What should we do with outstanding Zakat at the time of death? Can it be paid from the estate? [Published as received]
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
If a person passes away with outstanding Zakat and he bequeathed the payment of Zakat, the executors must honour the bequest and discharge Zakat from the estate after funeral costs and debts have been settled. If the value of the outstanding Zakat is more than one third the residual estate, then the executor will only recover the outstanding Zakat up to one-third of the residual estate.
To discharge the outstanding Zakat from more than one-third of the residual estate, the approval and consent of the mature inheritors would be required. The share of minor inheritors cannot be used to pay the additional Zakat. Alternatively, any of the relatives can voluntarily discharge Zakat on behalf of the deceased from their own funds.
In the scenario that the deceased had not bequeathed the settling of the outstanding Zakat, then the Zakat will not be settled from the estate.
The Fiqh of the Answer
Imam Abu Hafṣ Sirāj al-Dīn al-Ghaznawī (d.773 AH) writes that this is the view of Imam Abū Hanīfah (d.150 AH) and his companions. Imam al-Kāsānī (d.587 AH), Imam Muhammad Akmal al-Dīn al-Babirtī (d.786 AH), Imam Mahmūd ibn Aḥmad Badr al-Dīn al- ʿAynī (d.855 AH) and Imam Ibn ʿAbidīn (d.1252 AH) all document this view of the Imams of the Madhhab.
The basis (Binā’) of this Mas’alah is that Zakat is from the rights of Almighty Allah. The rights of Almighty Allah connected to this world cease to exist upon death. The Ibtilā’ (tests) that were addressed to mankind were only in this world. The rights of Almighty Allah such as Ibādāt (rituals) are part of that Ibtilā’. Upon death, the Ibtilā’ is no longer applicable, and therefore those elements of Sharīʿah which are purely composed of rights of Almighty Allah, such as Ibādāt, are no longer in effect. Zakat was something primarily between Almighty Allah and His servant whilst the servant was in this world, and now that he has departed this world, it is no longer binding upon him, as the Ibtilā’ is no longer applicable.
Once a person passes away, their wealth leaves their ownership, and the estate is legally and technically (Ḥukman) in the ownership of their inheritors. Due to this, they cannot exercise any transactions over the wealth, except for the exception afforded by the Sharīʿah, that is one third. Thus, if a person does not utilise this exception to make any final amends or bequests, then the right to spend will be lost as they have no more ties to it.
The mature inheritors can agree to override the cap of one-third as the cap was set to protect their interests as inheritors, as such, they have the power to forfeit their right and overlook their interests in the interest of the deceased.
And Almighty Allah Alone Knows
Maulana Mohammed Aneesur Rahman
Reviewed and approved by
Mufti Faraz Adam
Darul Iftaa Muadh ibn Jabal
The views and opinions expressed in this answer belong only to the author and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of any institutions to which he may be affiliated.
Arguments and ideas propounded in this answer are based on the juristic interpretations and reasoning of the author. Given that contemporary issues and interpretations of contemporary issues are subjective in nature, another Mufti may reach different conclusions to the one expressed by the author. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure total accuracy and soundness from a Shari’ah perspective, the author is open to any correction or juristic guidance. On the event of any juristic shortcomings, the author will retract any or all of the conclusions expressed within this answer.
The Shari’ah ruling given herein is based specifically on the scenario in question. The author bears no responsibility towards any party that acts or does not act on this answer and is exempted from any and all forms of loss or damage. This answer may not be used as evidence in any court of law without prior written consent from the author. Consideration is only given and is restricted to the specific links provided, the author does not endorse nor approve of any other content the website may contain.
ومنها موت من عليه الزكاة من غير وصية عندنا… وجملة الكلام فيه أن من عليه الزكاة إذا مات قبل أدائها فلا يخلو إما أن كان أوصى بالأداء وإما أن كان لم يوص فإن كان لم يوص تسقط عنه في أحكام الدنيا حتى لا تؤخذ من تركته ولا يؤمر الوصي أو الوارث بالأداء من تركته عندنا (بدائع الصنائع للكاساني)
من مات وعليه حقوق الله تعالى من صلاة أو صيام أو زكاة أو حج أو كفارة أو نذر أو صدقة فطر، فإما أن يوصي بها أو لا، فإن كان الثاني لم تؤخذ من تركته ولم تجبر الورثة على إخراجها لكن لهم أن يتبرعوا بذلك، وإن كان الأول ينفذ من ثلث ماله عندنا (العناية للبابرتي)
يلزم الولي الفداء عنه من الثلث إذا أوصى وإلا فلا يلزم، بل يجوز قال في السراج: وعلى هذا الزكاة لا يلزم الوارث إخراجها عنه إلا إذا أوصى إلا أن يتبرع الوارث بإخراجها (حاشية رد المحتار على الدر المختار لابن عابدين)
قوله: (ومن مات وعليه زكاة أو صدقة فطر أو صوم نذر أو كفارة: سقطت) لأنها حق الله تعالى، ولا يؤخذ من تركته إلا إذا أوصى، فيؤخذ من الثلث، لأن تصرفه من الثلث لا غير (منحة السلوك في شرح تحفة الملوك لبدر الدين العيني)
مذهب أبي حنيفة وأصحابه أنه إذا اجتمع على إنسان زكاة سنين ثم مات قبل الأداء ولم يوص بإخراج الزكاة لا تؤخذ من التركة (الغرة المنيفة في تحقيق بعض مسائل الإمام أبي حفص سراج الدين الغزنوي)