The Needy

This category refers to people who for instance, may have a job, a house and a car, but their income is below the minimum requirement. Scholars mention that their earnings cover half of their annual expenses or more but fall below the minimum requirements to cover their total annual expenses. Allah says in the Qur'an:
As for the ship, it belonged to some masaakin (poor people) working in the sea.
(Surat al Kahf, verse 79)

Can We Give Out To Relatives?

Ruling 1:

It is not permissible to give out zakaat to those who are under our care and responsibility such as the wife, parents and grand-parents (al usool), children and grand-children (al furoo’) except in certain cases as follows:

a) It is permissible to give out zakaat to aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters if they are from the eligible recipients. They have priority upon other eligible recipients for zakaat, if they are not under our care.

b) It is permissible to give zakaat to the husband if he is from the eligible recipients. See Sahih al Bukhari/Fathul Baari, "chapter of giving zakaat to the husband and the orphans living in the household" and Sharhul Mumti' 'ala Zaadil Mustaqni' (vol 6/page261)

c) Giving zakaat to relatives is permissible as long as it is not mandatory/waajib to look after them (nafaqat) such as the brother if he has children. This is due to the fact that if the brother has children he is not part of the inheritors and therefore it is not mandatory to spend (nafaqat) on him. In this situation it is then permissible to give him zakaat if he belongs to any of the 8 categories. Sheikh Al Uthaymeen/Majmoo’ul fataawa/Fatwa 302

d) However, if the people who are looked after incur debt, it is permissible to pay it off with the zakaat. Example: if a young man had a car accident and would have to pay a compensation for the car of the third party involved in the accident and would not have the money to pay, it is permissible for his father to help his son paying the compensation with his zakaat money; i.e. with the zakaat of the father. This is permissible because this compensation has nothing to do with the normal duty of care of the father; i.e. this is not mandatory upon the father to pay this compensation due to the fact that paying for this compensation is not part of his duty as a father. Sheikh Al Uthaymeen/Majmoo’ul fataawa/ Fatwa 303.

e) Likewise, if a wife had a debt, it would be permissible for the husband to give her from his zakaat money to pay off her debt. This is due to the fact that paying the debt is not part of the normal duty of care of the husband towards the wife; i.e. It is not mandatory upon him to pay off her debt in the first place. (Sheikh Al Uthaymeen Sharhul Mumti’ ‘ala Zaadil Mustaqni’ vol 6/page263)

f) Also, it is permissible for the son to pay off the debt of his father if he is alive and if the father is not able to pay off his own debt. i.e. The son can pay off the father’s debt with the zakaat money. Sheikh Al Uthaymeen/Majmoo’ul fataawa Fatwa 303.

Ruling 2:

The recipient must be made to own the assets given in zakaat (tamlik). Regarding the poor or the needy addicted to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, their family should be given zakaat to cover the needs of the household if they are poor or needy. Also, we request from them that they delegate the task of buying things for the house to us. Also, paying off their debt is permissible as long as they are not given the money in their hands. See "Majmoo' al fataawa" vol18 page page 351. Can We Give Our Zakaat Money to a Man Who Wants to Get Married? It is permissible to utilize the money from Zakaat to help a man to get married if he cannot afford the dowry even if he doesn’t fit in the category of the poor or the needy. However, we must make sure that the proposal has been made as the person could take the money and use it for another purpose. See “Majmoo’ al fataawa” vol18 page 352/376/508; and this is the opinion of the jumhur in this matter.

Can We give Our Zakaat Money to Patients for Their Medical Treatment?

Zakaat money can be used to pay for the medical treatment of someone who cannot afford it. See Al Uthaymeen “Majmoo’ al fataawa” vol18 page 342.Can We Give Our Zakaat Money to People of Innovation?As for distributing zakaat money to people of bid’a, Sheikh Al Uthaymeen made the following distinction: Al bid’a al mukaffirah: The innovator whose innovation leads to exiting out of the fold of Islam should not receive it such as the one who believes that Allah is everywhere, such as the one who seeks help from Allah’s prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or such as the one who believes that Allah is not above His creation. Al bid’a al mufassiqah: The innovator, whose innovation does not reach the level of (disbelief) kufr, should receive it as long as he falls in one of the 8 categories. See “Majmoo’ al fataawa” vol18 page page433.

Can We Send Our Zakaat Funds Abroad?

It is permissible to send the zakaat funds from a country where the funds are collected to another country near or far if there is a genuine need. For example, the receiving country would face more absolute poverty. Another example: Those who pay their zakat would have relatives abroad classified as “fuqara” and in this case there would be two benefits: giving out charity and maintaining the ties of kinship. (See book of sheikh Salih Aali Sheikh: Al Fiqhul Muyassir, page 148)