Answered by: Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Can Zakat be given to a poor prisoner to bail him out?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Quran;
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاء وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
The Prescribed Purifying Alms (the Zakah) are meant only for the poor, and the destitute, and those in charge of collecting them, and those whose hearts are to be won over, and to free those in bondage, and to help those over-burdened with debt, and in the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer. This is an ordinance from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
(Surah Taubah, Verse 60)
Zakah is an obligation for every free, sane, mature Muslim when they have owned the value of Nisab and a year has passed. 1
In the aforementioned case, Zakah can be given to prisoners provided they are poor and have no money as described by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) in the Holy Quran in Surah Tawbah, verse 60.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 الزكاة واجبة على الحر العاقل البالغ المسلم إذا ملك نصابا ملكا تاما وحال عليه الحول
Hidaya, 290/2, Dar Ihyat Turath, Beirut, Lebanon.