Wife of poor man may not pay her zakaah on household expenses
Fatwa No: 350986


My husband is poor. He has borrowed a lot of my gold and wealth and also more from my mother, which is part of my undistributed inheritance. He has difficulty paying back this debt because he has other debts too. I have been giving my zakah and sometimes advance my zakah to my husband. I work hard to earn for myself because no one else would help me with the idea to sell my gold for its zakah payment. He spends his money wrongly, such as in buying cigrattes and pets instead of the necessary stuffs like disposable diapers for the baby's night time needs. Otherwise, it is too much for me to even wake up at night to change cloth diapers. Sometimes he argues with me when I buy diapers, tissues, food items, etc. I believe his anger is due to his being unable to pay it back. But he has no problem buying clothes and shoes and so on because those are the things his kids wear in the extended family gatherings. Unlike many women folk here who use their husband's money, I do not buy other than living necessities with my own money. And his mother wants to perform Hajj, so he also has to repay the money that he borrowed from her to pay back the loan on the house which he built for her. I argued and indicated that the mother has to spend on her son and make it easy for him rather than trying to perform Hajj when all her Mahrams (permanently unmarriageable kin) are already in poor condition. And that her house is a necessity rather than Hajj. Her poor son is not obliged to spend on his mother over his wife in these things when she has a husband, and she is also living in this house which was also built with her daughter's share. Is my dispute fair, or should he repay what he borrowed from his mother? And the main important question for telling you all this is: can I set aside the zakah amount and utilize it for my family spending, because I feel it is the same as giving zakah to the husband in old times, when there was no access to online shopping by womenfolk for their family needs? Or may I deduct the amount that is due as zakah from the money that I lent to him?


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, is His slave and Messenger.

Dear Sister, you have mentioned lengthy details that are irrelevant to the question and do not affect the answer. Our answer in brief is that your husband is obliged to settle the debts which he owes to all the creditors, whether it be his mother or anyone else. You are not obliged to spend on the household; rather, the husband is obliged to provide for his family, not the wife. Please, refer to fatwas 168551 and 85012.

It is impermissible to spend your zakaah on household expenses; this is different from paying the zakaah to your husband (if he is an eligible recipient) because the second involves Tamleek (the recipient takes real possession of the zakaah). When you pay the household expenses from the zakaah money, the element of Tamleek is missing.

It is also impermissible to deduct your husband's debts from your zakaah because the element of Tamleek is missing in this case as well.

For more benefit, please, refer to fatwas 85021 and 90677.

Allah knows best.

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