It is permissible to give zakah so that poor Muslims can travel to do the obligatory Hajj because this comes under the general meaning of the phrase (for Allah’s cause) in the verse which speaks of the ways in which zakah is to be spent.
Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states: Allah has mentioned the things on which zakah is to be spent in the verse: (The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.) (At-Tawbah 9:60)
The scholars agree that the phrase (for Allah’s cause) refers to jihad for the sake of Allah. But they differ as to whether Hajj is included with jihad or not.
The majority of scholars were of the view that it applies only to jihad and does not include Hajj. Imam Ahmad was of the view that it includes Hajj as well, and he quoted as evidence for that the report narrated by Abu Dawud from Umm Ma`qal, who said, “O Messenger of Allah, I need to go for Hajj and Abu Ma`qal has a young camel.” Abu Ma`qal said, “She is telling the truth, and I shall donate it for the sake of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Give it to her so that she may go for Hajj on it, for it is for the sake of Allah.”
And it was narrated that Ibn `Umar said, “Hajj comes under the heading of (for Allah’s cause.) Al-Hafizh said, Abu `Ubayd narrated it with a sound isnad (chain of transmission).
Ibn Taymiyah said, “Whoever has not done the obligatory Hajj and is poor should be given what he needs to do Hajj—that is from the zakah funds.”
The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta’ says, “It is permissible to give zakah so that poor Muslims can travel to do the obligatory Hajj, because this comes under the general meaning of the phrase (for Allah’s cause) in the verse which speaks of the ways in which zakah is to be spent.