#29: Zakat to One’s Nephew/Niece

Question:

Is it permissible for me to pay my zakat by giving it to my nephew who has just continued his studies in an IPTA for several months since I was informed that he is in need of financial help?

Answer:

Students are included under the asnaf of fisabilillah. This is based on the hadith from Anas bin Malik radhiyallahu ‘anhu, where the Prophet PBUH said:

مَنْ خَرَجَ فِي طَلَبِ الْعِلْمِ فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ

“He who goes out in search of knowledge is in God’s path till he returns.” [1]

Basically, a person who is paying zakat cannot give his zakat to people who are under his care (responsibility) of nafkah. However – as cited in al-Fiqh al-Manhaji – a zakat payer is permitted to give his zakat to his family members who aren’t under his care or his responsibility such as his siblings, maternal and paternal aunt and uncle, their children and others as long as they are poor. Needy and from those who have a right to receive zakat. [2]

The ruling of giving zakat to one’s own family members was asked to Syeikh ‘Abdullatif Hamza, former Egypts, Grand Mufti in 1982. He explained that if they are under his nafkah responsibility then it is impermissible. But if they aren’t under his nafkah responsibility then it is permissible to give the zakat to them. [3]

 In a hadith narrated by Salman bin Amir RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

‏الصَّدَقَة عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةْ، وَعَلَى ذِي الْرحم ثنتان‏:‏ صَدَقَةْ وَصِلَةْ

 “Charity towards a poor person is charity, and towards a relation is both charity and maintaining the ties (of kinship).” [4]

Thus, in our opinion, it is permissible for a person to give zakat to his nephew or family member who is in need as long as they aren’t from amongst those under his responsibility. The reason is helping one’s own family is prioritized and more afdhal compared to others.

[1] Riwayat al-Tarmizi, no. 2647

[2] Al-Fiqh al-Manhajī, 2/42

[3] Al-Fatāwā al-Islāmiyyah, 1/164

[4] Narrated by al-Nasai’e, no. 2582 and Ibn Majah, no. 1844.

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