Answered by: Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
Is there any scope in the Hanafi fiqh for zakat to be used to buy medical equipment for the poor?
I just finished from a penny appeal programme where I spoke to the presenter and he is of the opinion that this is allowed and that is what he was asking the crowd to donate their zakat towards.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
In order for the zakat to be valid, the giver of zakat must transfer complete ownership of the wealth to the one who is eligible to receive it. In this specific scenario where the zakat money is used to purchase medical equipment, the poor patients do not become owners of the wealth nor the equipment. Merely treating a patient by means of medical equipment, which was purchased with zakat funds, does not entail him becoming the owner of it. Hence, if zakat wealth was used to purchase medical equipment, and the ownership of the equipment was not transferred to the one who was entitled to receive it, then the zakat will be invalid and must be discharged again, in the correct manner, i.e. making someone who is deserving of it, the owner.
Alternatively, you may give optional charity to support this great cause.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Ahsan Osmani
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Al-Fiqhul Hanafi Wa Adillatuhu: v. 1, p. 332 (Waheedi Kutub Khana)