Can my relative receive Zakat?

Can my relative receive Zakat?

Question:

one of my close relative is passing through crunch times these days. The family was living a comfortable life and possessed all the luxuries. The family was able to eat good food and wore costly clothes. The male head of the family is doing a business under an employer. He bought a constructed house on bank loan and a car on lease from bank during hey days almost 4 years ago. The installment money for the house and car is being paid every month to the banks and will continue for some more years.

All of a sudden for the last two years, the business of my close relative has gone down. He is finding it considerably difficult to meet all the basic requirements of the family. Moreover, the installment on loan taken from bank for both house and car is also being deducted from his income. In these trying times, he is finding it difficult to meet the educational expenses of his children who are studying in good institutions. The monthly income of the head of the family has been reduced to Rs. 100000 which was Rs. 250000.

Another of my family friend has handed over an amount to me which he said was a zakat amount. He gave me the authority to distribute the zakat amount to any needy person.

Now the question is can i distribute this zakar amount to that relative who is now living a life in a financial crisis situation? Can a zakat amount be given to a person who has a house and a car but both are taken on loan and the loan is continued to be paid with difficulty? can a zakat be given to a person who was living a wealthy life in the past but now he is in dire straits and there are alsoc chances that his crunch time would be over sometimes in future.

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We acknowledge your concern for your relative and your desire to help and assist him to overcome the situation he is facing.

Brother, the overall purpose of zakat is to ensure that the Muslim community remains strong, assisting and aiding those certain individuals who are less fortunate within the Muslim society.Zakat has the potential to ease the suffering of millions who are living through extremely difficult and troubling times.It will help support them, stabilize them and make them socially secure. It will put food on the table, clothes on their back and give them clean water to drink. zakat can help uplift them out of extreme poverty and back on their feet.

Brother, we acknowledge the situation your relative currently faces. In principle, if a person has so much liabilities that after deducting the liabilities, it engulfs the whole of his wealth, or the remainder of his wealth after deducting the liabilities is less than the Nisab amount, then he is eligible to receive zakat. However, it would be appropriate for your relative to seek counsel from a Muslim financial advisor on how to adjust and manage his finances. It is not appropriate for him, whilst sustaining himself on zakat funds, to continue with the same standard of living he was previously accustomed to. He should suffice with a moderate standard of living until he is able to get his finances in order.

The rulings pertaining to the distribution of zakat are so critical and sensitive that it may affect the fulfilment of zakat from the payer’s side if it is not discharged correctly to an eligible recipient. Furthermore, matters of one’s personal finances are also very sensitive. Thus, we advise that the issue be handed over to a local Mufti so that he may asses the situation and the finances of your relative and advise accordingly with regards to such a sensitive matter.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hammad Ibn Ismail Jogiat

Student - Darul Iftaa

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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