To Whom Zakat Cannot Be Given (Shafii)


Who is not given zakat?

  1. To Individuals for whom the person is responsible: A person cannot give zakat to his own mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, children or grandchildren – even if they are poor. The rich cannot reserve shares from his zakat to his insane and disabled children because he is responsible to provide for their sustenance.

One may give his zakat to his older married children, who live separately and do not have enough property and earnings, to his daughter-in-laws, to his son-in-laws, or his foster mother and foster father, because he is not responsible for their sustenance.[1]

It is permissible for a rich woman to give her zakat to her poor husband. This is because the woman is not responsible to provide the sustenance for her husband and her children even though if she is wealthy. According to Abu Hanifa, husband and wife cannot give their zakat to each other because they are responsible to look after each other.

If a woman cannot support herself by the allowance provided by her husband, father, or son, it is permissible for others to give zakat to the married woman or to the father.

  1. To the rich: It is not permissible to give zakat to the rich who have more wealth than the amount of nisab. However, some people are excluded from this rule even though they may be wealthy. This is explained in a hadith as follows, “Zakat may not be given to a rich man, with the exception of five categories: One who fights in Allah’s path, one who collects it, a debtor, a rich man who buys it with his money, or a rich man who has a poor neighbor, who is given sadaqah, and he gives it as a present to the rich man.”[2]

A child whose father is rich and a woman whose husband is rich are considered rich. However, it is permissible for others to give zakat to a rich person’s poor old children or to his poor father who are unable to earn their livelihood.

It is not permissible to give zakat to those who are easily able to earn their livelihood even though they do not own wealth more than the amount of nisab.

  1. To those who do not work out of laziness even though they are able: Allah’s Messenger said, “Charity is not lawful for the rich nor for the physically fit (who can work).”[3]

It is not permissible to give zakat to those who will spend on prohibitions such as intoxicants, gambling, etc. or waste it.

  1. To non-Muslims: It is not permissible to give zakat to non-Muslims. This is because zakat is the right of poor Muslims.
  2. To those who do not have the ability of discernment: The one to whom zakat is given should be an adult who knows how to save the money. It is not permissible to give zakat to a child, an insane person, and the one who is safih (foolhardy). However, it is permissible to give zakat to their guardians on their behalf.
  3. To the family of our Prophet (pbuh) and those who come from their lineage: As a principle, zakat cannot be given to the Prophet’s family and the sons of Hashim and Muttalib, who come from the lineage of the Prophet’s family. This is because they get a share from the war booty. However, if they are in need and there is no money in the war booty fund from the Treasury to give them, then it becomes permissible to give them a share from the zakat money.
  4. To institutions such as mosques, schools, fountains, roads and bridges: Zakat cannot be given in order to construct places such as these because zakat is the right of actual people. This is because it is a requirement for zakat that the right of ownership is transferred to the person to whom the zakat is given.

[1] Al-Nawawi, al-Majmu’, 6/223

[2] Abu Dawud. Zakat, 3; Malik, al-Muwatta, Zakat, 29

[3] Al-Tirmidhi, Zakat 23; al-Nasai, Zakat 90

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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