Zakat on debt and mortgage?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


I am resubmitting this question as I have not recieved a reply for 2 weeks.

Dear Mufti Ibrahim Desai Saheb,

I have a very important question reference to Zakat. Please can you enlighten me on this matter.

One of my close friend borrowed money in 2006 and his debt has been building up over the past 9 years.  A friend withdrew money from his credit cards to help this friend 9 years ago. The friend promised that he will repay this amount within 6 weeks. Upto now, nothing has been paid towards the debt and interest charges are rising by the day. My friend has a number of people who are demanding money from him but he only earns sufficient amount of money to run his house, therefore he cannot pay his debtors.

Some of the debtors are paying his debt through credit cards with high interest charges and the debtors are struggling to keep up with the payment. 

His debt is over 100 thousand UK Pounds and is rising by the day due to interest charges.

On top of his debt, he has a house which has an 80% mortgage outstanding on it.

Is my friend eligible for Zakat? Can Zakat money be used to pay his debtors.

May Allah grant you a healthy and long life and keep us all steadfast on Iman. Ameen.


Irfan Ibrahim


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Brother in Islam,

We are sorry for the delayed response. This was due to a high volume of Fatwas, the intricacies that were in your query and because you used the word friend in three different situations without clear mention of who is being referred to which could effect and change the Sharee implication accordingly in each situation.

Based on the details above our understanding of your situation is A took a debt of R1000 which he could not pay. A’s friend B helped A pay off the R1000 and A promised to pay B back within 6 weeks. It’s now been 9 years and A has still not cleared B of his debt. Meanwhile, A has a house on mortgage which is still 80% unpaid for and A currently only has enough money for his basic necessities. You also mentioned that A is also owing some other people monies.

In principle, it will be permissible for A to take zakat to clear he’s debtors as he does not own any wealth that is equal to or more than the threshold of zakat. [1]

However, A may only take an amount from Zakat through which he will manage to clear that debt he owes debtors and the amount equivalent to clear what he already owes the mortgage and not for what he still owes them. For example A took a mortgage for 10 years at R2000 per year and only 8 years have passed and he has not managed to pay. Then he may take Zakat for the 8 years that he owes them and not for the balance of the 2 years that he is still owing them as defffered liabilities do not prevent zakat. [2]

If the scenario you are referring to is as follows: A took a debt of R1000 which he could not pay. A’s friend B helped A pay off the R1000 and A promised to pay B back within 6 weeks. It’s now been 9 years and A has still not cleared B of his debt. Meanwhile, B has a house on mortgage which is still 80% unpaid for and B currently only has enough money for his basic necessities. Then, you may forward your clarification to [email protected] for us to issue a ruling.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ismail Dawoodjee

Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai. 

[1](وشرط وجوبها العقل والبلوغ والإسلام والحرية، وملك نصاب حولي فارغ عن الدين وحاجته الأصلية نام، ولو تقديرا) أي شرط لزوم الزكاة علما، وعملا، وأراد بالوجوب الفرضية؛ لأنها ثبتت بدليل مقطوع به، وهو الكتاب والسنة، وإجماع الأمة(تبيين الحقائق ج1 ص252 امدادية)

«لا زكاة في مال حتى يحول عليه الحول» سمي حولا لأن الأحوال تحول فيه وإلى الثاني بقوله (فارغ) صفة نصاب (عن الدين) … (و) فارغ عن (حاجته الأصلية) أي عما يدفع عنه الهلاك تحقيقا أو تقديرا كطعامه وطعام أهله وكسوتهما والمسكن والخادم والمركب وآلة الحرف لأهلها وكتب العلم لأهلها وغير ذلك مما لا بد منه في معاشه فإن هذه الأشياء ليست بنامية فلا يجب فيها شيء وإلى الرابع بقوله (نام) صفة ثانية لقوله نصاب (مجمع الانهر ج1 ص193 أحياء التراث)

(وسببه) أي سبب افتراضها (ملك نصاب حولي) نسبة للحول لحولانه عليه (تام) بالرفع صفة ملك، … (فارغ عن دين له مطالب من جهة العباد) سواء كان لله كزكاة وخراج أو للعبد، ولو كفالة أو مؤجلا، ولو صداق زوجته المؤجل للفراق ونفقة لزمته بقضاء أو رضا، بخلاف دين نذر وكفارة وحج لعدم المطالب،… (و) فارغ (عن حاجته الأصلية) لأن المشغول بها كالمعدوم(الدر المحتار ج2 ص262 سعيد)..

[2]In principle, deferred liabilities do not prevent the obligation of zakat. [1] If a person is paying off long term debts such as mortgages/loans etc then, the value of the loan will be deducted from ones total wealth and the amount oweable for one year will be calculated as a debt, and only that amount will be considered when applying the rules of zakat. For example if you have to pay a loan of R10000 for 5 years at R2000 per year and the threshold of zakat is R200. After paying the R2000 for the first year on your zakat date you still had R1000 in your procession then, this amount is zakatable even though you owe the bank/creditor a balance of R8000 for the next four years to come. Conversely, if after paying your debt for that particular year you only had R100 in your possession on your zakat date then, you will not have to pay zakat on the R100 as it is less than the threshold of zakat(R500).[2]


[1] أما الدين المؤجل بتأخير صاحب الحق هل يمنع وجوب الزكوة؟ إختلف المشايخ و الصحيح أنه لا يمنع ذكره القاضي صدر الدين (جواهر الفتاوى ق٣٠/ب ملك سعود ١٤٣٧)

 و قيل يمنع المعجل دون المؤجل..و الصحيح أنه غير مانع كما في الجواهر (جامع الرموز ج-١ ص-٣٠٠، سعيد)

 الدين المؤجل قال بعضهم يمنع و ذكر فخر الأئمة السرخسي عن مشايخنا-رحمهم الله- أنه لا يمنع (السراجية ص-١٤٢، زمزم)

    زاد القهستاني عن الجواهر والصحيح أنه غير مانع (الشامي ج-٢ ص-٢٦١، سعيد)

 السراجية: الدين المؤجل قال بعضهم:يمنع الزكاة، وذكر مجد الأئمة السرخكتي عن مشائخنا أنه لا يمنع (التاتارخانية ج-٣ ص-٢٣٥، مكتبة زكريا)  

جديد فقهي مسائل ج2 ص40 زمزم

[2] الزكوة واجبة على الحر العاقال البالغ المسلم اذا ملك نصابا تاما و حال عليه الحول (العناية ج1 ص511 علمية)

كذا فى مجمع الانهر ج1 ص192 احياء التراث