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Zakah for Emergency Travel: Valid?

11 May, 2018
Q My friend's mother had died in a tragic accident in another country when she went on a holiday. His father and siblings had rushed to that country. However, he could not go there since he didn't have enough money to travel. One brother helped him with some money from his zakah since he wanted badly to be with the family, to see his mother's grave, and say salam to her personally. Is he eligible for zakah under 'ibn al-sabil' category? Is it permissible to pay zakah for a person in this situation?


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:

This person is not eligible for zakah. The idea of ibn al-sabil does not apply here.

Responding to your question, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent Muslim economist and counselor, stated:

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Zakah is the third pillar of Islam. It is considered a purification of wealth, and it is always related to prayers in the Qur’an; whenever you read “…Perform prayers…” in the Qur’an, it is followed by “…pay Zakah“.

It is also known that zakah, if rightly paid, guarantees the solidarity and social coherence of the Muslim community.

In my opinion this person is not eligible for zakah. The idea of ibn al-sabil does not apply here. Here we have a man who likes to travel because of his own desire.

Whatever is paid by the other brother cannot be counted out of the zakah that is due on him. 

Ibn al-sabil in our times applies on refugees and rescue efforts to take people out of disasters and war areas. It may also apply in countries that do not have credit cards on some travelers, and the like.

Almighty Allah knows best.

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


About Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf
Dr. Monzer Kahf is a professor and consultant/trainer on Islamic banking, finance, Zakah, Awqaf, Islamic Inheritance, Islamic estate planning, Islamic family law, and other aspects of Islamic economics, finance, Islamic transactions (Mu'amalat). Dr. Monzer Kahf is currently Professor of Islamic Finance & Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey