QUESTION: Is it obligatory upon the one who has lost his memory, a mentally handicapped, a child and an insane person to fast?
Answer: Verily Allaah, glory be to Him the Most High has obligated upon the individual, worship, if he qualifies for its obligation by possessing a sound mind with which he can comprehend. As for the one who has no comprehension, worship is not obligatory upon him. Therefore it is not obligatory upon the insane or the child who has no understanding. This is from the mercy of Allaah, glory be to Him the Most High. Similarly, the mentally handicapped whose mind has been affected but not to the level of insanity, likewise the aged who has lost his memory as the questioner has mentioned, for fasting, prayer and purification are not obligatory upon him.
[This is] because the one who has lost his memory is similar to the child who has no understanding, and so is no longer responsible for his actions. As for obligation concerning wealth, they are obligatory on his wealth even though he is in such a condition. For example, zakaat is obligatory, for it is upon the one who manages the affairs of such an incapable person to pay the zakaat due on his money because the obligation of zakaat is connected with the wealth. The Most High has said: "Take from their wealth charity in order to purify them and sanctify them with it" (Q9:103)
For He said, "Take from their wealth" and He did not say-take from them". The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Muaadh when he sent him to Yemen: "... inform them that Allaah has obligated upon them a charity in their wealth. it is to be taken from the wealthy amongst them and given to the poor amongst them." (Bukhaaree). He made clear that it is connected with the wealth, even though It is taken from the owner.
Anyhow, a person in such a condition is not exempted from obligations concerning wealth. As for worship concerning the body, such as prayer, purification and fasting, a person in such a condition is absolved of them because he has no mind. As for he who temporarily loses his mind due to unconsciousness or sickness, the prayer is not obligatory upon him according to the opinion of most scholars. So if a sick person falls unconscious for a day or two, then there is no need to replace the missed prayers, because his mind was not with him. He is not like the one who oversleeps about which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"He who sleeps through an obligatory prayer or forgets it, let him pray it when he remembers". (Tirmidhee).
This is because the one who is asleep still has his senses with him, for he can arouse from his sleep if he is woken. As for the one who is unconscious, he cannot wake up even if awoken. This is if his unconsciousness is due to other than himself. As for the one whose unconsciousness is due to himself such as he who gives permission to be anaesthetized, then it is obligatory upon him to replace the prayers missed whilst he was in this state. ( Shaykh Ibn Uthaimeen)
Question: Is zakaat ul-Fitr obligatory or sunnah? And upon whom is it obligatory?
Answer: Zakaat ul-Fitr is obligatory upon all Muslims because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) obligated it upon the male, female, young and old. Its measure is a Saa (A measure of volume. Using both hands to measure one scoop, it is equal to four scoops of an average size man) of food, dates, barley, raisins or cheese. He ordered that it should be paid before the people leave for the Eid prayer. It is a prophetic obligation legislated at the end of Ramadaan to purify the one who fasted from vain talk and obscenity. It is also a feeding of the poor so that they can dispense from begging on the festival of Eid. Allaah is the one who gives success. (Shaykh Ibn Jibreen)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited