The beneficiaries of zakat

The beneficiaries of zakat

source :Osoul Global Center

Zakat is for 8 classes of people; the poor, the needy , the administrative workers , those whose hearts are to be won over, freeing people in bondage, paying debts , travellers in need and for further god causes.

The beneficiaries of zakat

Zakat is payable only to those who may benefit by it. These are the eight classes named in the following verse:

‘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.’

(9:60)

To give more details about these classes:[1]

1-The poor: A poor person is one who does not have enough to meet his and his dependants’ needs of food, drink, clothes and home. He may have nothing, or may not have enough. He is given what meets his needs for a full year.

2-The needy: A needy person is one who gets half what he needs for living, or even more than half. He is given out of zakat funds what he needs for a year.

3- Administrative workers: This refers to anyone assigned by the Muslim ruler to collect zakat. The ruler gives him what he needs during his travel until he returns, even though he may be rich. This is because such a person devotes his time to this work. The administrative workers include all those who are given the tasks of collecting, recording, safeguarding and distribution of zakat to its rightful beneficiaries. This certainly applied when Muslim governments undertook the collection and distribution of zakat, however, in modern times most, if not all, Muslim governments have abandoned this duty. However, there are many civil and charitable organizations which have taken on this responsibility and undertake this duty. These may deduct from what they collect of zakat money to pay to their staff, who are employed for this task. However, they may not pay zakat money except for their work in the administration of zakat. If a member of staff works only half of his working hours on zakat duties, while the other half is devoted to other aspects of his employment, he may be paid only half his salary out of zakat funds.

4- Those whose hearts are to be won over: These are people who may be unbelievers and they are given money out of zakat to win their goodwill towards Islam, or they may be Muslims but not very strong in faith, or they are people who have non-Muslim relatives who need to be encouraged to look favourably at Islam, or whose help is needed, etc.

5-The freeing of people in bondage: This refers to Muslim slaves who may be bought to give them their freedom. Their price may be paid out of zakat funds. Alternatively, a slave might have agreed a deal to buy his own freedom, and he or she is given what helps them to complete the deal and buy their freedom. This enables slaves to be good members of society, able to conduct their own affairs and to serve Allah’s cause as best as they can. The same applies to pay ransom to free Muslim captives taken by the enemy.

6-Debtors: This applies to a person who has incurred a debt for a legitimate purpose, whether it is for personal reasons or to help others. Debtors are given from the zakat funds what helps them to repay their debts. If someone incurred a debt to pay for the reconciliation of quarrelling parties, he is helped with zakat funds, even though he may be wealthy.

7-To further Allah’s cause: This applies to fighters for Allah’s cause who volunteer to join the Muslim army and they have no salary. They are given money from zakat, even though they may not be in need.

8- The traveller in need:This refers to a traveller who is unable to continue his journey to his place of residence. He may not be able to borrow what he needs, so he is given from zakat what he needs for his journey home.

This certainly applied when Muslim governments undertook the collection and distribution of zakat, however, in modern times most, if not all, Muslim governments have abandoned this duty. However, there are many civil and charitable organizations which have taken on this responsibility and undertake this duty. These may deduct from what they collect of zakat money to pay to their staff, who are employed for this task. However, they may not pay zakat money except for their work in the administration of zakat. If a member of staff works only half of his working hours on zakat duties, while the other half is devoted to other aspects of his employment, he may be paid only half his salary out of zakat funds.

references

  1. Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 3, p. 116.


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