Q: Is it permissible to give Zakaat to a family member whose son is undergoing an operation? The son is mentally unfit. The parents both work but cannot afford the operation.
A. To give ones Zakaat to relatives is not only permissible but meritorious, as one would not only be discharging this obligation of Zakaat but strengthening family ties as well.
However, two points should be considered; it is not permissible to give Zakaat to ones descendents i.e. children, grandchildren, nor to ones ascendants i.e. parents, grandparents and neither to ones spouse.
Care should also be taken that the recipient is a worthy candidate for Zakaat i.e. he does not possess that amount of wealth which makes him unable to receive Zakaat. If he does possess some wealth you should wait until he has incurred the debt of the operation and then because his debts are more than his wealth, it would be correct for him to accept Zakaat.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Aadil Moosagie
Checked and approved by: Mufti Siraj Desai