My grandmother has four sons and three sisters. One of them is very poor and unemployed. He has a family. Can his mother and sisters give him zakat? Is it allowed in Islam?
One cannot pay his dependents' expenses (Mother, Father, Children and Wife) (1) from Zakat. However, if one does not pay his dependents' expenses in spite of being able to do so, others (relatives or non-relatives who are not obliged to provide for them e.g sisters, brothers, aunts...) can pay the expenses from Zakat
If a person upon whom Zakat is obligatory cannot afford to provide for the obligatory expenses of his dependents, he is allowed to pay the expenses from Zakat.
It is permissible to give Zakat to deserving son for spending on his wife's expenses. (because paying for the expenses of your doughtier-in-law is not obligatory on you. However, your children's and grand children's maintenance is obligatory on you, so paying for their expenses from Zakat is not permissible)
Debts of a person who is unable to pay them off can be settled with Zakat even if he is the one whose maintenance is obligatory upon the one giving Zakat.
(1) Paying for the living expenses of Father/Mother and Children when they cannot afford it, is obligatory on Children and Father/Mother if they are capable of financial support.
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As it is not the financial obligation of mother and sisters to take care of their son and brother, then they can give zakat to them, as he is needy:
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1939 Narrated by Sulayman ibn Amir Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "Charity given to a poor man is just charity, but when given to a relative it serves a double purpose, being both charity and a connecting link."
Explained here in more detail as well: Is it permissible to give zakat to a family member?
Zakah cannot be given to :
1) your ascendents (like father, mother, grandfather, grandmother etc)
2) your Descendents(like son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter etc)
3) a husband cannot give zakah to his wife
4) a wife cannot give zakah to her husband
If the person you wish to give zakah to does not fall into these categories, then it is allowed to give to them.
In your particular case, the mother cannot give zakah to her son, but the sisters CAN give it to their brother. If the mother is rich, she should give the money as a hadya (present) or offer him the money as a loan.
A mother can give zakat to her children because they are not her dependents.