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Ruling 2002

If a person is engaged in acquiring knowledge, and if he were not acquiring knowledge he could be working for a living, in the event that acquiring that knowledge is an individual obligation, the portion of zakat for the poor can be given to him. And if acquiring that knowledge is in the public interest, then it is permitted to give zakat to him from the ‘in the way of Allah’ portion with, based on obligatory precaution, the authorisation of a fully qualified jurist. In cases other than these two, it is not permitted to give zakat to him.