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Who is Eligible for Zakat?

To be eligible to receive  Zakat , the recipient must be poor and/or needy. A poor person is someone whose property, in excess of his basic requirements, does not reach the nisab threshold.

The recipient must not belong to your immediate family; your spouse, children, parents and grandparents cannot receive your Zakat. Other relatives, however, can receive your zakat.

Above all, it is essential to determine who is eligible to  receive  Zakat. This forms part of the validity of your Zakat donation. Zakat is not a form of  Sadaqah  (voluntary charity).

Zakat is an obligatory form of charity. Every Muslim who meets the eligibility criterion must pay Zakat. The donations are then re-distributed to the Muslim community on an annual basis.

Zakat Eligibility

Eight factors determine whether someone is eligible to receive Zakat. The Qur’an clearly outlines the eight categories of people who are eligible to receive Zakat:


Alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free slaves and help those in debt, for God’s cause, and for travellers in need. This is ordained by God; God is all knowing and wise.
– Al Qur’an: Surah Tawbah: Verse 60


These boundaries are set by Allah (swt), and Islamic Relief Canada believes that we – as Zakat custodians – will be held accountable by Allah (swt) for how we distribute Zakat funds and the extent to which we adhere to the conditions and parameters set by Allah (swt). 

As such, Islamic Relief Canada will only distribute zakat to rights holders (directly or through projects), ensuring individual ownership for the categories outlined above. 

In summary, these eight ordained categories can help you determine Zakat eligibility on a yearly basis.

If you subscribe to the Hanafi and Hanbali madhaab, the recipient must not belong to your immediate family. For example, your spouse, children or parents

However, in the Shafi and Maliki madhaabs, you are able to give Zakat to your immediate family. This is as long as their maintenance is not your responsibility. However, other relatives can receive your Zakat.

To find out if you’re eligible to pay Zakat,  use our Zakat Calculator .

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