Question: Is it permissible in Islam to give Zakaah to poor & deserving close relatives like brothers & sister, uncles & aunts?
Answer: Praise be to Allaah. Giving zakaah to relatives who are entitled to it is - better than giving it to those who are not your relatives, because giving charity to relatives is both charity and upholding the ties of kinship. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Charity given to a poor person is charity, but charity given to a relative is two things. charity and upholding the ties of kinship." (Saheehal-Nasaal, 2420).
But if these relatives are among those on whom you are obliged to spend, but you give them your zakaah so that you can save money; then that is not permissible. But if your wealth is sufficient to spend on them, then there is nothing wrong with giving them some of your zakaah. Similarly, if they are in debt and you payoff their debts from your zakaah, there is nothing wrongwith your doing that, because a person is not obliged to payoff his relatives debt, so if he pays it off from his zakaah then that is fine.
Even if it is your son or your father who owes a debt to someone and cannot pay it off, it is permissible for you to pay it off from your zakaah. From the fatwas of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him). [Fatawa al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al- Uthaymeen. 1/461.]
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited