Zakah: Payment to grandchildren

Q732 :My son-in-law has died, leaving behind a few children with no income whatsoever. Can I give my zakah to those children, considering that they are the responsibility of their father's relatives, while I should take care of my daughter - i.e. their mother? May I also ask until what age is a child considered an orphan?

A732 : What you have said is true about your grandchildren having a claim against their own relatives, such as the father and the brothers of their late father. You daughter, i.e. their mother, is the one who has a claim to your help. It is a rule that a person may not pay zakah to a relative who has a rightful claim to his help. Hence, it is not permissible that a father pays his zakah to his poor son or daughter, or a man pays his zakah to his poor father. Other relatives may be helped with zakah. Therefore, you can certainly help in the upkeep of your grandchildren, but not their mother, with your zakah money. A child is considered an orphan until he has attained puberty. However, after an orphan comes of age, and he is no longer an orphan, he may still need to be helped, particularly if he is still pursuing his education, or if he does not have a job or any means of income. In this case, he will be in the same position as any person who deserves to be helped with zakah money.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )