Zakat to a person in debt
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Qur’an has said; “The sadaqat are only for the poor, the needy, those employed to collect these, those whose hearts are to be won, in freeing slaves, in (releasing) those in debt, in the way of Allah and for a wayfarer- this being prescribed by Allah and Allah I knowing and wise. (Surah Tawbah v.60)
The sixth category of recipients mentioned by Allah (SWA) are that zakat could be given to those who are in debt. However, the condition is that the person in debt does not have enough funds to pay off that debt. Some Imams also add the condition that this person should not have borrowed for something impermissible. If someone goes in debt for something sinful, such as to pay for liquor or spends on impermissible customs of marriage then such a client would not be given zakat money. (Maarful Quran p.412 v.4 & Fatawa Mahmoodiyah p.61 v.3)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
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This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.