Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Kamran Abid
I want to ask about giving zakat to our domestic helpers, like the chauffeur. My chauffeur, who lives in my home country and his only source of income is from driving, says he wants to build a house and needs money to purchase the land. Can I pay for his plot price from zakat?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Wa alykumus Salaam,
Zakaat is a special monetary worship that is only given to certain type of individuals. Zakaat needs to be given to an individual who has less than the nisaab amount of wealth. One of the conditions of Zakaat is that the recipient must possess or own the Zakaat. Therefore, if the driver has less than nisaab amount of wealth, then Zakaat can be given to him, but after you have given the money, you have no right to make the driver put that money towards buying of the plot of land. He may do what he wishes with that wealth. However, if the driver has nisaab amount of wealth or more, then it would not be permissible to give Zakaat to the driver.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammed Kamran Abid
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 بَابُ الْمَصْرِفِ أَيْ مَصْرِفِ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْعُشْرِ، وَأَمَّا خُمُسُ الْمَعْدِنِ فَمَصْرِفُهُ كَالْغَنَائِمِ (هُوَ فَقِيرٌ، وَهُوَ مَنْ لَهُ أَدْنَى شَيْءٍ) أَيْ دُونَ نِصَابٍ أَوْ قَدْرُ نِصَابٍ غَيْرِ نَامٍ مُسْتَغْرِقٍ فِي الْحَاجَةِ (Radd al-Muhtar, vol. 2, pg. 339, Darul Fikr Beirut)
 ولا يبنى بها مسجد ولا يكفن بها ميت لانعدام التمليك وهو الركن (al-Hidaya, vol. 2, pg. 72, Maktaba al-Bushra)