I have a 10 month old son for whom I have employed a maid. We are living with my parents presently and the maid has a room where she stays. However, we want to move out, and we cannot afford a place with a servant's quarter. My maid cannot afford to pay rent on the salary that she receives for her work. However, I am presently giving her a high salary for the type of work that she is doing and do not want to increase it. I want to know if I can pay her rent out of the Zakâh that is due from me.
Sheikh `Abd al-Rahmân al-`Ajlân, lecturer at the Grand Mosque in Mecca
If the maid’s salary is not sufficient to cover her needs and the needs of her dependants though you are paying her the full salary and benefits that she deserves for her work, then you may give her from your Zakâh so that she can fulfill her commitments.
You may not restrict the money that you give her from your Zakâh so that it goes for her rent or for anything else in particular. As a Muslim and a poor person, she is entitled to receive Zakâh. Allah says: “Alms are for the destitute and the needy...” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 60]
You may not place any conditions on how she spends the money that you give to her from your Zakâh.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital