The WHO, WHEN & WHERE of Zakat
WHO must Pay Zakat?
1. All adults who have reached the age of puberty
2. All Muslims – non Muslims do not pay Zakat
3. They have to be sane
4. Sahib Nisab – have ownership of Nisab (threshold)
WHO may receive Zakat?
1. The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent. Surplus wealth at Zakat date below Nisab
2. The needy (al-masâkîn), meaning someone who is in difficulty. Surplus wealth below Nisab at Zakat date
3. Zakat administrators – according to majority scholars this does not apply in non Muslim countries.
4. Those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community.
5. Those in bondage
6. The debt-ridden.
7. In the cause of God.
8. The wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or traveling with few resources.
In all cases it should be ensured that the receipts are eligible, I,e their surplus wealth is below the Nisab. It is not permitted for the ‘rich’ to take Zakat.
When disbursing Zakat it is a condition of its validity that ownership (tamlik) be passed over to the recipient. Hence, Zakat cannot be used for building mosques, hospitals, cannot be used for Da’wah materials, events, tv adverts, tv channels etc. If Zakat is used for those purposes it will not be valid and you must repay your Zakat.
The Zakat must be given to the poor and needy. The most responsible and priority is to eradicate poverty. It is not logical to use Zakat for other purposes when poverty is rife.
Can Zakat be given to family members?
All family members may receive Zakat (as long as they are Zakat eligible) – except the father and above (grandfather) and below son/daughter, grand children.
Can a wife and husband receive Zakat? No.
WHEN should I pay Zakat?
Your Zakat payment date begins when you first became owner of Nisab. You calculate Zakat one lunar year from that date (hawl). Thereafter, every year your Zakat payment date is that date.
WHERE should I send my Zakat?
Zakat should be distributed to the poor and needy – whether they are in your locality, your country of resident or another country. If Zakat is needed in an emergency outside of your country that should be given priority. If Zakat is needed for someone local who is eligible they should not be neglected.
There are more details. But this should suffice for a brief overview.
Sheikh A. Hasan (Zakat Specialist).