Who should I give my zakat to?
It is in Bahār-e-Shari’ah:
There are seven types of people who can accept Zakāh
1. Faqīr – poor person – whose wealth and possession does not reach the Nisāb level.
2. Miskīn – a beggar who does not possess any wealth.
3. ‘Āmil – a person designated by the Muslim king to collect Zakāh money
4. Riqāb – Slave (Makātub) who is freed from slavery after paying the agreed-upon price to the master.
5. Ghārim – Person in debt – whose wealth does not reach the Nisāb level after taking the debt out of this possession.
6. Fi Sabeelillah – Spent in the path of Allah – these can be in various forms:
- If a person wishes to go to Jihad (battle for Islam) and he does not have the necessary means for weapons and goods then he can be given Zakat, even if he has the power to earn the money.
- If a person wishes to perform Hajj and he does not have the means to do this then he can be Zakat to perform Hajj, however, it is not allowed for him to ask or beg for the money.
- If a student who is studying religion can be given Zakat and this student can even ask or beg for the money when he has specifically reserved himself for the learning of Islamic knowledge, even if he has the power to earn the money.
In the same way, Zakat can be spent in all pious activities where the condition is that the person taking the Zakat will become the owner of the money, if the intention is not to make the person the owner then Zakat will not be fulfilled
7. Ibn al-Sabil – Traveller- who does not have wealth whilst in his journey, even though he has wealth back at home.
Zakāh will not be valid if it is paid directly to the Masjid or Madrasah (Religious Institution). One has to make a poor person the owner of the goods/wealth otherwise Zakāh will not be valid.
It is in Bahar-e-Shari’ah:
“There are many people who send their Zakāh money to poor Madrasah, they should make sure that they tell the trustees of the Madrasah that this money is Zakat money, so that the trustees can keep the money separate and spend it on the poor children who are studying, otherwise if they are unaware then they may spend the money on other causes, whereby the Zakāh will not be fulfilled.”
In order for the Masājid or Madāris to use Zakāh money, the money should be given to the poor, who in turn can give it to the Masjid by his one will.
Also in Bahar-e-Shari’ah it states:
“…When the Faqīr (poor person) becomes the owner of the goods or money, he can then spend the money in these causes if he wishes”
[with reference to Fatāwā-e-‘Ālamghirī].
Allāh knows best.
Answered by Mawlana Mohamed Husein Qadri