I had lent a sum of money to one of my relatives. He is poor and eligible to receive Zakah. Now I want to write off the debt he owes me and deduct that sum as my Zakah payment for this year. Is it permissible?
الجواب باسم ملهم الصواب
- The general rule is that writing off a debt does not amount to paying off the Zakah of that amount.
- Therefore, if B owes, for example, £1000 to A, and A says to B that B is no longer obliged to pay back that amount – this will not amount to discharging of £1000 of A’s Zakah obligation.
- The correct method of discharging Zakah through a loan is that the creditor gives a certain amount of cash to the debtor as a Zakah payment, and then ask him to pay back the loan that he owes the creditor using that amount. If, after giving the Zakah amount, the debtor refuses to pay back the loan, the creditor has the right to forcefully recover his debt if the debt was payable on demand.
- Alternatively, an agent can be appointed by the creditor to pay Zakah to the debtor and recover the debt from the given amount.
Only Allah knows best.
Imam & Khateeb, Masjid Taqwa
Kyrwicks Lane, Birmingham
22 Dhū Al-Hijjah 1442 AH
احسن الفتاوى: ج 4، ص 260
قال في الدر المختار: واعلم أن أداء الدين عن الدين والعين عن العين، وعن الدين يجوز وأداء الدين عن العين، وعن دين سيقبض لا يجوز. وحيلة الجواز أن يعطي مديونه الفقير زكاته ثم يأخذها عن دينه، ولو امتنع المديون مد يده وأخذها لكونه ظفر بجنس حقه، فإن مانعه رفعه للقاضي. (راجع الدر مع حاشية ابن عابدين : ج 5، ص 459-461، دار الثقافة والتراث)