Sponsoring an orphan as Zakat

Is sponsoring an orphan considered as Zakaat on money?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

An orphan, according to the Sharee’ah is the one who has lost his father and has not yet reached the age of maturity. If the orphan is needy, he deserves Zakat. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) emphasized looking after orphans.

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "I will be in Paradise with the one who takes care of orphans and spends on them like this; and he pointed putting his index and middle fingers together." [Al-Bukhari]

But if the orphan is not needy, it is unlawful to give Zakat to him because Zakat recipients are only the eight categories specified in the verse. Allah Says (what means): {Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.} [Quran 9:60]

So, if the orphan is not of these eight categories, then he does not deserve Zakat.

Allah knows best.

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