Is a mentally disabled person exempt from paying zakat?
March 22, 2016
Q: I have a query regarding whether my mother has to pay zakah on her wealth. My mother has been diagnosed with vascular dementia and the assessments by mental health professionals have concluded that she lacks mental capacity to manage her personal and financial affairs. I have applied and have been successful in being granted the status of Deputy by the court of protection to act on my mothers behalf as regards matters relating to her property and financial affairs, Given the situation that my mother can no longer be classed as sane does she still have to pay zakah on the value of her wealth which currently exceeds the Nisab threshold, If she still has to pay zakah, can I as her deputy make these payments using her funds which I now have access to. I am not clear as to the rulings as to whether my mother still has to pay zakah. We both follow the hanafi madhab. I would be grateful if you can advise on this matter.
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: As your mother has been considered to lack mental capacity to manage her personal and financial affairs, she is no longer obligated by the laws of shari’ah. Thus, she is no longer obliged to pay zakat or discharge any other act of worship. In fact, she can no longer give anything to charity, including zakat, as that is not in her material best interest. As her guardian, you cannot do the same. This is the position of the Hanafi School.