Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera
In the name of Allah, the inspirer of truth.
1. If the student's saving is over a nisab and no part of it is immediately payable for fees, debts or other expenses, then zakat is necessary on such an amount.
2. Zakat is also necessary on the amount loaned to another person if it reaches a nisab along with any other savings a person may have. However, he has the option of paying year by year when his zakat for everything else is due or to pay when he is repaid for all the previous years.
However, if the loan is denied and he has no way of having it repaid to him, then zakat will not be necessary every year. If it is ever received then zakat will be necessary on it for the following year along with any other saving.
3. The most virtuous category are the poor from among one's family and relatives followed by whoever is most in need locally from among the poor students of Din, people in the path of Allah [who benefit the din], and then generally those of the poor who are more in need than the others. It is also mentioned that giving it to a poor knowledgeable person is better than giving it to an ignorant poor person. [Radd al-Muhtar 2:68-69]
4. Allama Haskafi states in the al-Durr al-Mukhtar, "A yatim is the one whose father has passed away before puberty." [whether his mother is alive or not]. [5:440]
And Allah knows best.
Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
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