What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Are orphans and widows eligible for Zakāh – can it be given to them?

Questioner: Zahida from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

If the relevant orphan or widow is poor as defined by Sharī’ah, then they are eligible for Zakāh, because anyone who is poor as per Sharī’ah is eligible for Zakāh, and a poor person in the eyes of Sharī’ah is any such person who does not possess wealth equaling to the threshold i.e. 52.5 Tolas (~612.35 g) of silver or its monetary value [equivalent to around £225 on 25/05/2019], excluding any debt and basic needs, nor does such person possess anything, excluding their basic needs, which equals the aforementioned threshold. For example, an extra house other than the one such person is living in, or any land which is not being used for one’s own personal need.

Just as it is stated in Tanwīr al-Absār ma’ Durr Mukhtār,

“هُوَ فَقِيرٌ، وَهُوَ مَنْ لَهُ أَدْنَى شَيْءٍ أَيْ دُونَ نِصَابٍ أَوْ قَدْرُ نِصَابٍ غَيْرِ نَامٍ مُسْتَغْرِقٍ فِي الْحَاجَةِ”

“A poor person [as defined by Sharī’ah] is he who has a minor amount of wealth i.e. less than the threshold, or equal to the threshold but [such wealth] does not have the potential or capability to increase – which is excluding one’s basic needs i.e. that which is used for one’s basic needs.”

[Tanwīr al-Absār ma’ Durr Mukhtār, vol 2, pg 339]

People are usually inclined towards giving Zakāh to widows, although they do not check whether the relevant widow is poor or not according to Sharī’ah, because sometimes a widow owns a certain amount of gold – from which if there is even one Tola [~11.66 g] above her basic needs, then such a widow will be regarded as well off, because nowadays 1 Tola of gold is worth more than 52.5 Tolas [~612.35 g] of silver. Thus, in such case, offering her Zakāh will not deem it fulfilled, because this widow is well off, and only a poor person as defined by Sharī’ah is eligible for Zakāh.

Hence, it is stated in the Holy Qur’ān by Allāh Almighty,

{اِنَّمَا الصَّدَقٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَالْمَسٰکِیۡنِ}

{Zakāh is only for those people who are poor and the strictly needy}

[Sūrah al-Tawbah, 60]

Furthermore, it is stated in Bahār-e-Sharī’at – referencing Radd al-Muhtār – threshold here refers to the value of those items that should be equal to two hundred dirhams (i.e. the current standard threshold), even though by itself it may not be so much that Zakāh is wājib on it. For example, if six Tolas of gold is equal to the value of two hundred dirhams, then the one who has this, even though Zakāh is not wājib upon him, because the threshold of gold is seven and a half Tolas, but that person cannot be given Zakāh. Alternatively, in the case where a person has thirty goats or twenty cows, which add up to the value of two hundred dirhams, then such person cannot be given Zakāh, even though Zakāh is not wājib on him. Also, if he has more goods than his need, which are also not for trade purpose, but they are equal to two hundred dirhams (i.e. threshold amount), then he also cannot be given Zakāh.

[Bahār-e-Sharī’at, vol 1, part 5, pg 929]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadiri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0712] Can I give my Zakah to any orphan or widow?

Also see:

[Q-ID0709] How can I find out if a person is eligible to receive Zakah?

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