Q: Please explain to me who qualifies for Zakaat and how do I find out if I qualify. I am unemployed and have debts to pay off. My husband is working but not managing to settle all the debt. We were living in London. Because we were not managing, I returned to SA and am living with my widow mom who is supporting me and my baby. My husband is still in the UK, working to pay off the debts and save some money to start a business in SA to support us. He is not coping as the cost of living there is too much. Also, we have been apart for almost 5 months now and I am struggling emotionally with that. My son also misses his dad. Will I qualify for Zakaat to pay off the debts and to have enough to start a business so that we can sustain ourselves in the future?
A: Normally most married females possess gold jewellery. You need to take that into consideration when assessing your eligibility for zakaat. If you do possess gold jewellery and the weight is 87 grams or more, then you need to get a value of the jewellery. This can be done by taking the jewellery to a reputable jeweller. Once you've done that, you need to tally all the debts that you owe. If your total debts amount to more than the value of your gold, then you may accept zakaat. If the debts are less than your gold value, you may not take zakaat.
If you have no jewellery, or the gold you have is less than 87 grams then you are certainly eligible for zakaat in view of your outstanding debts.
Mufti Siraj Desai