It is not permissible for a man to give zakaah to his wife according to the consensus of the scholars (RAH), because zakaah is the share of the poor and needy for which he is not directly responsible. However, if the wife is divorced, then one of two scenarios must apply: I . It is a revocable divorce, or 2. It is an irrevocable separation, as in the case of khula (separation at the instance of the wife) or a third talaaq (divorce) after which the iddah (waiting period) has ended.
If it is a revocable divorce, it is not permissible to give zakaah to her, because the wife who has been divorced with a revocable divorce is still a wife and she has the same rights and duties as any wife except in exemptions mentioned by the scholars such as a share of the husbandstime [in the case of a plural marriage] and maintenance in the case of wilful defiance (nushooz). But if it is an irrevocable divorce, asin the caseof athird talaaq or khula, even if her iddah has not yet ended, then she is a "stranger" or non-mahram to him, so if she is entitled to zakaah, it is permissible to give zakaah to her, because she is included in the verse in which Allah says: "As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa (poor), and Al-Masaakeen (the poor) ... ﾓ(Q9 [al-Tawbah] :60).
And because the husband is no longer obliged to spend on her maintenance, so it is permissible for him to give zakaah to her. That applies unless she is pregnant, because if she is pregnant then her ex-husband is obliged to spend on her. But if she is not entitled to zakaah, such as if she has relatives who are spending on her, then it is not permissible to give her zakaah because she is not included among the categories mentioned in the verse, and because the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "One who is independent of means or who is strong and can earn a living has no share of it." (Abu Dawood / Irwa al-Ghaleel)
In the commentary on Qalyoobi Umayrah (3/197) it says: "The one who is sponsored by a relative or a spouse is not poor, according to the more correct opinion, because he is not in need; this is like the one who can earn every day enough to suffice him". To sum up: it is permissible for the husband to give his zakaah to his ex-wife, if her iddah has ended or it was an irrevocable divorce, if she is entitled to zakaah.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited