Is it allowed to give zakāt to relatives from the family?

Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allāmah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajūri – may Allāh preserve him – on the 18th, Ramadhān, 1422H

Question: Is it allowed to give zakāt to relatives from the family?


If the relative are eligible for zakāt not from those who it is incumbent for you to spend on; at this point the zakāt is correct. As for ones whom it is not incumbent for you to spend on like brothers, nieces and nephews, aunties, uncles and cousins; it is not incumbent upon you to spend on them, and it is permissible for a woman to give zakāt to her husband if he is poor; because it is not binding on a woman to spend on her husband, verily it is incumbent on him to spend on her due to the hadith of Mu’āwiyah bin Haydah he said:

يا رسول الله! ما حق زوجة أحدنا عليه؟! قال: أن تطعمها إذا طعمت، وأن تكسوها إذا اكتسيت، ولا تضرب الوجه ولا تقبح

“O Messenger of Allāh! What is the rights of one of us on his wife?!” He said: “To feed her when you eat, to clothe her when you clothe yourself, and to not hit her in the face and not revile her.” [Reported Abu Dāwūd and Ahmed]

And Allāh says:

“قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَة”

“Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones”

And the Prophet said:

كلكم راع وكلكم مسئول عن رعيته

“All of you are shepherds and all of you are responsible for his flock” [Reported by Bukhāri and Muslim]

And he said:

كفى بالمرء إثمًا من يضيع يعول

“It is enough of a sin for a person to let his dependents go to waste” [Reported by Muslim]

As for voluntary charity then there is no problem to give charity even to one whom it is incumbent on you to spend on; due to hadith Ma’n bin Yazīd:

أن أباه أتى بصدقة ووضعها عند رجل في المسجد ليتصدق بها، فأتى ولده فأخذها، فاشتكى إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، فقال: لك ما نويت يا يزيد، ولك ما أخذت يا معن

“That his father came with charity and placed it with a man in the masjid to give it in charity, so his son came and took it, so he complained to the Prophet, so he said: “For you is what you intended O Yazīd and for you is what you took O Ma’n.” [Reported by Bukhāri]

And Ma’n is the son of Yazīd, ya’nī: That charity that his son took he will gain the reward for it; because it fell in its proper place, so his son was eligible for that, and Zainab Ath-Thaqafiyyah said:

يا رسول الله! هل تجزئ الصدقة على أيتام في حجري وعلى زوجي.. قال: نعم، الصدقة على ذي القربى صدقة وصلة

“O Messenger of Allāh! Is giving charity to the orphans in my chamber and my husband accepted..he said: “Yes, giving charity to relatives is (rewarded as) giving charity and connecting the ties of kinship” [Reported by Bukhāri and Muslim]

It is not binding upon her to spend on these orphans, verily she is donating graciously by spending up on them.

These evidences point towards that zakāt is (could be) given to one whom it is not binding to spend upon, and that voluntary charity is accepted even upon one whose spending upon is obligatory, and it is considered charity upon him and being kind:

من أحق الناس بحسن صحابتي؟ قال : امك ثم أمك ثم أمك ثم أبوك

“Who is the most deserving of my good companionship?” He said:” Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father.” [Reported by Bukhāri and Muslim]

The Prophet said:

أختك وأخاك ثم أدناك

“Your sister, then your brother, then those that follow” [Reported by Ibn Hibbān and Dārqutnī and it is in Sahīh Al-Musnad]

And in this chapter is plenty evidence upon given charity to one’s whose spending upon is obligatory, I mean voluntary charity, in it is great virtue, from it is the hadith:

دينار أنفقه في سبيل الله، ودينار أنفقه على أولادك، أفضله دينار أنفقه على أولادك

“A dīnār i spend for the sake of Allāh, and a dīnār i spend on my children, the dīnār you spend on your children is better.” [Reported by Muslim]

And the hadith:

إنك لن تعمل عملا تبتغي به وحه الله إلا ازددت به درجة ورفعة، حتى ما تجعله في في إمرتك

“Verily you do not perform a single action seeking by it Allāhs pleasure except that you increase by it in rank and station, even what you put in your wife’s mouth (food).” [Reported by Bukhāri and Muslim]

All of this is considered charity, with the intention of seeking reward it is considered charity upon one whom spending is obligatory, and all praise is to Allāh.

Translated by : Abu ‘Abdillah ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi

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