Giving zakah to sister
Fatwa No: 336304

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Mufti. I would appreciate it if you could make the following points clear to me:
1) My sister's husband has been out of a job for many years. We always support her. Now, I have some amount of money that I need to give out as zakah. Can I give this zakah money to her?
2) She received about 6 lacs from her father's land deal. If she does own that amount, can I still give zakah to her?
3) My elderly mother is staying with her. If I give zakah to my sister, then my mother will eat from that. Can she eat from it along with my sister?
4) If I gave this Zakah to my sister and we then visit her, can we eat from the food given that my sister will make food from the zakah money?
5) When I have the money for the zakah, can I distribute a certain amount of it among needy people during Ramadan and a certain amount after Ramadan, when I go to India?
I would appreciate it if your answer came in a timely fashion.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It is permissible for you to give your zakah to your sister as long as she is among those deserving of zakah and is not among your dependents whom you are obliged to provide for; please refer to fataawa 82489and 84467.

If the money that your sister owns is enough to meet her basic needs, then it is not permissible to give zakah to her as a poor or needy person. If the money is not enough to meet her basic needs, as is the case if she has debts that consume this money or most of it and the remainder is not enough to meet her basic needs, then, in such case, it is permissible to give zakah to her.

If you give your zakah to your sister and she bought food with it and served it to your mother, then there is no harm in that.

If you visited your sister and she served you food bought by the zakah money that you gave her, then there is no harm on you in eating it. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked, "If a man gives his zakah to one who is entitled to it, and then the one who took it gives it to him as a gift, should he accept it?"

He replied, "If a man gives zakah to one who is entitled to it, and then (the latter) gives it to him as a gift, there is nothing wrong with that so long as there was no prior agreement between them to do so, but it is more prudent to not accept it in order to be on the safe side." [Fataawa Arkaan Al-Islam, p. 430]

If your wealth liable for zakah reached the nisaab (minimum amount liable for zakah ), then it is permissible for you to pay it in advance, before the lunar year passes. In this case, it is permissible to give zakah in installments. However, if the lunar year has passed, then it is impermissible to delay giving zakah except for a valid excuse such as not finding someone deserving of it where you are or waiting to give it to a more deserving person. Al-Mardaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "It is also permissible to delay (giving zakah) to give it to more deserving recipients according to the most likely correct view in our Mathhab (school of Fiqh)." [Al-Insaaf fi Ma‘rifat Ar-Raajih min Al-Khilaaf]

Please refer to fataawa 14605and 324961.

Allaah knows best.

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