Wife giving zakaah to insolvent husband who owns land
Fatwa No: 363487

Question

I have given zakah to my husband for two years as well as advance zakah for a coming year because he used to tell me that he does not have any money for my maintenance, so I thought that instead of him borrowing a lot from me, it would be rather wise to give an advance zakah. I was annoyed that he has wasted it on himself again than saving it for my maintenance before he gets busy with his job. He owns a piece of land for the purpose of selling it, which I told him should be priced according to the debts that he owes to others yearly so that he becomes eligible for receiving my zakah. He has been arrogant about this matter and says that the land is his and that he will never be able to repay everybody otherwise. Recently, he requested to borrow a large amount of my money to start a business even though he owes me a larger amount of debt. I refused because of family disputes and told him to inquire from the zakah organization to settle his past business loss debts. My refusal has many other reasons, like the fact that I worked harder for the purpose of zakah payments on my gold while nobody was assisting me in that. I am a Cochlear implant patient, and the replacement of my hearing components costed a lot. I was working while looking after a demanding baby by myself and also struggled while teaching the toddler for her school studies and spent on his children. He does not even like assisting in household works as he thinks that that is not his role, etc. He is aware that he cannot be eligible for zakah from anybody as he told me that he has parents, his land, etc. I am again frustrated when I heard about his land and that he is trying to sell it for a price more than his debts in order to repay others and also obtain profit. I told him that it should not be priced like that till the term of my advanced zakah has expired. He could still have gotten some money for starting his business if its price was lowered, but he, again, is not willing to do so. Is all my zakah which I gave him in the past valid? Should all the zakah which was given to him be claimed back or again given from my wealth in order to properly send it to other needy people?

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.

If your husband is poor and he cannot earn his necessary expenses and the expenses of those whom he is obliged to spend on, then it is permissible for you to give your zakaah to him. The same thing applies if he is in debt and is unable to repay his debt.

So if you give zakaah to him because he is poor or because he is indebted and he cannot repay his debt, then you are acquitted from the obligation of giving zakaah by giving it to him, and you are not obliged to take back the money that you had given him as zakaah [as your zakaah to him is valid].

On the other hand, if he is rich and he is able to spend on himself and his dependents, or he is indebted but he owns something to repay his debt with, such as the piece of land that you mentioned, and he is able to sell it, then giving your zakaah to him does not acquit you from the obligation of giving zakaah. In this case, you must give zakaah again, and you may ask him to give you back the money that you gave him as zakaah.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwas 81677and 350986.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa