The person who
possesses the nisâb of either gold or silver, or trade goods which equal
the nisâb of either gold or silver is regarded as a rich person in the
Shariah. It is not permissible to give zakât money to him. Nor is it
permissible for him to accept or consume zakât money. Similarly, the person who
has belongings which are not for the purposes of trade but are over and above
his basic needs, is also considered to be a rich person. It is not permissible
to give zakât money to such a person as well. Furthermore, although he is
regarded as a rich person, zakât is not wajib on him.
The person who has
very little wealth or has no wealth at all to the extent that he does not have
sufficient food for one day is regarded as a poor person. It is permissible to
give zakât to such a person. It is also permissible for him to accept zakât
expensive carpets, etc. which are very occasionally used in weddings and other
functions are not regarded as necessary items.
The following things
are regarded as necessities of life: a house to stay in, clothes that are worn,
slaves for domestic purposes, and furniture that is in use. If a person
possesses these things, he will not be regarded as a rich person irrespective of
the value of these items. It is therefore permissible to give zakât to such a
person. In the same way, the books and other essentials of a learned person are
also included among the necessities of life.
A person owns
several properties from which he receives rent. The income of these properties
is used to run his own home. Alternatively, a person possesses a few cows from
which he receives a certain amount of income. Despite this, he has a very large
number of dependents whereby he cannot live a comfortable life and always finds
himself in difficulties. Nor does he have any wealth upon which zakât could be
wajib. It is therefore permissible to give zakât to such a person as
A person has R1000
in cash with him. However, he is also in debt for an amount of over a thousand
rands. It is permissible to give him zakât as well. However, if his debt is less
than R1000, then this amount that he is owing will be subtracted from the cash
that he possesses. Thereafter we will have to see whether the balance that he
has is more than the nisâb of zakât or less than it. If the balance is
more than the nisâb, zakât cannot be given to him. But if it is less,
then zakât can be given to him.
A person may be a
very rich person at home. However, while on a journey, all his money got stolen
or exhausted in some other way to such an extent that he does not even have
sufficient funds to reach his eventual destination. It will be permissible to
give zakât to such a person. Similarly, a person who is travelling for
hajj and who may be a rich person can also be given zakât money if all
his money gets spent.
Zakât cannot be
given to a kâfir. It will have to be given to a Muslim. All forms of
charity can be given to a kâfir except the following: zakât, ushr,
sadaqatul fitr, nazr, and kaffarah.
Zakât funds cannot
be used for the building of a musjid, for the shrouding and burial of a deceased
person, for the payment of debts on behalf of a deceased person, or for any
other noble purpose. As long as zakât is not given to the rightful person, it
will not be considered to be fulfilled.
Zakât cannot be
given to one’s ascendents. That is, to one’s parents, maternal and paternal
grand-parents and even great grand-parents. In the same way, zakât cannot be
given to one’s descendants. That is, to one’s children, grand-children, great
grand-children, etc. In the same way, the husband and wife cannot give zakât to
Apart from the above
mentioned, it is permissible to give zakât to all other relatives such as one’s
brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, maternal and paternal uncles and aunts, step
father or step mother, step grandfather, father-in-law, mother-in-law,
It is not
permissible to give zakât to immature children if their father is rich. If the
children are mature and poor, but their father is rich, it will be permissible
to give zakât to them.
If the father of an
immature child is not rich but the mother is, it will be permissible to give
zakât to that child.
It is not
permissible to give zakât to the progeny of Hadrat Fâtimah radiallahu anha, the
progeny of Hadrat Ali radiallahu anhu, Hadrat Abbas radiallahu anhu, Hadrat
Ja’far radiallahu anhu, Hadrat Aqeel radiallahu anhu, Hadrat Hârith bin Abdul
Muttalib radiallahu anhu. Similarly, the charities which have been made
wajib by the Shariah cannot be given to the progeny of the above
Sahabah. Such charities are, nazr, kaffarah, ushr, sadaqatul fitr.
Apart from these, all other charities can be given to them.
It is permissible to
give zakât to one’s Muslim servants, workers, employees, etc. However, this
zakât should not be included in their wages or salaries. Instead, it should be
given separately as a gift. At the time of giving this gift to them, one should
have the intention in his heart that he is giving zakât.
It is permissible to
give zakât to one’s foster mother and foster children.
The mahr of a
woman was fixed at R1000. However, the husband cannot fulfil this due to
poverty. It will be permissible to give zakât to such a woman. It will also be
permissible to give zakât to her if her husband is rich but refuses to give, or
if she has absolved him from giving the mahr. If the woman knows that if
she had to ask her husband for her mahr, he will give it to her without
hesitation, it will not be permissible to give zakât to her.
A person gave zakât
to another person thinking that he is poor. Later, he learnt that this person
was rich or he was a sayyid. Alternatively, he gave it to someone on a
dark night and later realized that the person to whom he had given the zakât was
actually his mother or daughter, or any other relative to whom zakât is not
permissible. In all these cases, zakât will be considered to be fulfilled and
there will be no need to repeat the payment of zakât. However, if the person to
whom the zakât was given learns that this was actually zakât money and that he
is not eligible to receive zakât, he should return the zakât money. If the
person who gave the zakât learns that the person to whom he had given the zakât
was actually a kâfir, he will have to give zakât
A person has a doubt
as to whether a certain person is rich or poor. Zakât should not be given to him
until it has been ascertained whether he is eligible to receive zakât or not. If
zakât is given to him without ascertaining his financial position, the person
should check with his heart and see to which side his heart is more inclined. If
his heart tells him that the person is poor, zakât will be fulfilled. If his
heart tells him that the person is rich, zakât will not be fulfilled and will
therefore have to be repeated. But if he establishes the fact that he is indeed
a poor person after having given the zakât to him, then he does not have to give
the zakât again.
At the time of
giving zakât and all other forms of charity, one should first take one’s
relatives into consideration. However, when giving them this zakât, they should
not be told that it is zakât so that they do not feel offended. It is mentioned
in the Hadith that by giving charity to one’s relatives one receives a double
reward – one reward for giving charity, and one for showing kindness to one’s
relatives. After giving the relatives, if there is any remainder, it should be
given to outsiders.
It is makruh
to send the zakât of one place to another place. However, it will not be
makruh to do so in the following instances: (1) if one’s poor relatives
live at another place, (2) the inhabitants of that place are more deserving than
the inhabitants of this place, (3) the inhabitants of that place are more
involved in deeni activities. There is great reward in sending zakât to
students of deen and pious ulama.