Giving zakaah money to idle son
Fatwa No: 357274

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Brother. We have a son who is 30 years old and has no job. He has been trying to work ever since he finished his education (MBA), but every job he gets does not last for more than two to five months, and then he is jobless again. He is also not able to marry due to this. His father has been spending on him his whole life, even until now. My son has nothing, he always depends on us to give him even his pocket money. I would like to know if we can keep our zakah as savings for him, as he is our son and has nothing for his future. Even if he gets a job and works, he needs years to save for his marriage, so if we save this money for him, it might help him a lot. The zakah should be given to the closest of kin first, and he is our son. May Allah reward you.

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, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The basic principle is that it is impermissible to give your zakaah to your son. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "It is not permissible to pay zakaah to one’s parents of all degrees or one's children of all degrees." [Al-Mughni]

Ibn Al-Munthir  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "The scholars unanimously agree that it is not permissible to give zakaah to one's parents in cases where the giver is legislatively obliged to spend on them, because giving zakaah to them means that they no longer have a need for his spending on them and makes him exempted from spending on them, and thus the benefit of that will come back to him; it is as if he is giving it to himself, and this is not permissible."

The scholars who held that it is obligatory upon you to provide for your son because he is unable to earn a living also held that it is impermissible to give him your zakaah, and this is the safer view. However, a group of scholars held that it is not obligatory on you to provide for your son because he is an adult; accordingly, you may give your zakaah to him. If you follow the view that it is allowed to give your zakaah to your son, then you must give him possession of the money when the lunar year elapses; it is impermissible to delay the payment of the zakaah under the pretext of saving the money for him.

It is more prudent to act upon the view of the scholars who forbid giving zakaah to the son under all circumstances. Accordingly, what you should do is urge your son to work and earn a living, to shun idleness, and to depend on himself in managing his affairs. If he needs money, you can help him, but not from the zakaah money.

Allah knows best.

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