Zakât is paid only to the Muslims existing in the seven groups written below. The eighth group was muallafat-ul-qulûb. That is, the harsh enemies of Islam used to be paid zakât so that Muslims could be spared from their wickedness. But since the era of Abû Bekr ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, there has been no reason to pay zakât to this group.
1 – Faqîr (The poor): A person who has property more than his subsistence but less than the amount of nisâb is termed faqîr. Every poor civil servant who supports his household with difficulty, no matter how much his salary is, can receive zakât if he has îmân; it is not necessary for him to pay the fitra or to perform the Qurbân, [See chapter 4 on Qurbân].
2 – Miskîn (The needy): A Muslim who has no more than one day’s subsistence is termed miskîn. Hamîdullah, who has been misrepresented as a man of religion, says in his book “Introduction to Islam” that miskîn means non-Muslim countryman. This view of his is wrong. It means a reformation in the religion. It is not permissible to pay zakât to a non-Muslim.
3 – ’Âmil (Zakât collectors): This term is used for the Sâ’î, who collects zakâts of the beasts of Sâima and the produce of the earth, and the ’Âshir, who lives outside of town and collects zakât of commercial property from the tradesmen he meets; they are paid zakât in return for their work, even if they are rich.
4 – Mukâteb (Indentured servant): The slave who has been bought by his master and who will be manumitted when he pays his debt.
5 – Munqati’: Those who are on the way of jihâd or hajj and who are in need. It is written in Durr-ul-mukhtâr that also those who learn and teach religious knowledge can receive zakât even if they are rich, since they do not have time to work and earn money. In explaining this, Ibni ’Âbidîn says that a hadîth-i-sherîf written in Jâmi’-ul-fatâwâ states: “Even if a person who is learning knowledge has forty years’ subsistence, it is permissible to pay him zakât.”
6 – Medyûn (Insolvent debtor): Muslims who are in debt and cannot pay their debts.
7 – Ibn-us-sebîl (The wayfarer): A person who is rich in his homeland but who has no property left with him in the location where he lives now or a person who has lent large amounts of money to others but cannot get them and therefore is in need. Zakât should be paid to all or one of these people. A dead person’s shroud cannot be bought with the money of zakât. A dead person’s debt cannot be paid with it, either. Nor can it be spent on building mosques, on jihâd or on hajj. A dhimmî, i.e., a nonMuslim countryman cannot be paid zakât. A dhimmî can be given fitra, votive offerings, alms, or gifts. Zakât cannot be paid to a rich man’s slave or small son. If a rich person’s adolescent child or wife or father or small orphaned child is poor, others can pay zakât to him or her. If the small child is discreet, i.e. if he can distinguish money from other things and if it cannot be taken from him by deceit, zakât is paid to him. If he is not wise enough, it is necessary to pay it to his father, to his guardian, or, of his relatives or other
people, to the person who looks after him. Zakât is not paid to descendants of our Prophet or of his paternal uncles who will come to the world until Doomsday. For, one-fifth of the ghanîma taken away from the enemy in every combat is their due. Ahmad Tahâwî says in his commentary to the book Emâlî: “Imâm-i-a’zam said that since they are not given their dues from the ghanîma any more it is permissible to pay them zakât and alms.” It is written also in Durr-i-Yektâ that it is permissible. One cannot pay zakât to one’s parents, to any of one’s grandfathers or grandmothers, or to one’s own children or grandchildren. Nor can one pay them alms that are wâjib, such as fitra, votive offerings and keffâret. But one can give them the supererogatory alms if they are poor. One cannot pay zakât to one’s wife, either. Imâm-i-a’zam said that a woman could not pay zakât to her poor husband, either. But the Imâmeyn said that she
 Also named Jâmi’ul-kebîr, that book was written by Abul Qâsim-iSemerqandî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (d. 556 [1161 A.D.].) could pay zakât to her poor husband. It is permissible to pay zakât to one’s poor daughter-in-law, son-in-law, mother-in-law, father-inlaw or stepchild. It is permissible to give alms or gifts to a dhimmî. If, after inquiring and finding out that a person can be paid zakât and after paying him or her zakât, one learns that he or she is rich or a dhimmî disbeliever or one’s mother, father, child or wife, it will be all right. That is, it will be accepted. It is written in Nehr-ul-Fâiq: “If the person to be paid zakât lives among poor people and is like them, or if he says that he is poor and accepts the zakât, there is no need to search to see if he has the right to receive zakât. When one pays him zakât one has paid it as if one had searched and asked about him.” Abdulqâdir Ghazzî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’ says in his Annotation to Eshbâh: “As Debbûsî conveys in Multeqit, it is permissible for one to give an orphan for whom one is guardian clothes and food as zakât. For, the orphan is now one of his household, children.” The orphan’s guardian has the right to buy
necessary things with the property of zakât and give them to it. If the orphan is discreet enough to understand buying and selling, it is necessary to hand the food and clothes to the child. It is mustahab to give the poor at least enough to meet his one day’s need. It is makrûh to give a poor person who is not in debt and who does not have a wife and children so much zakât as to equal the amount of nisâb or so much as to make his property
equal the nisâb. It is permissible to give a poor person who has a wife and children so much zakât that each of them will not get as much as the amount of nisâb when it is divided and distributed to them. It yields more thawâb to pay zakât to one’s poor close relatives, such as brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. If one gives it to others while one’s close relations are in need, one does not get blessings [Imdâd]. If it has been judged by a court of law that one has to pay means of subsistence to one’s zî-rahm mahram relative, it is permissible for one to pay the means of subsistence from one’s property of zakât with the intention of zakât. Though it is makrûh to send zakât to another city, it is permissible if one sends it to one’s relative or if one cannot find poor Muslims in one’s city. It is written in a fatwâ of Bezzâziyya that paying zakât to a person in debt is better than paying it to a poor one. It is
 Abû Zayd ’Abdullah bin ’Umar of Debbûs, Samarkand ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaih’, (d. 432 [1039 A.D.], Bukhârâ.)  Kinds of close relatives are explained in detail in the twelfth chapter. written in Durr-i-Yektâ that a person who wastes his property and who uses it in harâm ways should not be paid zakât. A rich person’s deputy pays zakât to the person advised by the rich person. He cannot pay it to someone else. He compensates for
it if he pays it to someone else or loses it. So is the case with a will. It is given to the poor person specified. If the rich person tells his deputy that he may give it to anyone he likes, he can give it even to his children or wife, if they are poor. If he is poor, he can take it to himself. But the case is not so with the nazr. The deputy may as well give it to someone other than the person specified by the owner of the votive offering. While explaining this, Ibni ’Âbidîn says at the beginning of the twelfth page: “It is permissible for the deputy to give the poor his own gold and silver instead of the gold and silver given to him by the rich person and use the rich person’s gold and silver at his own discretion. But it is not permissible for him to use the rich person’s money first and then pay zakât from his own money, in which case he will have given alms for himself. Later he will have to pay the money back to the rich person. So is the case with the deputy who uses the money he has been given for paying some alimony or buying something or paying some debt. As is seen, it is not compulsory to pay zakât by reserving it from one’s own property. The rich person’s deputy may also make someone else deputy without (the rich person’s) permission.” Having reserved the (sum calculated as the) zakât does not mean having paid it. If the zakât reserved is lost while one or one’s deputy is keeping it, one has to set aside the same amount again and dispense it. If the deputy loses it he pays for it. It is not necessary to pay zakât anew which has been lost by the ’Âmil or by the poor person’s deputy. The deputy shall pay it to the poor. ’Âmil means both Sâ’î and ’Âshir. In order to wrap a dead person in a shroud, to build a mosque, or to help those who perform jihâd, poor people (who want to take zakât), as we have explained in our discourse on zakât of paper money, may appoint a trustworthy person their deputy to take their zakât on their behalf and deliver it to the place they have ordered. The deputy takes zakât on behalf of the poor, and delivers it to the place ordered by the poor. The same is done to pay zakât to charitable institutions. It is not necessary for the deputy to say something as he takes zakât or as he delivers it to the place ordered. But the poor people who depute him should be Muslims who can be paid zakât. As we have explained above, the same is done to pay zakât in paper money.
A rich person who fails to get back the money or property he lent to others, or who possesses bonds the payment time of which has not arrived, may accept as much zakât as he needs, if he cannot find anyone to lend him money without a rate of interest. When he takes possession of his property he does not dispense the zakât he received to the poor. However, a poor person can accept more zakât than he needs, provided that it will be less than the amount of nisâb. The zakât of gold, silver and commercial property must be handed to the poor or to the poor person’s deputy. If zakât (intended to be) paid to other institutions is not handed to the Muslim poor (first), zakât will not have been paid. If a person has a day’s food or if he is healthy enough to work or do some business though he does not have a day’s food, it is harâm for him to ask for food and drink or to beg for money to buy them. Also, it is harâm to give him what he wants though you know about his welfare. It is permissible to give without being asked or
to take what is given. It is permissible for that person to ask for his needs other than food, such as clothing, household goods and money to pay his rents. It is permissible for a hungry or invalid person to ask for food even if he has a house to live in. If a person who has a day’s food or who is healthy enough to work though he does not have a day’s food is studying [or teaching] knowledge, it is also permissible for him to ask for food. Please see the eighth chapter of the sixth fascicle of Endless Bliss. Alms should not be given to a person who spends his money on the harâm or who wastes his money.
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