I am an adherent to Hanafi fiqh. What is the ruling on Zakah when a couple has a joint account? Is it OK if only the husband pays zakah on the total amount of the joint account? Please be aware that both husband and wife have full access to the account.
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Jazak Allah for contacting us for your query.
The joint account of a couple would fall under the rulings of joint property (shared ownership).
There can be several scenarios for such a joint account, hence the zakah can be paid in numerous ways.
- If each partner's individual amounts are known, than each partner can discharge their zakah on their individual amounts, once the amount reaches the nisaab and a lunar year has passed.
- If each partner's individual separate amounts are unknown, than there is no harm in one partner discharging the zakah on the total amount on behalf of both partners, following all the applicable rules of Zakah. However, in such a scenario, it is mandatory for the partner that is discharging the zakah, to be granted permission from the other partner for this.
Imam Abul Hasan Al Quduri writes, "None of the partners are to pay the Zakah of the wealth of the other without his permission' (Mukhtasar Al Quduri)
Some general references regarding financial partnership:
“Allah’s hand is with partners in business as long as they do not betray each other.” (Abu Dawud).
“Profit return is shared according to conditions determined freely by partners. And the loss is dealt with according to ratio of their capitals.” (Ibn Majah)
“Many partners oppress one another (in business), except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and very few they are.” (Holy Quran 38:24).
And Allah Knows Best.