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Is Sadaqah al-Fitr/Fitrana paid on behalf of an unborn child?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding the following question? Is it wajib (compulsory) to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr on behalf of an unborn child?

Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allahﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

Sadaqah al-Fitr is a wajib Zakat payment which is given before the Eid Prayer of Eid al-Fitr. Its amount is a sa’ and it is wajib upon every individual Muslim.

Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ made it an obligation to pay charity at the end of Ramadan, a portion of dates or barely, upon the slave and the freeman, the male and female, the young and the old among the Muslims. The Prophet ordered it to be given before people go out for the Eid prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

According to the majority of the Fuqaha of the Hanafi, shafi’i and Maliki schools, Sadaqah al-Fitr is not to be paid on behalf of an unborn child. There is a similar narration also from Imam Ahmad and in Egypt this is the agreed upon ruling.

If the child is born before sunset at the end of Ramadan, then Sadaqah al-Fitr will be paid on its behalf. However, if the child is still in the mother’s womb up until the sunsets, then no Sadaqah al-Fitr is paid.

The Ahnaf also believe that if the child is born on the night of Eid before the beginning of fajr then Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is wajib.

Imam Nawawi says: “According to us, without any disagreement, Sadaqah al-Fitr is not wajib for the unborn child upon the father and neither will it be taken from its own wealth. If before sunset a part of the child is born, then after sunset the rest emerges then similarly in this situation no payment will be made. The reason behind this is that the child has not been born completely so it will take the ruling of an unborn child.

Imam Ibn Munzir has pointed to this ruling being transmitted as ijma’. He says: “All the preserved knowledge of the different regional ‘Ulama has been in accordance with this that it is not wajib to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr on behalf of the unborn child.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari