Date : 11-01-2024

Question :

I have a grocery store, and I share it with my brother and sister. We have accumulated a sum of money designated for emergencies because we don't have health insurance. The date of the Zakat due on that sum is approaching, and our salaries are not sufficient for our expenses. Is it permissible for us to take from the Zakat due on that sum?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Whoever owns an amount of money that reaches the Nisab (Minimum amount of wealth liable for Zakat) and one lunar year passes while it remains in their possession, it is obligatory for them to pay Zakat to its eligible recipients, regardless of the reason for saving the money. Allah has specified the recipients of Zakat in the Quran, as He says {What means}: "Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom." [At-Tawbah, 60]. Additionally, Narrated Ziyad ibn al-Harith as-Suda'i: "I came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and swore allegiance to him, and after telling a long story he said: Then a man came to him and said: Give me some of the sadaqah (alms). The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Allah is not pleased with a Prophet's or anyone else's decision about sadaqat till He has given a decision about them Himself. He has divided those entitled to them into eight categories, so if you come within those categories, I shall give you what is rightfully yours."

It is a condition for the payment of Zakat that the person whose wealth is liable for Zakat does not give it to himself/herself. Giving Zakat to oneself does not fulfill the obligation of this act of worship or transfer the ownership of the Zakat funds, as it isn`t permissible to be a giver of Zakat and deserving of it at the same time. In addition, it isn`t allowed for the giver of Zakat to give it to his dependents, under the pretext of their being poor or needy, since he is obliged to provide for them.

Imam Ash-Sharbini, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned in his explanation of the categories of those who aren`t eligible to receive Zakat, saying: "The fourth category includes those whose financial responsibilities are already being covered by others through marriage or other means. Zakat should not be given to them under the name of the shares designated for the poor or the needy, as they are already self-sufficient. However, Zakat can be given to them from the shares allocated to the remaining categories if they fall into those specific circumstances." [Al-Iqna' fi Sharh Alfaz Abi Shuja', Vol. 1/P. 232].

In conclusion, it is not permissible for the giver of Zakat to take it for himself from his own wealth, nor is it allowed to give it to those whose financial responsibilities he is obligated to cover, such as parents, wife, and young children, under the pretext of poverty and need. This is since he possesses savings from which he can take for his expenses. And Allah the Almighty knows best.