Q. Can I use my Zakat to build a water well?
A: Zakat should be transferred to a person who is Zakat eligible (I,e a poor person whose net wealth falls below the nisab). When it concerns using Zakat to build water wells, ideally this should be avoided because transferring of ownership (tamlik) is not possible. It will only be allowed if the ownership of Zakat is transferred to the recipients and the choice is given to them whether to build a well or to hand over the Zakat funds to them. The charity can act as an agent on behalf the Zakat payer. This is in cases of extenuating circumstance where water is scarce in a locality. If those guidelines are met then zakat will be valid to use.
Sheikh A. Hasan (Zakat Specialist0