Who is Eligible to Receive Zakat?
As defined in the Holy Qur’an, several groups of individuals are eligible for Zakat assistance or receipt, including:
- Fuqara, the poor
- Al-Masakin, the needy
- Amil, those employed to collect Zakat funds
- Muallaf, newcomers to Islam
- Riqab, those in slavery
- Gharmin, those in debt
- Fisabilillah, those who fight for Allah’s cause
- Ibnus Sabil, to assist the wayfarer or traveller who is cut off
This is defined in Surah Tawbah (9:60) of the Holy Qur’an:
‘As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara' (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.’
Can I Give Zakat to My Parents, Siblings or Extended Family?
The rules surrounding Zakat for families are complex. Some family members can receive Zakat whilst others cannot; however, should certain members of your family fall under one of the groups mentioned above, then they may be eligible.
You cannot give Zakat to anyone within your immediate family – therefore, the recipient of your Zakat cannot be your spouse, parents, grandparents or children as you are already expected to be responsible for their needs. However, other relatives can receive your Zakat as long as they are not living within your household or dependent on you financially.
The only exception to this rule is for wives giving zakat to their husbands if they are in need, which is always lawful under Zakat rules.