Question: Who are eligible to receive zakat, sadaqah
al-fitr, and fidyah?
They are as follows:
1. Zakat cannot be given to a rich person. A person is
defined as rich if he/she possesses minimum amount of wealth (nisab)
requiring him/her to perform udhiyyah. Zakat is not given to
parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, wives, and disbelievers. It can
be given to daughters-in-law, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, sons-in-law,
mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, and stepchildren, on condition
that they are poor. If one’s close relatives are pious (salih), then it
brings much more thawab to give zakat to them than to give it
to anyone else. If one does not have a pious relative, one should prefer other
2. According to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i
Muhammad, a woman is permitted to give zakat to her husband if he is
Islamically poor. There is nothing wrong with acting on this ijtihad if
he is in financial difficulty.
3. Zakat cannot be given
to charitable organizations. None of the mujtahid scholars said that
zakat could be given to charitable organizations, and there is
consensus on its impermissibility. To be able to give zakat to
dormitories and charitable organizations, an official from it should be
appointed by a poor person as his proxy. The poor person should say, “I appoint
you as proxy to receive zakat on my behalf and to spend it as you
wish.” Alternatively, it is enough to say “I appoint you as my general proxy to
receive zakat.” Then the proxy can spend the zakat he received
on the needs of students and the organization. By doing so, one has both obeyed
Islam and paid zakat in conformity with what Islam
4. A hadith-i sharif says, “Even if a
person who is learning knowledge has 40 years’ subsistence, it is permissible to
give him zakat.” Those who learn and teach Islamic knowledge can
receive zakat even if they are rich, since they do not have time to
work and earn money. (Durr-ul-Muhtar)
cannot be given to a small child if his/her father is rich. Zakat can
be given to a small poor child if his/her father is poor. It can also be given
to an insane person if he/she is poor. The zakat to be given to a child
or an insane person should be given to his/her father, wali, or
wasi. Zakat cannot be given to a rich person’s small child
even if the child is poor. However, it can be given to the rich person's wife,
adolescent child, or father if he or she is poor. Herein, an adolescent child
refers to a child who is discreet and has reached puberty. A small child refers
to a child who is not discreet and has not reached puberty yet.
In the past, zakat was not given to the descendant of our Master
the Prophet. Today, it is permissible to give zakat to them. (Durr-i
Things to note when giving or receiving
1. Zakat cannot be given to a
non-Muslim. [A zimmi means a non-Muslim citizen living in an Islamic
state.] In the past, fitrah, kaffarah, nazr, and
alms, except zakat, could be given to a zimmi. Today, there is
not a zimmi in the world.
2. It is necessary to make
inquires about the person to be given zakat. Zakat is not
given based on one’s guess. It will not be valid if given to the rich, parents,
children, or non-Muslims. However, if one make inquiries and then gives
zakat but discovers later that the recipient is rich or a non-Muslim,
one’s zakat is valid. It is not necessary to pay zakat again
as one gave it after inquiring.
3. One should prefer one's pious
relatives for zakat because it brings much more thawab to give
zakat to pious relatives who are poor. A hadith-i sharif says,
“Allahu ta’ala does not accept a zakat given to someone else while
one has a poor relative.” That is, in this case one is counted as having
paid zakat, but one cannot earn the huge thawab promised in
return for zakat. If one does not have a pious relative, then one
should prefer other pious Muslims.
4. Gold to be given to a poor
person as zakat should not be so much that it will make the poor person
Islamically rich. It is makruh to give a poor person who does not have
any debt 96 grams or more gold. If the poor person has debts of, say, 10 grams
of gold, then it is not makruh for him/her to receive 100 grams of gold
5. When giving zakat, it is not
necessary to say to the recipient that it is zakat. The donor can say
that it is a gift.
6. It is haram for a person who has a
day's food to ask someone for zakat and sadaqah, but it is
permissible to receive sadaqah and zakat if it is given
without him asking for it. Zakat should be given, if possible, to pious
Muslims in need.
7. It is makruh to give gold as
zakat to a poor person and then to buy it at a low price.
It is not permissible to donate one's receivable to a poor debtor as
zakat. If a poor person owes to a rich person, who gives the bond of
debt to the former and says, "I have intended to pay you as zakat as
much as you owe me. So, accept this and take it as the equivalent for your debt"
and if the poor person says that he accepts it, the rich person will not have
paid his zakat because zakat is not given by giving bonds of debt or by
(mutual) consent; it is performed by handing the commodity. The rich person has
to pay his zakat to the poor person and the poor has to pay his debt by
returning it to the rich after taking it from the rich person.
If he cannot count on the poor person’s returning the money, he shows a
person whom he trusts to the poor person and says, "Appoint this person your
deputy to take your zakat and to pay your debt" and then gives
zakat to the deputy, who returns it to the rich person, thus paying the
poor person’s debt. Thus, zakat has been given in conformity with what
Islam prescribes, and the debt of the poor person has been paid. (Durr-i
Yakta, Mizan-i Kubra)
10. If a poor tenant is unable to pay rents and
if the landlord donates his/her receivables to the tenant as zakat, it
will not be counted as zakat, but sadaqah.
Question: Is it permissible to give
zakat to parents? Who are not eligible to receive
Zakat cannot be given to parents,
grandparents, children, grandchildren, wives, and non-Muslims. It can be given
to one’s daughter-in-law, son-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law,
brother-in-law, and stepchild, on condition that they are poor. It brings much
more thawab to give it to relatives, such as aunts and uncles.
According to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad, a woman can give
zakat to her poor and indebted husband. (Mawqufat)
I want to give zakat to a poor child. He is small. Can I give his
zakat to his father?
Question: Is it permissible to give zakat to a rich
person’s poor child or poor wife or poor father?
give zakat to a rich person’s small child. However, one can give
zakat to a rich person’s adolescent child, wife, or father, on
condition that he/she is poor. (Se’adet-i Ebediyye)
adolescent child is the one who is discreet and has reached puberty. A small
child is the one who is not discreet and has not reached puberty
Question: Can I give zakat to my daughter’s adopted
Your daughter is not the adopted child’s natural
mother, and you are not his/her natural grandmother. You, even your daughter,
can give zakat to him/her.
Question: Can I give
zakat to my sister?
There is nothing wrong with
giving zakat to your sister or her children, on condition that they are
Question: If the recipient donates zakat to any
rich person or to the donor himself/herself, is it permissible for the rich
person to utilize it?
The poor person can donate the
zakat he/she received to the donor, which is considered a gift. It is
permissible for the rich person to accept it because the recipient gives
something that has already come into his/her possession. It is stated in a
(The following five rich Muslims are permitted
to receive zakat:
1. The person who performs jihad in the
way of Allah,
2. A collector of zakat,
3. An indebted rich person
who cannot clear off his debts,
4. A traveler who is left without money while
wealthy at his residence or a person who is in financial need because he cannot
collect receivables from his debtors, though he has many to
5. If the poor person gives the zakat he received
to the rich person as a gift, the latter can accept it.) [Abu
It can be given to daughters-in-law, sisters, brothers,
uncles, aunts, sons-in-law, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, and
stepchildren, on condition that they are poor.
Question: Is it
appropriate to give zakat to any poor person?
not suitable to give zakat or sadaqah al-fitr to a person who
wastes money or spends it on haram things. Thawab will be a
little if zakat is given to such a person.
It is valid to give
zakat to a poor Muslim who is not pious (salih), but it brings
much more thawab to prefer the pious. Giving zakat to a sinner
is like sowing seeds on barren soil. One may get a few yields by sowing a single
seed. However, giving zakat to a pious Muslim is like sowing seeds on
fertile soil, from which one will get increased crop
Disbelievers are not liable for giving zakat as
is the case with all acts of worship. It is not permissible to give
zakat to non-Muslims. When the Messenger of Allah were sending Muadh
bin Jabal to Yemen, he said as to who is eligible for zakat and
ushr, “Take from wealthy ones of Muslims and give it to poor ones of
Scholars, who explained the hadith-i sharif
above, stated that zakat had to be taken from wealthy Muslims, given to
poor Muslims, and was not given to non-Muslims.
Question: I know
that it brings much thawab to give zakat and sadaqah
to relatives. My relatives are sinners. They will consume alcoholic drinks with
the zakat I give. Should I prefer pious Muslims to
Yes, you should prefer pious Muslims. Preferring pious
relatives brings much more thawab than this. A hadith-i sharif
says, “Allahu ta’ala does not accept a zakat given to others while
one has a poor relative.” In this case, one is considered to have discharged
the obligation of zakat, but one cannot earn the great thawab
Question: I asked a pious Muslim whether he is
Islamically rich or not. He did a calculation and said that he was poor, so I
gave my zakat to him. Sometime later, he said that he had calculated
wrongly and had discovered that he was Islamically rich. He said that he spent
the zakat I gave and told me to give zakat afresh to a poor
Muslim. Do I have to give my zakat afresh to a poor
You do not have to repay it because you did research
as to whether he was rich or poor. After one does some research as to whether
the recipient is poor or rich and has formed an opinion that he/she is poor,
there is no harm if one discovers later that he/she is rich. That is, one’s
zakat is acceptable. It is written in fiqh books: "If the
recipient of zakat says that he/she is poor and eligible for
zakat, it is not necessary to do some research as to whether he/she is
entitled to receive zakat. One is considered to have done research for
his/her eligibility for zakat if one gives zakat to
Question: I know that
zakat can be given to a student studying Islamic knowledge, even if he
is rich. I read Islamic books every day to learn my religion. Can I receive
zakat even though I am rich?
Learning Islam is a
duty on every Muslim. The student studying Islamic knowledge is
Question: Is it permissible for a woman following the
Shafi’i Madhhab to give zakat to her poor
Yes, she can give.
It is a controversial matter in the Hanafi
Madhhab. According to the strongest qawl, a woman is not permitted
to give zakat to her husband.
Question: Though the
permissibilty of giving zakat to muallafa al-qulub is stated
in the Qur’an al-karim, why is zakat not given to them
The word muallafa al-qulub denotes those
disbelievers who were wanted to embrace Islam or who were wanted to be harmless
for Islam or those Muslims who just became Muslims and whose faith was weak. Our
Master the Messenger of Allah had given zakat to all these three kinds
of people. But Hadrat ’Umar who was in charge of Bayt al-mal during the time of
Hadrat Abu Bakr, quoted a hadith-i sharif and said that the Messenger
of Allah had abolished the payment of zakat to muallafa
al-qulub. The Caliph and all the Sahabat al-kiram admitted this and came to
an agreement, which is called (ijma'), on the fact that it had been
abolished (by the Messenger of Allah), and therefore people in this group were
no longer paid zakat. Abolition (of a religious principle) could be
done as the Messenger of Allah was alive, and ijma’ (on the fact that
it had been abolished) could be done after his death. Those who cannot
comprehend this delicacy suppose that Hadrat 'Umar himself abolished it, and
they criticize the Sahabat al-kiram and fiqh scholars. As it is
reported in Badayi’ and other books, it is always permissible to give
goods or money to the enemy for the benefit of Islam and to prevent their harm,
but it can be given not in the name of zakat but from another division
of Bayt al-mal. Then, it has not been prohibited to give something to people
called muallafa al-qulub, but it has been prohibited to pay them
zakat. (Islam’s Reformers)
Question: I look after
my poor mother-in-law in my home. She is a widow. Can I give my zakat
Yes, it would be good.
In the past, zakat was not given to descendants of our Master the
Prophet. Today, is it permissible?
Yes, today zakat
can be given to them. (Durr-i Yakta)
Question: Is it permissible
to give zakat to a rich father’s or rich mother’s child who has not
reached puberty yet?
If his/her father is rich,
zakat cannot be given to him/her. If his/her mother is rich but father
is poor, then zakat can be given because a child who has not reached
puberty is not considered rich due to his/her mother’s wealth.
Question: Islamically, who is defined as
rich and poor?
Islamically, one who possesses nisab
of udhiyyah is defined as rich. It is haram for one who
possesses nisab of udhiyyah to receive zakat.
Islamically, one who does not possess nisab of udhiyyah is
defined as poor, so such a person is eligible to receive zakat. If a
Muslim possesses, in excess of his/her basic necessities and debts,
nisab of zakat [96 grams of gold or its equivalent in money or
property], it means that he/she possesses nisab of