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The lines of this very simple matter have been blurred over the years. Partly due to people claiming their need for zakah when they have no right to it. This causes much discussion and confusion about those who are entitled to Zakah.
The purpose of zakah is to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "Take from the rich and give to the poor." (Bukhari).
This way the gap between the poor does not grow. We see this now everywhere, the gap between rich and poor people grows all the time. Part of it is due to the fact that most rich people are not bothered about anything but money and they have little deen.
The sources used in this are Quduri, Iktiyar, Hiddayyah and Hashiyyah Al-Tahtawi. May Allah bless the writers of these books.
This article will explain the Hanafi position so those who follow other madhabs should look to the reliable books in their schools.
The root word Zakah means purification and it also means to grow. As we, all know Zakah is 2.5 of your wealth left over after a year, included is gold and silver. When a threshold of wealth is reached then it becomes obligatory. Then zakah is paid on it all or separately if you are Shafi. The threshold that qualifies one to pay zakah was 90-100 grams of gold but now it is moved to 700 silver. So if you have that much wealth then you pay zakah. It is between 500- 1000 pounds but check with a local scholar. Zakah is paid on monies but not everyday items. Debts are taken away from the value of zakah but mortgages are not considered in Zakah. There is zakah for farm animals, stock on sale and crops. There are more details that can be found in the books of fiqh, so please look them up there.
Only a mature Muslim (aged 13) pays zakah and if they do not have it then they do not pay. Even an adult who does not have the threshold does not pay zakah.
Whom do you pay zakah to?
From Hidayyah chapter on who is it permissible to pay zakah to?
1. Fakir - not the Sufi! But the person who has the least of anything.
2. Maskin - the one without anything. (Imam Shafi - defined these as 1 is 2)
3. The collector - a wage
4. Wounded soldier (according to Imam Muhammad)
5. Lost traveller - A person who has lost his wealth on a journey
6. Mukatab - a slave who sale has been agreed and is working to pay it off.
7. In debt - large debts that encompass their wealth
8. Joining hearts - those who are close to becoming Muslim or newly entered Islam.
Although some consider this as not considered in this time. (Quduri)
Essentially zakah should go into the bellies of the poor believer and not elsewhere. Anything that is not mentioned above cannot be paid zakah or sadaqah al-fitr.
Whom do you NOT pay zakah to?
Now here comes the juicy bit! Zakah is not allowed to be paid to any member of the Ahl Al-Bayt under ANY circumstances! It is not allowed for any member of the Prophets (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) family. There was a time in which the public funds used to give a certain portion to them but there are nothing like this now. So if you find Ahl Al-Bayt who are poor then give them a gift and do not make it enough money to go to reach the threshold. That is disliked for anyone, to them enough money to reach the threshold. Ref: Hidiyaah, Quduri, Ikhtiyar and so forth. There are some weak opinions that allow it but the reliable position in Hanafi is that it is not allowed. There is a Maliki position allowing it because of the time we are in but please ask the Malikis about that.
Yes, this is a sticking point because some allow it. However, it is clearly not one of the categories above, therefore not allowed. No matter what the masjid committee member says with his flying stick!
Madrasas have no right to zakah.
No member of his own family, direct relations from parents to children, servants or slaves.
Zakah has to be given to the needy people and it can be money or food, but it has to reach the value.
The protected minorities are not allowed to be given zakah. The poor are supported by other means of charity. (Ikhtiyar: zakah) Therefore, non-Muslims are paid other forms of charity but not zakah because that is taken from Muslims and given to Muslims. Zakah is not allowed to be given to those who are fighting Muslims.
This one is obvious! The rich person does not need more money even if the son of rich man!
Nothing that involves payment to funeral arrangements.
Anyone else (not mentioned in those who have a right to zakah) claiming zakah has no right to it. It is purification for you and your wealth. It makes you realise your social responsibility towards your community. It is better to pay it locally but permissible to send to a suffering people like those starving or suffering or to help those after an earthquake.
Charities who are taking zakah HAVE to make sure it reaches the poor and not mix it up with other monies. Charities are responsible before Allah (the Exalted) for every penny and this is a very important.
If you are confused about anything them please leave me a comment and I will get back to you. I hope this clears this up, in sha Allah.
Please click here for link to forty hadith about zakah
Fiqh of zakah click here