Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally
Question: Assalamu Alaikum,
According to the Shafi’i school, what are the prerequisites that make it obligatory upon an individual to pay Zakat al-Mal? Specifically, is being legally responsible a prerequisite that makes it incumbent upon one to pay Zakat al-Mal?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Two Conditions Related to the Person
The conditions that render Zakat al-Mal obligatory in the Shafi’i school are that a person be Muslim and free, as opposed to a non-Muslim or slave.
Having legal responsibility is not a prerequisite for the obligation of zakat. Zakat is therefore also obligatory upon the wealth of (1) a child or (2) a person with a mental health condition (al-majnun).
How Zakat is Paid
In such cases in which legal responsibility is not present, it is obligatory for their legal guardian to pay the zakat on their behalf from their wealth. This applies if the guardian follows a school (Shafi’i) that considers this obligatory, as opposed to a school that does not (Hanafi). If the guardian fails to pay it on their behalf, it becomes obligatory upon both to do so if they become legally responsible.
Source: Al-Hawashi al-Madaniyyah