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Zakat to Family Members Who Are in Need

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Burhaan Rahman


Assalamualaikum I have a brother who lives in Africa and is married also got one child as well, we all other brothers and sister give him zakat money because my mother told us that he can take zakat as his condition is not good in wealth.

He works in Africa also he earns goods as well that he can expand on his basic rent and household expenses not anything else if some big expense comes he doesn’t have savings.

This year my mother told us that he needs a car to go to work and do shopping as every day he go by walk and he needs to walk 5km so it’s big problem for him, and he doesn’t have money to buy a car he needs zakat money to buy a car for him.

So we don’t know if he can do that or not as every time we give him zakat money in Ramadan and he used them for house things…so we spoke about it with our mother and she told us that as he can take zakat you can’t ask what he used it for and to buy a car is his needs, but the problem is that he and his wife spend lots of money to buy expensive stuff like phones, laptop, TV etc.

So is it permissible for us to give him zakat? Can you please kindly let me know about this question what’s right and what is wrong?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an:

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاء وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Zakat is for the Fuqara (poor) and for the Masaakeen (needy) and those employed to collect and distribute (Zakat). And for those whose hearts will be brought together (to be converted to Islam) and for slaves and for those in debt and for (those) on the Way of Allah and for the travellers – an obligation by Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. [Surah Tawbah verse 90]

Zakaah is to be given to the eight categories in the verse highlighted in bold. From what is written in the question, you want to know if the brother may fall into the category of Fuqara’ or Masaakeen.

The first and second are the fuqara’ and masaakeen (the poor and needy). They should be given zakaah to meet their needs. The difference between the fuqara’ and masaakeen is.

  • fuqaraa – the definition of this term is:

عندما لا يجد المرء ما يكفيه ومن يعولهم لمدة نصف عام

When one hasn’t got enough to suffice himself and his dependents for half a year. [Qamus Alfaadh al Islaami page 313 Al Yamaamah Publications]

These people are the most in need and zakaah should be given to them more often as they are dependent on a large amount of money/wealth etc.

  • Masaakeen – the definition of this term is:

أثبت حالا من الفقراء ، لأنهم يجدون نصف ما يكفئهم أو أكثر.

“(These people) are better off than the fuqaraa’, as they can find half of what will suffice them for half of the year or more.” [Qamus Alfaadh al Islaami page 313 Al Yamaamah Publications]

These people should be given zakaah because of their needs.

With regards to giving zakaah to relatives.

Giving zakah to relatives who are entitled to it is better than giving it to those who are not your relatives.

Our beloved Prophet (SAW) has mentioned:

الصَّدَقَةُ عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةٌ وَهِيَ عَلَى ذِي الرَّحِمِ ثِنْتَانِ صَدَقَةٌ وَصِلَةٌ

“Charity given to a poor person is charity, but charity given to a relative is two things, charity and upholding the ties of kinship.” [Tirmidhi Hadeeth no: 658]

But if these relatives are among those on whom you are obliged to spend, but you give them your zakaah so that you can save money, then that is not permissible. Maybe this does not apply to your brother in Africa as he has a family/is married etc.

So it is permissible to give your full zakaah to your brother in Africa and it is also permissible to give part of your zakaah to your family member (e.g. your brother) and part of it to the actual needy.

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Maulana Burhaan Rahman

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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