Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.
[Qur’aan 9:160 – Translation Sahih International]
It was narrated that:
Zainab, the wife of Abdullah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'Will it be accepted as charity on my part if I spend on my husband and the orphans in my care?' The Messenger of Allah said: 'She will have two rewards, the reward for charity and the reward for upholding ties of kinship.'”
[Sunan Ibn Majah Hadiith No. 1834]
Ibn Qudaamah said: There is Ijmaa [that it is not permissible for a husband to give Zakaah to his wife].
al-Shaafi'i, the two Companions of Abu Hanifah, and according to one narration from Ahmad and the adopted opinion of Ibn al-Mundhir it is permissible for the wife to give her husband Zakaah based on the above hadiith.
Ibn Qudaamah also says that it is permissible for the wife to give Zakaah to her husband because it is not obligatory for her to spend on her husband. And because of the generality of the Verse of the Qur'aan which mentions those to which one can give Zakaah because their is no Nass or Ijmaa which says that one cannot give Zakaah to the husband if he is poor.
Abu Hanifah, and according to one narration from Ahmad, it is not permissible for the woman to give Zakaah to the husband even if she is in the 'iddah of being divorced by three divorces. The reason being that all kinds of benefit are shared between the husband and wife. She will benefit from the Zakaah she will give to her husband, and because if a husband was to steal from his wife his hand would not be cut off and his witness in favor of his wife is not acceptable.
Maalik said a woman cannot give the Zakaah of her wealth to her husband. His Companions have differed in regards to this saying of his. A group have said it means that if she gives him Zakaah then it will not suffice [i.e. the obligation of Zakaah will remain due upon her] while others say it means that it will suffice her but while being makruuh.
Those who have said that it is not permissible for a wife to give her husband Zakaah have understood the above hadiith to refer to voluntary charity and not obligatory Zakaah.
الدر وحاشية ابن عابدين
Volume 2 Page 62
مجموع الفتاوى الكبرى
Volume 25 Page 90 and 91
Volume 2 Page 22
Volume 1 Page 499
Volume 6 Page 192 and 230
Volume 2 Page 649
الموسوعة الفقهية الكويتية
Volume 23 Page 327