Concluding Who is Entitled to Receive Zakaat
It is permissible to give zakaat to one’s foster mother and foster children.
The mahr of a woman was fixed at R1000. However, the husband cannot fulfil this due to poverty. It will be permissible to give zakaat to such a woman. It will also be permissible to give zakaat to her if her husband is rich but refuses to give, or if she has absolved him from giving the mahr. If the woman knows that if she had to ask her husband for her mahr, he will give it to her without hesitation, it will not be permissible to give zakaat to her.
A person gave zakaat to another person thinking that he is poor. Later, he learnt that this person was rich or he was a sayyid. Alternatively, he gave it to someone on a dark night and later realized that the person to whom he had given the zakaat was actually his mother or daughter, or any other relative to whom zakaat is not permissible. In all these cases, zakaat will be considered to be fulfilled and there will be no need to repeat the payment of zakaat. However, if the person to whom the zakaat was given learns that this was actually zakaat money and that he is not eligible to receive zakaat, he should return the zakaat money. If the person who gave the zakaat learns that the person to whom he had given the zakaat was actually a kaafir, he will have to give zakaat again.
A person has a doubt as to whether a certain person is rich or poor. Zakaat should not be given to him until it has been ascertained whether he is eligible to receive zakaat or not. If zakaat is given to him without ascertaining his financial position, the person should check with his heart and see to which side his heart is more inclined. If his heart tells him that the person is poor, zakaat will be fulfilled. If his heart tells him that the person is rich, zakaat will not be fulfilled and will therefore have to be repeated. But if he establishes the fact that he is indeed a poor person after having given the zakaat to him, then he does not have to give the zakaat again.
At the time of giving zakaat and all other forms of charity, one should first take one’s relatives into consideration. However, when giving them this zakaat, they should not be told that it is zakaat so that they do not feel offended. It is mentioned in the Hadith that by giving charity to one’s relatives one receives a double reward – one reward for giving charity, and one for showing kindness to one’s relatives. After giving the relatives, if there is any remainder, it should be given to outsiders.
It is makruh to send the zakaat of one place to another place. However, it will not be makruh to do so in the following instances: (1) if one’s poor relatives live at another place, (2) the inhabitants of that place are more deserving than the inhabitants of this place, (3) the inhabitants of that place are more involved in deeni activities. There is great reward in sending zakaat to students of deen and pious ulama.