Your questions imply you really want to do the right thing. I applaud you in these challenging times when people want to avoid social and economic responsibility. May Allah bless you and make for of us like you Ameen.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

p.s. One cannot change the date that is fixed. However, we hope the above ruling used in conjunction with our advice would help you circumvent problems with the above modifications in mind would help. Send us a followup if we are not clear at all. Its you zakah, its your deen, so act wisely. Ask!

p.s. You are welcome to give to any poor person what is called sadaqah — supererogatory charity. This you can give at any time. To give it in Ramadan would derive you greater reward (as derived from hadith) One cannot obey a person in doing something that is wrong. In this case, since zakat is not obligatory upon you, you would not need to give it. However, if the money is indeed yours, you can pay it in advance. Giving it in advance should not create greater chaos in your home. If you are indeed a mature, rational, sane human being, then it would be unfair for your parents to limit your giving of charity as depicted by you.


7 responses to “listen to Parents or Creator?

  1. Very well put ya Sheikh. May Allah reward you and He is the Best Rewarder. But ya Sheikh I am afraid of letting my dear father know, because there will be a possibility of him feeling upset; he might think that I am trying to decrease my respect toward him by showing that I am better than him, or things around that matter. I am young, I’ve always been dependent on them, and I barely started saving money, so I think that’s why. Although, insha’Allah I will be working on finding the way that either pleases him, or I’ll try to keep it secret.

    Regarding the money owning fact. I think I am indeed the fully owner of that money, because whenever my parents need some money, they ask my permission, not only that, but they insist on making sure that I let them borrow some money with my complete satisfaction and agreement. They return the money whenever they can alhamdu lillah. So I think that is kind of an evidence..right?? or not?

    My father argues the fact that we can pay Zakat in advance. He was saying to me that if we can pay Zakat in advance, then why cannot we fast Sha’aban before Ramadhan if we wanted to fast in advance too. I didn’t know what to say when mentioned that. How would you reply to such an argument?

    (0mmitted for a correction has been made in our original response)
    2010/1431Ramadan-2011/1432 Ramadan: 400$ +the 300$ (from last year)=700??
    What do you mean “When paying for the first time next year (1432) in Ramadaan”?? why is it considered the first time since I will insha’Allah be paying it this month insha’Allah?

    Sorry I am getting dizzy.
    Jazaka Allahu Khairan

    • Notes: (i think we got a major tangle. here is an example when a scholar tries to over help a situation and crashers! My answer should have been only number 5 below! read on why)

      1)your father seems to be a rational man. Money is a hard thing to let go. Your father loves you and wants you to keep to your money. The matter is not limited to the domain of just your father. Its about doing the right thing. And this is what you want. Thus, the tug of war, push and pull…
      2) your claim that you are the owner solidifies the fact that you indeed must be mature enough to make your own decision on this matter. Thus, it has little to do with respecting your father, imaam, etc. It is now religious matter. On the day of Qiyamah you would not be able to use to use your father as an excuse.
      3) The same rule of praying salah early, fasting a month early etc. would not apply. In all these cases, these are actions for purely yourself and Allah.
      As for Zakat, it is to benefit another. This is one of the simple reasons as to why the sharia allows advance zakah payment for the one that wishers to give it prior. If a beggar came to you and you helped him/her out, in reality you many be helping them more than yourself at that instance. You are giving when you do not need to give. In doing so, sharia is ‘helping you’ but letting it count as your zakat. In the case of salah and fast, you are merely helping your ego via an advance prayer, fast, etc. Thus Sharia and religious actions are not based on an ego boost or a whim or an action based on personal desire……
      4) ‘What do you mean “When paying for the first time next year (1432) in Ramadaan”?? why is it considered the first time since I will insha’Allah be paying it this month insha’Allah?’
      *Well, if you not paying in 1431, since you really do not need to pay in Ramadaan 1431 (is it not that your dad may not want you to pay since you do not quality to pay?! We were trying to give you an answer that reduces your personal family conflict. Trying to keep you and your family happy while doing the right thing for religion) thus, since Ramadaan 1431 is not being paid and 1431 Ramadaan is when you seem to want to pay, then in such a case, you would fix it from Ramadaan 1431 to Ramadaan 1432, plus the Islamic date of april 1431 added to the mix. See 5 below.

      5) Do as religion states: just pay from when you become eligible to pay zakah, (april) this would Allah happy, you happy, me happy and your father happy.
      6) Still dizzy? Relax for a few days. Come back and evaluate the matter. Still dizzy? may its time for doctors visit.
      Allah Certainly Knows Best.

      • No, not dizzy anymore Sheikh, no doctor no nothing. Alright, I comprehended your explanation regarding when to start giving my Zakah, and I think I can start my Zakah from Ramadan 1432 insha’Allah. Just correct me ya Sheikh if I got anything from below wrong.
        -So Ramadan1431/23rd_ Ramadan 1432/23rd: $$$ (let say my Zakat amount) + $$$ (the Zakat amount from April 2010/1341_Ramadan 1341/23rd)..right?
        -From Ramadan 1432/23rd_Ramadan 1433/23rd: amount of Zakat without adding anything..right?
        -One more question Sheikh and I will stop asking too many question. Just making sure, at the end of each Hawel, I pay Zakat out of the money that I have at the end of the year, and I am not suppose to include any changes that the money went through throughout the year? Like, if I had 5,000 and it became 10,000 at the end of the year, then I pay Zakah out of the 10,000. Or if I had 10,000 and it became 5,000 at the end of the year, then I pay Zakah out of 5,000..right?
        Jazaka Allahu Khairan ala Khair ya Sheikh…I am very glad and Thankful to Allah that I got the previous questions answered.

        • point 1: Right
          point 2: Right
          point 3: Right
          Grade: A++-
          You are always welcome to ask. Your questions are a pleasure. It is nice to see people care about wanting to do the right thing.

  2. Asalaamualaykum,

    Quick Q:
    I’ve heard that money given towards Masjids and such are not Zakaat and that it is rather Sadaqa (is that true?). As such, where or to whom can I pay Zakaat to?

    I know that I can pay to poor family members, but that is difficult because I hardly know my family members back home (we only visit once in a span of 5 years). My parents are similar to the questioners, so I have to sort of do this in secrecy.


    PS: I’ve been giving $30 a month to a charitable organization…does that count?

    • *Zakah needs to be owned by a person. It needs a malik (possessor) A musjid cannot own money. Humans can possess money, not a building.
      *One can give it to a musjid with the intent that they would give it to a poor person for you. However, if they did not and used it upon personal fixtures due to an internet fatwa, etc, then you would be still held accountable in the Sight of Allah. Thus we recommend that you find an eligible person to absolve yourself from this responsibility. (we are not saying musjids are dishonest, we are just wanting you to be responsible for your zakah. It is the right of the poor, not a musjid, school or your Imaam)
      *All poor people are not back home. In our current economy we have locals as well. (And if it means making a trip and finding an orphan back home, go do it. The joy of life is to make someone else fulfilled. No?!)
      *as for you p.s., if the charitable organization was eligible to collect zakah and used it in the proper manner and your intention was zakah, then it would be accepted. Sad to say, many of these zakah foundations take your money and deduct monies to advert campaigns, pay non Muslim executives for PR related work (up and over the tune of $400 000), 5 star hotel costs at the Hilton towers, etc, etc. This ‘zakah’ matter have proven itself as a lucrative business. Thus, out of your $30 a month, only 15 may at times count, the rest goes as transaction fees! Thus, at times, 15 would count as zakah and the rest you would have to re-give for its reward would be sadaqah and not zakah (in our given example).
      Allah Certainly Knows best.

  3. Asalaamualaykum,

    Thanks for making that clear. I’ll see what I can do about my Zakat, InshAllah.
    My follow up questions is: Can Muslims only give their Zakat to other Muslims?

    This question has been the source of a lot of arguing for people close to me, InshAllah I hope you can justify the answer with Quran quotes (If not, then that’s fine as well, but if I’m going into a friendly argument, it’d be best to have my facts straight from the Holy source)