Paying zakat to help in marriage expenses
A man is due to pay his zakat. He lives in one city and his siblings and relatives who live in another city are poor. As his niece, whose daughter is preparing for marriage, is extremely poor, what is the ruling for the following?
1. Can he give his niece from the zakat due on his property to help in her daughter's marriage?
2. Is it permissible for him to pay zakat due on his property in a city other than the one in which he resides to maintain the ties of kinship?
3. Is it valid to give his poor sisters and relatives from the zakat due on his property to help them buy food and drink, clothes, in marriage preparations, medical expenses and so forth?
1. According to the opinion of some Maliki and Hanbali scholars, it is permissible to give zakat to help a financially incapable person get married.
2. It is likewise permissible to pay one's zakat in another city than where one resides. Some of our pious predecessors, such as Ibrahim al-Nakh'i and al-Hasan al-Basri sanctioned choosing to give zakat to one's needy relatives living in another city. This is the opinion maintained by Hanafi scholars.
3. It is permissible to give siblings and poor relatives from zakat to help them cover the expenses of the above mentioned requirements provided they are not dependent upon the zakat payer. Needy siblings and relatives take precedence over others due to the words of the Prophet [pbuh] who said: "A Sadaqah [alms] made to a poor person is a sadaqah while to a relative, it is both a sadaqah and maintaining the ties of kinship" [Reported by Ahmed and al-Tirmidhi. Al--Nisa'i and Ibn Majah declared it fair and Ibn Haban and al-Hakem declared it authentic].
Allah Almighty knows best.