Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 3, Zakaat and Fasting, Fiqh 3.080.

Section : Giving Charity to Seekers of Religious Knowledge.

An-Nawawi holds that if someone is able to earn a suitable living and wants to occupy himself by studying some of the religious sciences but finds that his work will not allow him to do so, then he may be given zakah since seeking knowledge is considered a collective duty (fard kifayah). As for the individual who is not seeking knowledge, zakah is not permissible for him if he is able to earn his living even though he resides at a school. An-Nawawi says: “As for one who is engaged in supererogatory worship (nawafil) or for one who occupies himself in nawafil with no time to pursue his own livelihood, he may not receive zakah. This is because the benefit of his worship is confined only to him, contrary to the one who seeks knowledge.”