Zakat, Sadaqah or Lillah for a single mum

Zakat, Sadaqah or Lillah for a single mum


A single mum of 2 is living in rented accommodation which is partly owned by the Government. Shes working 10 hours a week to top up the rent but she is financially struggling. In such circumstances is she entitled to Zakat, Sadaqah or lillah. She struggles to put food on the table. No help from the husband and no support from their dad. Can someone please verify.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

According to Shariah, if one possesses the nisaab (quantum) amount of Zakat and one’s liabilities do not exceed one’s assets, then Zakat is obligatory on such a person. Moreover, Zakat is calculated on Zakatable assets which are in one’s ownership. The standard Nisab amount is 20 Mithqals which translates to 87.48 grams of gold or 200 Dirhams which is equivalent to 612.36 grams of silver or the equivalent in the present value of cash. One can procure the latest Nisab value from one’s local Islamic organization. One’s personal belongings (Hawa’ije Asliyyah) do not form part of one’s Zakatable assets. Moreover, if one’s wealth decreases below the Nisab threshold during the year but equals or exceeds the Nisab amount at the end of one’s Zakat year, then Zakat is still Wajib. (Kanz al-Daqa’iq, Pg. 203 and al-Ikhtiyar, Pg. 99, Vol.1) 

Furthermore, Zakat is essentially an economic mechanism for socio economic empowerment and genuine poverty eradication and hence such funds should be dispensed in a manner that seeks to empower the recipients of Zakat to become financially independent over a period of time. It is an established principle of Zakat and Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) that one should dispense of Zakat in a manner that is most empowering (Anfa’) for the masses. Alhamdulillah we have started to establish such poverty eradication measures in the various organizations we serve and have seen tremendous results in such efforts. 

In the scenario stated above as per your question, the individual in reference will be a legitimate recipient of Zakat (Masraf) if she does not possess the Nisab amount of Zakat. We advise for you to conduct an investigation or seek further advice from your local Islamic organization should you wish to dispense of your Zakat to such an individual to ensure that she is indeed a valid and legitimate recipient (Masraf) of Zakat. One also does not need to specify that such funds being dispensed to such a Zakat recipient is of a Zakat nature and rather other general terms may be used such as “I am gifting you the funds”.

Nevertheless, if the above individual in reference is not a legitimate recipient of Zakat, then one may dispense of Lillah/Sadaqah funds to such an individual with the intention of reward (Sawab) from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). Rasulullah Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has accorded significant importance to the institution of benevolent charity. Consider the following Hadeeth (Prophetic Tradition): Hadrat Anas Bin Malik Radhiyallahu Anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said “Indeed charity expiates the anger of Allah and it wards off an evil death.” (al-Jami Lil al-Tirmidhi)

You are welcome to contact us directly at the Darul Iftaa for any advice in terms of a free Zakat computation service at:

Alhamdulillah our Darul Iftaa provides Shariah guidance and advice to a multitude of Zakat and charitable organizations globally in South Africa, United Kingdom, Russia and elsewhere. 
The Darul Iftaa is open from 9 AM to 9 PM Monday to Friday and 8 AM to 12 PM on Saturday.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

(Mufti) Ismail Desai
Chairman of Shariah Board and Fatwa Committee
Darul Iftaa, Durban, South Africa

Disclaimer The views and opinions expressed in this answer belong only to the author and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of any organizations to which he may be affiliated with. The opinions and educational information proffered in this communication are based on the jurisprudential understanding and available knowledge of the author. Given that contemporary issues and interpretations of contemporary issues are subjective in nature, another scholar may reach different juristic inferences and conclusions to those as expressed by the author. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure total academic integrity and honesty, the author is open to corrective measures based on sound academics and juristic inferences. The Shari’ah ruling given herein is based specifically on the specific scenario in question. The author bears no responsibility towards any party that acts or does not act on this answer and is exempted from any and all forms of loss or damage. This answer may not be used as evidence in any court of law without prior written consent from the author. Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.

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