The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 1945

A poor person who can work and thereby meet his and his family’s expenses but does not do so due to laziness is not permitted to receive zakat. A poor student for whom working will be an obstacle to him continuing with his studies cannot in any case receive the portion of zakat that is for poor people unless studying for him is an individual obligation (al‑wājib al‑ʿaynī).8 As for receiving it from the ‘in the way of Allah’ portion of zakat, it is permitted if his education will benefit the general public and, based on obligatory precaution, it is given with the authorisation of a fully qualified jurist. A poor person for whom it is not difficult to learn a trade cannot, based on obligatory precaution, live on zakat, although he can receive zakat while he is learning the trade.

8 This is an obligation that every duty-bound person must perform irrespective of whether others have also performed it or not.