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Islamic Ruling on Giving Zakah to Prisoners

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Is it permissible to give Zakah to poor prisoners to spend on their dependents?

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Some inmates are liable for supporting their dependents, but can`t do so due to their special circumstance. This has actually made them among the categories eligible to receive Zakah, given that they have become poor and needy.

Moreover, it is also permissible to give Zakah to inmates who are unable to pay off their debts on the basis that they are debtors, which is a category eligible to receive Zakah as stated in the Quran. However, once they get out of prison, they can make a living and support their dependents.

As known to all, being in prison is an affliction for both the prisoner and his dependents. In this regard, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim, he doesn't oppress him and doesn't put him into ruin, and whoever is concerned for the needs of his brother, Allah is concerned for his needs, and whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens of the Day of Judgment and whoever covers (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover (his faults) on the Day of Judgment." {Bukhari & Muslim}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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