Whether wife may pay zakaah to her husband
Fatwa No: 349054

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, shaykh. I have a question regarding zakah. My parents have given me some gold, and my husband's salary is not enough to pay zakah for my gold, and I know that I have to sell my gold to take out the zakah money. So my question is: can I use my zakah money for my own household expenses? My husband also owes a huge amonut of money to my father, which I sometimes find difficult for my husband, because he is not able to fulfill the household expenses from his salary as he first has to pay back the money that he owes to my father as well as send some to India to his parents as well. Please advice me, Shaykh, as, Allaah willing, it will be easy for me if the Islamic Shariah gives me permission to use the zakah money for my household expenses. May Allaah, The Exalted, make my path easier for me. Ameen, O Lord of the worlds.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, you should know that the scholars differed in opinion about zakaah for jewelry and whether or not it is an obligation.

According to the view that it is an obligation, you must pay it from your own money, and not from your husband’s money.

As regards paying the zakaah to your husband, then if he is eligible for zakaah, like if he is poor and cannot find the money that is necessary to spend [on himself, his wife, and children] or is indebted and cannot pay his debts, then there is nothing wrong for you to pay your zakaah money to him, but he takes it himself, and you are not permitted to spend it yourself on the needs of the home without giving it to him.

The scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them differed into two opinions about the wife paying zakaah of her money to her poor husband.

The first view: Abu Haneefah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him and some scholars of Fiqh are of the view that it is not permissible for the wife to pay the zakaah of her money to her husband. Their evidence is that the wife is not permitted to give her zakaah to her husband in the same manner it is not permissible for a husband to give the zakaah to his wife.

The second view: it is permissible for the wife to pay the zakaah of her money to her husband; which is the view of the majority of the scholars, including Ath-Thawri, Ash-Shaafi'i, and the two companions of Abu Haneefah; it is also one of the two narrations from Maalik and one of the two narrations from Ahmad.

The scholars who permitted it provided evidence with the hadeeth narrated by Ahmad, Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, from Zaynab, the wife of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood, who said, “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, ‘O women, give Sadaqah (charity), even if from your jewelry.’” She returned to ‘Abdullah and said, “You are a person with a light hand (meaning that he was poor), and the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) has commanded us to give charity, so go and ask him if it would be accepted as charity from me (to give it to you); otherwise, I shall give it to someone else.” ‘Abdullah said to me, “Rather, you go ask him.” So I went, and there was another woman of the Ansaar at the door of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) with the same purpose as mine. We were rather apprehensive of going in out of awe of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Then, Bilaal came out, and we said to him, “Go to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and inform him that there are two women at the door asking him whether it would be accepted from them to give Sadaqah to their husbands and to orphans who are under their protection, but do not tell him who we are.” Bilaal went inside and asked him. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked him who these women were. Bilaal said, “They are a woman from the Ansaar and Zaynab.” He (the Messenger of Allah) said, “Which Zaynab is she exactly (as there were many women with this name)?” He said, “The wife of ‘Abdullah.” Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “There are two rewards for them, the reward of kindness to their kinship and the reward of Sadaqah.

Another narration by Al-Bukhaari reads, “Is it permissible for me to spend on my husband and on orphans who are under my care?

Ash-Shawkaani said in Nayl Al-Awtaar, “This hadeeth is evidence that it is permissible for a woman to pay zakaah to her husband.

Ibn Hazm said in Al-Muhalla, “A woman gives from her zakaah to her husband if he is eligible for it because it was authentically reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) issued a fatwa to Zaynab, the wife of Ibn Mas‘ood, that she was permitted to do so.” Then he quoted the previous hadeeth.

The view that we adopt here at Islamweb is the view of the majority of the scholars; that it is permissible for a woman to give zakaah to her husband if he is among the kinds of people who are eligible for zakaah, such as if he is poor or indebted and he cannot repay his debts. However, if he is not eligible for zakaah, then it is not permissible, and it is not sufficient for the wife to pay zakaah to him in this case, such as giving it to him to expand his business, for example.

Allah knows best.

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