Can we Give Zakah to Ahl al-Bayt?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question 

Zakah should not be given to the “Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib,” as they are the direct descendants of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), also known as Sayyids.”
If someone is a sayyid, can he/she give zakah to another sayyid/sayyida, as you would be giving to a relative who is (struggling financially)?
Can we pay Zakah in installments? If, for example, we pay a certain amount this month and the rest in a different month?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.

Who Are the Ahl Al-Bayt in This Context?

The Ahl al-Bayt (the members of the Prophet’s household) is the tribe of ‘Abd al-Muttalib (the descendants of ‘Ali, the descendants of ‘Abbas, the descendants of Ja’far, the descendants of ‘Aqil, the descendants of al-Harith and the sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib), and their freed slaves. [Al-Mawsua al-Fiqhiyya]

Can the Ahl Al-Bayt Receive Zakah?

There is an Ijma (consensus) among Muslim scholars that it is not lawful to give Zakah (obligatory charity) to the family members of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), and nor should they receive it. [Nawawi, Majmu’]

In light of the above, the beloved Prophet  (may Allah bless him and give him peace)  said: “Charity and Zakah are not lawful for the family members of the Prophet, since they would be considered as the dirt of the people who give them.” [Muslim]

Instead, Sacred Law allotted a one-fifth share of the collective booty. Allah says: “Know that whatever spoils you take, one-fifth is for Allah and the Messenger, his close relatives, orphans, the poor, and ˹needy˺ travelers if you ˹truly˺ believe in Allah and what We revealed to Our servant on that decisive day when the two armies met ˹at Badr˺. And Allah is Most Capable of everything.” [Quran, 8:41]

May the Ahl Al-Bayt Receive Zakah in the Absence of Booty?

Though not the majority or strongest view, some scholars opine that when the allotted share of booty is not available, and the members of his noble family (may Allah bless him and give him peace) are in need, they may be given Zakah. The official view in the Shafi’i School is that it is not befitting and impermissible, and Allah knows best. [Nawawi, Majmu’]

Can the Family of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) Give Each Other Zakah?

As with the above ruling, a minority of scholars [Hanbali School] opine that the Ahl Al-Bayt may receive each other’s Zakah. The majority, however, disagree with this opinion, and Allah knows best. [Mardawi, Al-Insaf]

The late contemporary Shafi’i Mufti, Muhammad Taha Karaan (may Allah have mercy on him), opined that even though the above minority views exist, there are nobler alternatives. He advocated that it is more befitting that Muslims honor the noble family of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) by setting up special non-Zakah-based funds specifically for them. He initiated one such fund in South Africa.

May One Pay Zakah in Installments?

Zakah should be given to its rightful owners as soon as it is due. One may pay Zakah before it is due, and in that case, one may pay it in installments, and Allah knows best. [Misri, ‘Umdat al-Salik]

I pray this is of benefit.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others. He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town. Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.