Waiving a debt through deducting it from the Zakah

Fatwa no. ( 20567 ) All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets. (Part No. 8; Page No. 452) The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has read the letter that has come to His Eminence, Grand Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) from the respected General Director of the branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da`wah, and Guidance in Al-Bahah area, Salih ibn `Aly Al-Zahrany, no. 26/1/2008, dated 29/7/1419 A.H., which was referred to the committee from Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. 4744, dated 3/8/1419 A.H. His Eminence has called for an investigation of the question presented by the citizen, which is attached to the letter of His Eminence that reads:I did business with someone who took cars from me to help with the marriage of his son for a sum of 160,000 riyals. His son later dissociated himself from him and left the job. I lodged a complaint against this man and a judgment was passed for him to pay me or be imprisoned. He was sentenced to nine months in prison and could not pay back anything of this sum. I agreed with him to mortgage his two low standard houses and own nothing else to pay his debts under the following conditions: to pay me a sum of 80,000 riyals by the end of 1417 A.H. and another sum of 80,000 riyals by the end of 1418 A.H. However, the man managed only to pay 30,000 riyals which he obtained from a benevolent person. He still owes 130,000 riyals. Therefore, the low standard houses are considered to belong to me according to the legal document (Part No. 8; Page No. 453) issued from the legal court of Daws.Your Eminence, I am convinced that this man is poor and has no accommodations or shelter except these two low standard houses and has also no other source of livelihood. Your Eminence, please give me a Fatwa (may Allah safeguard you) as to whether is it permissible to consider this sum from Zakah (obligatory charity) of my wealth and I will not claim any ownership rights of the two houses?

After studying the question, the committee answered that Zakah is originally intended to give and allow to possess on the part of the one for whom it is obligatory to the one who is eligible to receive it. With regard to the fact that the creditor exempting the insolvent debtors from their debts and consider this Zakah of his wealth, it is not permissible. This is because the Zakah giver in this case will protect and preserve his wealth with his own wealth through the Zakah he gives in return for the debt. This is not permissible. However, if the creditor gives the debtor out of the Zakah of the former's wealth due to the latter's poverty with no condition to pay off the debt or part of it from this money, this is permissible. However, if the creditor receives Zakah and pays the debt out of it willingly, he can do this.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.