Monday, November 08, 2004

To whom may zakaat be paid?

Question: Can Sadeka (charity) be given to a new Islamic School for which funds are being collected?

Answer: Not unless they will pay it for you to those groups of people that are allowed to take it. The following are the rules for paying the obligatory zakaat:

The levels of poverty and wealth:

  1. Very poor: The one that has less than the food he needs for the current day and is not able to work for it. He is allowed to beg and to take zakaat.
  2. Poor: The one who does not have the value of a nisaab in excess of what is occupied by his basic needs or debt. He is allowed to take zakaat, but not to beg.
  3. Rich: The one who owns, in excess of his basic needs, the value of a nisaab. He must pay the sadaqah of breaking fast, slaughter for the pilgrimage Eid and cannot take zakaat for himself.
Zakaat can be paid to:

Very poor or poor Muslims in the first two categories above, or the traveler who needs money to get home, or soldiers in jihad/ pilgrims who don't have access to their money, or as salary for those who collect zakaat, or for Muslim slaves who are working to free themselves by contract, or for those who have so much debt as to be considered poor. Some scholars said one can give to new Muslims who are still weak in their religion, others said this was only in the Prophet's time.

It is NOT allowed to pay for:

  • Building masjids or other charity that does not fit the above categories, such as burials or teaching religion.
  • One may not pay to a non-Muslim, one's own descendents or ancestors, or the descendents of Hashim (the Prophet's great grandfather).
How to pay:

  • One makes the intention when giving it or separating it for giving.
  • One must feel sure that the person is one of those that deserve zakaat.
and Allah knows best....