Can I Give My Zakat To My Brother’s Needy Sister In Law?

Question:

Assalamu ‘alaykum.

I wanted to know if it is permissible to give zakat to my husband’s brother’s wife. She has 3 children and is separated from her husband. He no longer supports her financially. She works as a teacher at a special needs school run by a charity in Pakistan and gets by. My husband is also helping in rebuilding her home as it was in bad condition. Can we give her zakat without her knowing because she has refused it?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
I pray you are well.

This depends on whether her needs fulfill the condition of accepting zakat. Many people have gold and silver jewelry, which they don’t see as finances. Rather, it is treated as an heirloom. If the value of that gold is above nisab, then they cannot accept Zakat.

You can discreetly ask one of her family members if she has gold or anything else of value that has been put away for a rainy day. If not, you can give her your zakat. You do not need to tell her it’s zakat, nor do you have to tell her it’s from you.  (Maydani, al Lubab)

Her being in your life is a gift and an opportunity to get closer to Allah. Help her as best you can, and it will be as though you are in constant worship.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.