Question: One of my aunts is widow, got two girls. They live alone, they have got no one as earner, they all are house women. They got 17 hundred thousand rupee fixed in bank on which they are running their lives and that is the only amount they have. Can I give them zakat as my cousins are orphan?
In Islam, one cannot give zakat to his poor parents, grandparents, wife, children, or grandchildren because he is already responsible for their sustenance if they are poor.
Mother-in-law and father-in-law are regarded as mother and father by birth only in certain matters, such as the prohibition of marriage, and observing the rulings of covering (hijab). They are, however, not like a person’s parents by birth in the matter of zakat because a person cannot be the heir of his mother or father-in-law. So, one can give zakat to his parents-in-law.
Other close relatives who can receive zakat from a person include siblings, children of siblings; aunts, uncles, and their children. Indeed giving zakat to close relatives is highly recommended because doing good to kins is decreed in the Qur’an.
You can give zakat to your aunt or her children. It is more virtuous to give zakat beginning with the needy close relatives.
The Glorified Allah commands:
“Fear Allah in Whose name you plea from each other, and respect the ties of kinship.” (An-Nisa/ The Women 4:1)
“Worship Allah and join nothing with Him. To parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the desperate, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are arrogant and boastful.” (An-Nisa/ The Women 4:36)
“And give the relative his right, and [also] the desperate and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.” (Al-Isra/ The Night Journey 17:26)
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (r.a.) that The Messenger of Allah enjoined:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be hospitable to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him do good to his kins; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, must speak good or remain silent!” (Bukhari, Adab 85; Muslim, Belief 74, 75. Also bk. Bukhari, Nikah 80, Adab 31, Rikak 23; Abu Dawood, Adab 123; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah 50; Ibn Majah, Adab 4)