Q: I send my Zakat abroad to my relatives who are poor. But some of them are young, healthy and able to work, yet they do not seem to make any effort to find a job. In fact, it feels as if they chose not to work because they know they will always receive Zakat from us. Is it permissible to give them Zakat in this situation?
A: Yes, it is permissible for you to give them Zakat in this situation. This is the opinion of the Hanafi and the Maliki schools of jurisprudence. However, you do not have to give them your Zakat if you choose not to.
On the other hand, based on what you have mentioned, it would not be permissible to give such people Zakat according to the Shafi’s and Hanbalis. A healthy person who can find a decent job but chooses not to, will not be eligible to receive Zakat.
The scholars of these schools have however made some exceptions:
– if the person has gone to seek Islamic knowledge and cannot find the time to work
– the person wants to work but cannot find a job that is
a) lawful (halal)
b) that befits his status and dignity (e.g. a scholar cannot be expected to work as a cleaner)
And Allah knows best!
Mufti Billal Omarjee