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Question: Can I give zakah to my aunt who is a widow? She is not poor, but is working to make a decent living. She also belongs to ahl al-bayt?

Zakah can only be given to one of the following categories stated in the Qur’an: “ The poor and the needy, those who work to collect it, those whose hearts are to be reconciled, to free those in bondage, for those who are in debt, in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer.” (Q.9: 60).

If your aunt belongs to any of the above mentioned categories, she is eligible to receive zakah. If she is working but her earnings are not sufficient to provide for her needs or the needs of those who are under her care, she will still be considered eligible for zakah. Likewise, if she has an income, but that is not sufficient for paying off her debts and providing for herself and her dependents, she is still considered eligible.

Regarding the aspect of the question dealing with ahl al-bayt (the family of the Prophet, peace be on him), the discussion of what is ahl al-bayt, who is ahl al-bayt, etc. is a very large issue and extends beyond the limitations of this format. Therefore, in the interest of thoroughly addressing the question of zakah, we will refrain from introducing this issue here.

If, however, your aunt refuses to take zakah because she believes she cannot do so because she belongs to ahl al-bayt, then you should not give it to her. One must not impose one’s opinion on another person.

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