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Should I Pay Zakah to Relatives or the State?

20 June, 2021
Q As-salaamu `alaykum. What happens if the State collects zakah in the case of someone who helps his needy distant relatives by paying them part of his zakah? Should he pay the State the full zakah amount then the State would pay his distant relatives? Or should he deduct from the amount due the amount he pays to his relatives, and give the State the net amount?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Relatives are among the first recipients of zakah, if they are needy. Therefore, each Muslim is highly recommended to pay them his zakah in accordance with the financial laws of his country; either to recommend a share of his zakah amount to the authority or to pay them sadaqah (charity).

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In his response to your question, Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Professor of Islamic Finance and Economics at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, states:

If the government in a Muslim majority country requires zakah to be paid through it by law, all Muslims must give their zakah to the government authority. If you want to pay relatives, there are only two ways:

– Some laws allow part of the zakah to be distributed personally or allow you to suggest the recipients of your zakah to the government authority.

– The second way, if there is no such facility, is to pay your relative sadaqah (charity) and get additional reward from Allah.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.