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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Giving of Alms (Zakaat) to Kins and Relatives

In Surah Al-Taubah (verse number 60) Allah has mentioned eight categories of people as beneficiaries of Zakaat, as in who all should we give Zakaat to? (1) Poor, meaning a person who has little resources of sustenance but does not have resources/possession up to the minimum amount prescribed in Islam for those obligated to give Zakaat (Nisaab), (2) Destitute, as in a person who possesses nothing, (3) Those people or officials who are employed to collect Zakaat, (4) Those whose hearts are to be comforted (in the interest of Islam), (5) That slave who is to be freed, (6) To a person in debt, as in someone who owes money to people and other than the borrowed amount he does not have the minimum amount prescribed in Islam for those obligated to give Zakaat (Nisaab), (7) One who fights/struggles for the cause of Allah, and (8) A traveller who lost out on his resources in the course of his travel.

Amongst relatives such as brother, sister, brother’s son and daughter, sister’s son and daughter, paternal uncle, paternal aunt, maternal aunt, maternal uncle, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in law etc. giving alms to the needy and deserving, doubles the reward; the giver is firstly rewarded in relation to giving of alms and the secondly in relation to Sila Rehmi (the act of good behaviour towards relatives or acts that are carried out to strengthen the bonds of kinship), as mentioned in the preachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) documented in the collections of his sayings. Zakaat can be given to the aforementioned relatives in the form of some gift too but it is necessary that at the time of giving the gift the giver has the intention of giving Zakaat. However, it is not permissible to give Zakaat to one’s parents, paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents. Similarly, as per the consensus within the Muslim community in the light of sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is not permissible to give Zakaat to one’s own children and grandchildren (from both the son’s and daughter’s side). The Muslim community also has a consensus about the fact that a husband cannot give Zakaat to his wife because it is the husband who is to look after the expenditures of his wife. However, in case a wife is required to give Zakaat and her husband qualifies as a beneficiary, can the wife give the Zakaat due on her wealth to her husband? On this matter there is not a consensus between the learned scholars of the Muslim ummah. According to Hazrat Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA) it is not permissible because of collaboration in profit, according to Hazrat Imam Shafi’ee (RHA) it is permissible, and as per Hazrat Imam Maalik (RHA) and Imam Ahmad Ibne Hanbal (RHA) there are two narrations that are recorded; the first one sides with the Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA) and the second one sides with Imam Shafi’ee (RHA). Those in pursuit of justification have referred to the incident of Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud (RZA) and his wife (as supporting evidence) recorded in hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim. The learned scholars associated with the Hanafi school of jurisprudence have claimed that this incident recorded in Bukhari and Muslim is not about Zakaat but voluntary charity (Sadqah) because in Bukhari only, with reference to the same incident, alongside Abdullah bin Mas’ud (RZA) there is reference to his son too and in the light of sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) there is a consensus in the Muslim community that Zakaat cannot be given to son. Renowned Egyptian Hanafi scholar Allama Badruddin ‘Aini (RHA) (762-855AH) has produced a reasoned argument on this in his famous 14 volume commentary on Bukhari (Umdatul Qaari Fi Sharah Saheeh Al-Bukhari) the essence of which is the following:

The companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud was unemployed. However, his wife used to run a business and from her earnings/income the entire household was run. Once the Prophet (PBUH), in his sermon, laid great stress on almsgiving (that one should do it as much as possible). It occurred to Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud’s (RZA) wife Hazrat Zainab (RZA) that all of her earnings are spent on the household as a result of which she is not able to do charity and, consequently, is deprived of the promised rewards. So when she consulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on this matter the Prophet (PBUH) told her that her husband and son were more deserving of it. It meant that Hazrat Zainab’s (RZA) spending of her income on her husband and son was a source of reward for her. So the point that needs to be made here is that this particular incident does not have anything to do with Zakaat.

To sum it up, giving Zakaat to relatives who are needy and deserving doubles the reward; one for Zakaat and another for Sila Rehmi (the act of good behaviour towards relatives or acts that are carried out to strengthen the bonds of kinship). However, Zakaat is not given to Usool (for instance parents) and Farogh (for instance children). Similarly, a husband cannot give Zakaat to his wife. In relation to a wife giving Zakaat on her wealth to her poor husband there is disagreement among the learned scholars. On a safer side it is better that the woman does not give Zakaat to her husband so that the Zakaat amount is not spent on household expenditures. However, she is required to help her needy husband in other ways. Zakaat can also be given to servants working in the house, shop or factory, to drivers etc. provided they qualify as beneficiaries of Zakaat. In addition to their salary or wages, Zakaat can be given to them in the form of some gift (provided the intention of giving Zakaat is there at the time of giving the gift).

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (