Can a peron pay his real brother`s debts from his own zakat dues?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Brother:
I`ve a question regarding Zakat.

Can a peron pay his real brother`s debts from his own zakat dues? Like a person has to pay certain amount from his savings as zakat, is he allowed to pay that amount to off set his brother`s debts?

Thanks & Regards

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Zakah for brother’s debts

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verse 60:

60      Alms are for the poor, and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds), for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the Truth), for those in bondage and in debt, in the Cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom.

 

Allah Subhanah has prescribed that ‘zakah’ should be only paid to any of the above eight listed categories:

  1. To the poor
  2. To the needy
  3. To those who are employed to administer the zakah funds
  4. To those whose hearts have recently been reconciled to the Truth of Islam (new-muslims)
  5. For those in bondage
  6. For those in debt
  7. In the Cause of Allah
  8. To the way-farer or traveler

 

Allah Subhanah has Commanded and Guided the believers that ‘Zakah’ funds may be distributed to any of the above absolutely vast eight categories only; for all other categories, one may help them through voluntary and supererogatory charity or ‘sadaqa’ but not through ‘Zakah’ funds.

 

Your Question: …..Can a peron pay his real brother`s debts from his own zakat dues? Like a person has to pay certain amount from his savings as zakat, is he allowed to pay that amount to off set his brother`s debts?

It is not permissible in Shariah for one to give or spend from ‘zakah’ dues on those who are directly under one’s responsibility (ie. parents, wife, children, etc.). 

 

Brothers, sisters, near or far relatives, etc. do not fall under the category of those who are under one’s wards or responsibility….thus if one finds one amongst one’s own kith and poor or needy, because of their bond of kinship, these relatives have the biggest right that ‘zakah’ dues are spent on them.

 

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "Charity for the poor is rewarded as one good deed; but in the case of a relative it is considered as two: [one reward for helping] blood ties, and [the other reward for] the charity [itself]."

Related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmidhi.

 

If one’s own brother is indeed amongst the poor and needy, does not have enough to provide for himself and his family, and is furthermore incapable of fulfilling his debt….a blood-relative as close as one’s own brother has the biggest right that one pay off his debts from their annual ‘zakah’ dues.

 

But if this brother is blessed with abundance, has sufficient funds to provide for himself and his family, and has the ability to fulfill his own debt….then such a person would not fall under those who are eligible to receive from ‘zakah’ funds.  If such a brother has taken a debt upon himself, there is absolutely no harm or restriction if the brother wishes to fulfill their brother’s debt from their voluntary charity or ‘sadaqah’, but not from their ‘zakah’ dues.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 

 

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