My daughter has two girls, aged 12 and 9, her husband left her and the children with no money and refuses to send any support to them. She is not working and never worked before. I am supporting her and her children until she finishes training for a job and can support herself and can get a divorce and all legal actions. My question: is the money I am spending be considered as Zakah, keeping in mind that this expense is depleting all of my resources and I am 70 years old?
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.
A husband is responsible to provide for his wife and children if he is capable of doing so. But if the wife is disobedient and does not accept to abide by her husband's orders, then her husband is no longer to provide for her even though he is obliged to provide for his children.
On the other hand, you are liable to take from her husband the money that you have spent on your daughter and her children. The husband is legally responsible to pay you back for whatever you have spent on his wife and children. However, if you have spent the money with the intention of charity then you have no right to take it back.
Know that it is not allowed to consider the expenditures you spent on your daughter and children from Zakaah since a rich father or mother is responsible to spend on their poor children. The grandchildren are also like children in this ruling. Imam Ibn Qudamah in his book al-Kafi narrated from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that he said: “Zakaah is not given to the children of a daughter for the Hadith of the Prophet that he said: “This son of mine is a leader” [i.e. Hasan who was his daughter's son].
When giving Zakaah becomes forbidden because of close family ties spending on these close relatives becomes mandatory.
Allah knows best.
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