If a man is in severe debt and does not possess a house even however he has a car in his name. He does not have a penny to his name as all that is left over form his earnings after taking out expenditure goes towards paying his debts, but now his son is going to university and his other son is getting married, up until now he was allowed to use zakaah money to help pay off his debt, as he is paying for university fees and the wedding can he still be allowed to accept zakaah?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Allah states in the Quran, “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” (Surah At Tuaba: 60)
The categories of individuals mentioned above are entitled to receive zakat. A debtor is entitled to receive zakat if he does not have any surplus wealth exceeding the quantum of nisaab after deduction of all liabilities. (Hidaya, V1, P186)
In the above situation if the individual has in his possession wealth which is free from his basic needs (university fees and wedding costs are not considered as basic needs) and this amount after deduction of liabilities exceeds the quantum of nisaab then he will not be entitled to receive zakat. However if the person has already paid the university fees and wedding cost and is now in the situation where his wealth does not exceed the quantum of nisaab after deduction of liabilities then he will be entitled to receive zakat. It should be remembered that the first obligation is of paying of debts as Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) once told a companion that if a person was killed fighting in the path of Allah all his sins will be forgiven except debt. (Muslim, 871)
Only Allah knows best
Darul Ifta, Birmingham