Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: The Recipients of Zakah
There are eight categories of the beneficiaries of zakah which Allahspecifies in the Qur'an: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy,for those who collect them, for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, forthe freedom of those who are captives and in debt, for the cause of Allah, andfor the wayfarers; [it is] a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is the Knower, theWise" [at-Taubah 60]. Ziyad ibn alHarith as-Suda'i reported: "I cameto the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and pledged allegience to him.Then a man came and said to the Messenger: 'Give me some of the collectedsadaqah.' The Messenger replied: 'Allah did not leave the matter of sadaqat tobe decided by a prophet nor to others ... He Himself classified it into eightcategories. If you fit into any of these categories, I will give you your due.'" It was narrated by Abu Dawud although in its chain of transmission thereis 'Abdurrahman al-'Afriqi, who is of questionable merits.
The following is an elaboration upon the preceding eight categories:
-1- The Poor (al-Fuqara').
-2- The Needy (al-Masakin): The needy, along with the poor mentioned above,are those who do not even have basic needs fulfilled. This categroy parallelsthe category of the rich who have all they need. As mentioned elsewhere, aperson is considered rich if he possesses the nisab--that is, an arnount inexcess of his essential needs or those of his children with regard to food,drink, clothing, housing, animals, tools of his trade, and similar othernecessities. Thus, one who lacks all these is considered poor (fuqura') andqualifies for zakah.
A hadith attributed to Mu'azh instructs: "Take from the rich [that isthose who are self-sufficient] and give to their poor." Thus, zakah shouldbe taken from the rich who own a nisab and given to those who are not sofortunate.
No difference has been made here between the poor (fuqura') and the needy(nasakin) as far as their needs, their poverty, and their qualification forreceiving zakah are concerned. The two are brought together in the precedingQur'anic 'ayah with the necessary conjunction so that they could bedifferentiated from each other. This does not contradict our categorizing themasakin as a subgroup of the fuqura'. In the following hadith, the textindicates that the needy are the poor who are not noticed by the people becausethey abstain from begging. The Qur'an takes note of them because they, perhaps dueto their modesty, go unnoticed.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:"The needy person (miskin) is not one who goes around asking the peoplefor a date or two, or for a mouthful or two, but the one who is too embarrassedto ask. Read if you wish: 'They do not beg from men importunately' [alBaqarah273]." In a variant of this report, it is related: "The needy personis not one who goes around asking people for a mouthful or two or a date ortwo, but the one who has not enough [money] to satisfy his needs and whosecondition is not known to others. Thus, sadaqah is given to him and he does notbeg from the people." This is narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Zakah aims at supporting the poor by satisfying their needs. A specifiedamount is therefore given to them on a continuous basis to alleviate theirstate of poverty. This amount differs depending on circumstances andindividuals. 'Umar reported: "If you happen to give [alms], you shouldgive to satisfy one's needs." Qadi 'Abdulwahhab says that Malik neverstipulated a limit to the amount that can be given. To him, zakah may even begiven to one who has a house, a servant, and a mount to ride, provided he is inneed. The import of the preceding hadith is clear-- that is, asking for help ispermissible for a person who is poor until he gets what he needs for hislivelihood and is freed from his needs.
Qabisah ibn Mukhariq al-Hilali reported: "I had a debt. I went to theMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and asked for his help. He answered:'Wait until we have funds for sadaqah, then we will give you some.' He alsosaid: 'O Qabisah, sadaqah is justified only for the following three: first, aman who is in debt, for his case makes it permissible to receive [alms] untilhis difficulty is resolved; second, a man who is struck by calamity whichdestroys his holdings, which also makes it permissible for him to receive[alms] until he is in a position to earn a sustenance [or he said, '... whatsatisfies his needs and makes him self-sufficient']; and third, a man who hasbeen reduced to poverty and three persons of caliber from among his peopletestify to his desperate situation will receive until he finds for himself ameans of support [or he said, '... what satisfies his needs and makes himselfsufficient']. Other than these cases, O Qabisah, it is not permissible(sahat). A person receiving it (sadaqah) will be consuming forbidden holdings.'" This is narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and anNasa'i.
Individuals strong in body and earning their living are not entitled tozakah. Their position is similar to that of the rich.
-1- 'Ubaidullah ibn 'Adiyy al-Khiyar reported: "Two men told me thatthey went to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, during the Farewell Pilgrimagewhile he was distributing charity. They asked him for help. He gave them a lookfrom the head down and then found them to be sturdy and strong. Then he said:'If you desire, I shall give it to you. But, there is no zakah for one who isrich, neither for the one who is strong and earning.' " This is related byAbu Dawud and anNasa'i.
Concerning the merits of this hadith, al-Khattabi says that it provides thecriterion that if a person is not known to have means, it will be presumed thathe has none. The hadith also provides the rule that one who appears to besturdy is not excluded from receiving the zakah unless his income isdetermined, for there are some people who are strong in body but for one reasonor another are unable to work. Such people may receive charity according tothis hadith.
-2- It is related from Rayhan ibn Yazid from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Prophet,upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah is neither permissible for the rich norfor the one who is of energetic disposition, sound body, and healthylimbs." This is related by Abu Dawud and atTirmizhi. The latter grades itas sound (sahih). Ash-Shaf'i, Ishaq, Abu 'Ubaid, and Ahmad uphold it. TheHanafiyyah say a strong and healthy person is allowed to take sadaqah, providedhe does not possess 200 dirhams or more. An-Nawawi says: "I askedal-Ghazzali if an able-bodied person who comes from a rich family and is notused to physical labor in earning his living can be entitled to zakah. Heanswered that he could." This is a sound rule which takes intoconsideration a person's vocation.
For example, someone had 200 dirhams and did not pay zakah on the sum fortwo years. The opinion which says that zakah is due on the property itselfmeans that the amount due is for one year only since it decreased by fivedirhams, which was the amount due for zakah at the end of the first year. Thesecond opinion, that zakah is the responsibility of the owner, means that heshould pay zakah twice, one for each year, as zakah is the responsibility ofthe owner and is not affected by the decrease of the nisab.
One whose possessions reach a nisab but are still insufficient for hisneeds, due to the size of his family or the high cost of living, will beconsidered well-off and subject to zakah. He is also considered poor becausehis possessions are not enough for his needs. As such, he should also be givenzakah. AnNawawi says that one who possesses a piece of real estate but does nothave enough income to meet his needs should be considered poor and eligible forthat amount of zakah which would satisfy his needs. In this way, he would nothave to sell his real estate. Al-Mughni mentions that al-Maymum said: "Ihad a talk with Abu 'Abdullah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and I said: 'A man may possesscamels and sheep on which zakah is due and be considered poor. He may possessforty sheep or even a landed estate (day'ah), not enough for his needs. Wouldhe be allowed to receive alms?' He answered: 'Yes, because he does not possesswhat is sufficient for him and he is not able to earn what he needs. In thatcase, he is permitted to receive zakah, if what he possesses does not qualifyfor zakah.' "
Zakah collectors are officials appointed by the leader or his deputy tocollect it from the rich. Among them are the custodians of zakah, shepherds andclerks for its administration. They must be Muslims and should consist of thosewho are potentially not eligible for zakah. This includes the family of theProphet--that is, Banu 'Abdul Mutallib. It is related by al-Muttalib ibnRabi'ah ibn Harith ibn 'Abdul Muttalib that he and al-Fadl ibn al-'Abbas wentto the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: "One of us said: 'OMessenger of Allah! We have come to you so that you may invest us withauthority to administer zakah, that we shall gather (collect) the benefits thepeople are to receive, and render service to you that others give.' TheMessenger of Allah answered: 'Indeed, zakah ought not to be given to Muhammador to the family of Muhammad. Zakah is nothing but filth that comes out frompeople's properties.'" This is reported by Ahmad and Muslim. Anotherversion states: "It is not permitted to Muhammad or to the family ofMuhammad."
Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqahis not allowed for the well-off except for the following five: an administratorof zakah, a purchaser of zakah holdings, a debtor, a warrior in the cause ofAllah, or a person who is given a present by the needy (miskeen) from what thelatter had been granted as zakah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud,Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. The latter grades the preceding hadith as soundaccording to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari.
Abdullah ibn as-Sa'di related that he came from Syria to see 'Umar ibnal-Khattab, who asked him: "Is it true that you perform a certain job forthe Muslims and you are given wages for that, but you do not accept them?"He answered: "Yes, indeed. I possess horses and slaves. I am well-off. Iwant my work to be a charity for the Muslims." Then 'Umar said: "Ialso wanted what you desired, but the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to paycompensation to me. I would say to him: 'Give it to one who is poorer than I.'Once he gave me money and I said to him: 'Give it to a person more needy thanI.' Then the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: 'Take what Allah, to Whombelongs might and majesty, gives you of His bounties without your having askedfor it or being eager.' So take it and keep it, or give it away as charity--andwhat is not given should not be asked for." This is related by al-Bukhariand an-Nasa'i.
AlMustawrid ibn Shaddad relates that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:"If someone performed a job for us and has no house, let him have a house;if he has no wife, let him have a wife; if he has no servant, let him have aservant; or if he has no mount to ride, let him have one. He who clamors foranything other than these is being excessive." This is related by Ahmadand Abu Dawud and its chain is sound. Commenting on the subject, al-Khattabisays: "This may be interpreted in two different ways. The first means thatthe individual is permitted to have a servant or a house deducted from hiswages, which are similar to any other wages. He is not permitted to takeanything else. The second means that the zakah worker has the right to havelodging and a servant. Thus, if he does not have a house or a servant, one maybe hired to serve him and a house may be rented for him during the tenure ofhis job."
This applies primarily to that group of people whose hearts, due to theirweak Islam, need to be reconciled or strengthened for Islam. In this case,zakah is distributed to rid Muslims of their evil, or to procure theirassistance in the defense of Muslims. The jurists divide such people intoMuslims and unbelievers. The Muslims are divided into four groups:
People who are leaders and notables among the Muslims and influential amongtheir nonbelieving kinsmen deserve and if given sadaqah, there is hope thattheir kinsmen will become Muslims. Such was the case of Abu Bakr giving 'Adiyyibn Hatim and az-Zibarqan ibn Badr sadaqah because of their high status amongtheir people.
Prominent people among Muslims, though recently converted to Islam and assuch of weak faith but still obeyed by their people, if given sadaqah and theircounsel sought in jihad and other matters could lead them to become strong intheir Islam. A case in point is that of the Makkans who became Muslims afterthe conquest of Makkah. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, gave them a largebooty after his victory over the Huwazin. Most of them became very good andconscientious Muslims later on.
Muslims who live at the frontiers, close to enemy land, can also be givensadaqah as an incentive to defend the Islamic territory. The author of al-Manarclaims that this falls under the national defense. Jurists place it under theshare allocated for the cause of Allah. It is similar to a military expedition.In our times, people who most deserve our help are those Muslims whom theunbelievers have brought over to their side by placing them under theirprotection or converting such Muslims to their religion. We notice thatcolonial powers are working for the subjugation of all Muslims and are tryingto divert them away from their religion. Such states are allocating a certainportion of their resources to win over the Muslim hearts. Some they havesucceeded converting to Christianity, and others have been influenced by orattracted to their tutelage. This is creating problems for Muslim states andIslamic unity. Are not such Muslims more deserving of zakah than those alongthe frontiers?
Muslims who are employed to collect zakah, either through persuasion orforce, from those who are not willing to give it can also qualify as itsrecipients for it is better to use such people to maintain Muslim unity. Theirsupport and their undertaking to help the government is the lesser of two evilsand a preferable arrangement.
As for the unbelievers, they are of two categories:
-1- Those who may come to Islam through the reconciliation of their hearts:Such was the case of Safwan ibn 'Umayyah whom the Prophet, upon whom be peace,granted safety on the day of Makkah's conquest. The Prophet, upon whom bepeace, allowed him to think about his situation for four months and then choosefor himself. He was absent at the time but came forward later and went with theMuslims to fight in the battle of Hunayn before his acceptance of Islam. TheProphet, upon whom be peace, borrowed his armory for the expedition of Hunayn,and in return gave him a large number of camels, loaded with goods, that wereat a certain valley. Thereupon Safwwan said: "This is a gift from someonewho does not fear poverty. By Allah," he continued, "the Prophet,upon whom be peace, has given all of this to me and verily he is the person whomI dislike the most, but he continued to give me things until he became the oneI loved the most."
-2- People whose evil is feared, and it is hoped that money, if given tothem, will neutralize their hostility: Ibn 'Abbas reported: "A group ofpeople used to come to the Prophet, upon whom be peace. If he gave them money,they would praise Islam and say: 'This is a good religion.' However, if he didnot give them any money, they criticized and found fault with Islam."Among such people were Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, al-Aqra' ibn Habis, and 'Uyainahibn Hisn. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, gave every one of them one hundredcamels.
The Hanafiyyah say that the share of such people are cancelled when Islam isstrong. For instance, 'Uyainah ibn Hisn, al-Aqra' ibn Habis, and al-'Abbas ibnMirdas came to Abu Bakr and requested their share. He wrote them a letter,which they took to 'Umar. He tore the letter and said: "This is somethingthat the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to give you to reconcile you toIslam. Now, Allah has fortified Islam and it is no longer in need of you.Unless you stay with Islam, the sword will be between you and us. Say: 'It isthe truth from the Lord of you [all]. Then whoever will, let him believe, andwhoever will, let him disbelieve' [al Kahf 29]." They returned to Abu Bakrand said: "Are you the Caliph or is 'Umar? You wrote a letter for us and'Umar tore it up." He answered: "This is the way it is."
The Hanafiyyah continue: "Indeed, Abu Bakr agreed with 'Umar, and noneof the companions disapproved of it. Likewise, it was never reported from'Uthman or 'Ali that they gave anything to anyone in this category."
It can be answered that the case under reference was 'Umar's own judgment.He saw that there would be no benefit in mollifying these people after Islamhad become well-established among their people, and no harm would follow ifthey abandoned Islam. Also, if 'Uthman and 'Ali stopped spending this kind ofendowment, this does not necessarily mean that the provision for it wasrepealed. It is possible that the change of circumstances did not call for thecontinuation of such an endowment to the nonbelievers. However, this does notamount to the invalidation of the provision for such endowments. Should thecontingency call for its revival, the endowments in this category can be given.This is because their sanction lies in the Qur'an and sunnah.
Ahmad and Muslim reported from Anas that whenever the Prophet, upon whom bepeace, was asked for anything for the sake of Islam, he would give it away. Aman came and asked for sadaqah. The Prophet ordered that the man be given theentire lot of sheep between two mountains. These sheep were part of thesadaqah. The man returned to his people and said: "Oh my people! AcceptIslam, for indeed, Muhammad gives in such a way as if he does not fearpoverty." Ash-Shaukani says that al-'Itrah, al-Jobbani, al-Balkhi, and IbnMubashshir held that sadaqah may be given to those whose hearts are to bereconciled to Islam. On the contrary, ash-Shaf'i maintains that such endowmentsare not for unbelievers. As for the sinner (faszq), he may be given from suchallocations.
Abu Hanifah and his followers hold that this kind of endowment was cancelledwith the spread and domination of Islam and, as evidence, they cite Abu Bakr'srefusal to restore endowments to Abu Sufyan, 'Uyainah, al-Aqra', and al-'Abbasibn Mirdas. It appears that reconciliation is permitted when the need for itarises. In other words, it is permitted to give them sadaqah for reconciliationwhen a people obey a leader only for worldly affairs, and they cannot becontrolled except by force and domination. The spread of Islam has noramification on the issue of reconciliation because it makes no difference inthis case. The author of al-Manar testifies: "This is the whole truth.Only independent judgment can be exercised to elaborate on the eligibility andthe amount of sadaqah or booty to be given away when they are available, alongwith other kinds of property [immovable and movable]. It is necessary to seekconsultation of capable people (ahl ashShura) as the caliphs did in thosematters that required ijtihad. Whether a leader can force them into obedienceby coercive action before resorting to the use of the endowment is an unsettledissue. Nevertheless, this cannot be followed as a rule but rather as theprinciple of inclining to the lesser of two evils and to the best benefit ofthe society."
This category includes two kinds of slaves: contracted slaves (rnukazabun)and regular slaves. Both categories were aided with sadaqah to obtain theirfreedom. Al-Bara' reported: "A man came to the Prophet, upon whom bepeace, and said to him: 'Guide me to a deed that makes me close to Heaven andfar from Hell.' The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: 'Free a person andredeem a slave.' " Then al-Bara' asked: "O Messenger of Allah. Arenot the two the same?" He answered: "No. Freeing a person is to granthim freedom [by redeeming him from his bondage], but the redeeming of the neckmeans buying him his freedom." This is related by Ahmad and ad-Daraqutniand their report is trustworthy.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:"Three persons have the right to be helped by Allah: the warrior (ghazi)who fights for Allah, the contracted slave who longs to buy his freedom, andone who wishes to get married for the sake of chastity." This is relatedby Ahmad and the ashab as-Sunan. At-Tirmizhi grades this report as good andsound.
As to the meaning of free captives (wa fi ar-riqab), ash-Shaukani says thatscholars differ over it. 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, Sa'id ibn Jubair, al-Layth,ath-Thauri, al-'Itrah, the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah, and the majority ofscholars are reported to believe that it refers to contracted slaves(rnukatabdn) whose freedom is secured through payment from zakah. According toIbn 'Abbas, al-Hasan al-Basri, Malik, Ahrnad ibn Hanbal, Abu Thaur, and Abu'Ubaid, it means using zakah in the release of any kind of slave. Al-Bukhariand Ibn al-Munzhir are also supportive of this view. Their rationale is thatthe expression wa fi ar-riqab cannot be confined to the kind of slavery arisingfrom a contract because, if that had been the case, then it would have fallenunder the category of those in debt (gharimln), for theirs is an obvious caseof debt. As such, freeing a slave from bondage is better than helping a contractedslave. He could be aided or helped, but not freed, for the contracted slave isa slave as long as he owes even one dirham. At the same time, freeing a slaveis possible at any time, in contrast to the situation of a contracted slave.
Commenting on the subject, az-Zuhri says that the preceding position entailstwo possibilities. The Qur'anic 'ayah on the subject alludes to these twopossibilities, which have been pointed out by ashShaukani in his Muntaqaal-Akhbar. In the hadith narrated by alBara', evidence suggests that redeemingnecks is not the same as freeing them. Nor is the deed of freeing slaves thesame as helping contracted ones with money to pay off the contract. Both ofthese bring the individual closer to Heaven and distance him from Hell.
People burdened by debts and unable to pay them are of several kinds: thosewho took upon themselves responsibility to discharge a debt; those whoguaranteed debts of others and therefore, upon default, the debts have becometheir obligation; those who mismanaged their finances, those who borrowed moneybecause they had to; or those who were involved in sinful acts and thenrepented, and who had to pay a fine for repentance. All of them may takesadaqah to meet their debts.
Anas reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Asking forsadaqah is permissible only for the following three classes [of people]:
-1- those who are in abject poverty,
-2- those who have severe debts, or
-3- those who incurred it in the payment of blood money [on behalf of arelative or friend]." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, andat-Tirmizhi. The latter grades it hasn.
Muslim relates from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri that a man made a bad deal on fruitand then ran into heavy debt. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, recommended:"Give him sadaqah." Then the people gave him sadaqah. However, hestill had some debt left over. Thereupon, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, saidto creditors: "Take what you get . . ."
As to the previously stated hadith of Qabisah ibn Mukhariq, in which hesays: "I had a debt. I went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace,and asked him for help. He answered: 'Wait until we have received funds forsadaqah, then we will give some to you.' " The expression hamalah in thishadith, as defined by the scholars, is to assume someone's responsibility asone's own in order to restitute a discord. In pre-Islamic times, wheneverstrife took place among the Arab tribes and blood was spilled, compensation wascalled for. In such a case, one of them would volunteer to meet the obligationuntil the strife had ended. Undoubtedly, this was a noble act for these people.When the Arabs would come to know that one of them had taken upon himself theresponsibility (hamalah) of someone's debt, they would hasten to his help inthe discharge of his responsibility. If such a person asked for help, it wasconsidered an honorable act and not derogatory to his character. No conditionswere stipulated. As for being qualified to obtain zakah in the discharge ofsuch debts, it is not a pre-condition that the person who has assumed the debton another's behalf should be unable to pay it. In fact, he can still ask forzakah even though he is a man of means.
Fee sabil lillah means for the sake of Allah--that is, making use ofknowledge and deeds to attain Allah's pleasure. Most scholars understood thisphrase as fighting for the cause of Allah. Part of zakah designated for thecause of Allah is given to volunteer fighters, especially those who are not onthe payroll of the state, regardless of their financial status.
The hadith of the Messenger of Allah, stated elsewhere, also confirms it:"Sadaqah is not permitted to the rich except to the following five: thewarrior (ghuzi) for the cause of Allah . . . and so on."
As to the pilgrimage (hajj, it does not fall under the zakah designated forthe cause of Allah because it is an obligation for one who can afford it.Commenting on the issue, the authors of al-Manar say: "Spending of thisportion on securing the routes of the pilgrimage and for providing water, food,and health services for the pilgrims is permissible if funds from other sourcesare not available."
Included in the share designated "for the cause of Allah" arethose spendings in the interest of the common good that pertain to bothreligious and secular matters. The foremost is the preparations for war,including buying arms, food supplies for soldiers, means of transportation, andequipment for warriors. However, the supplies for warriors are to be returnedto the treasury after the war. This applies especially to unconsumable itemssuch as weapons, horses, and so on. A warrior does not always possess suchitems, for he uses them in the cause of Allah only when necessary. This is notthe case, however, with other recipients of zakah, such as zakah collectors,debtors, people who received money under the expense account"reconciliation of hearts," and the wayfarers. They do not have toreturn the zakah, even if they are no longer entitled to it.
Also included in the expense account "for the cause of Allah" areprojects such as establishing military hospitals, paved and unpaved roads, theextension of military (not commercial) railway lines, and the building ofcruisers, warplanes, fortresses, and trenches. An important item in thiscategory could be the preparation of Muslim missionaries and sending them tonon-Muslim countries to spread Islam, just as non-Muslim missionaries are now spreadingtheir religions in Islamic countries. Also falling under this heading would beschool expenses to prepare adequate courses in religious sciences and in otherareas of public interest. Teachers involved in such programs should be givensadaqah as long as they continue to perform their assigned jobs withoutresorting to other means of income. Scholars who are rich should not be paidfor their work, despite their obvious benefits to the people.
Scholars agree that a traveler stranded in a foreign land should be givenzakah if he lacks the means to achieve his objectives. The extension of zakahis, however, tied to the condition that the journey must have been undertakenfor Islamically acceptable reasons. Just what such a trip involves is open toquestion. The preferable opinion among the Shaf'iyyah is that sadaqah is giveneven when the traveler is taking the trip for sightseeing and pleasure. Thewayfarer (ibn as-sabil), according to the Shaf'iyyah, is of two kinds:
-1- a person traveling within his own country, and
-2- one traveling in a foreign country. Both of them are entitled to zakah,even though they could find someone to lend them the needed amount and theyhave enough resources in their own country to pay their debts. According toMalik and Ahmad, only the passer-by is eligible for zakah and not one travelingwithin his own country. Zakah is not to be given to the person if he can findsomeone to lend him the money he needs and if he has enough of his own money inhis country to pay his debt.
The distribution of zakah to those who are eligible, as mentioned in the'ayah from at-Taubah, can now be classified as under:
The poor (fuqdra'); the needy (rnasakm); the administrators of zakah('amildna 'alaiha); those whose hearts are to be won over (mu'allafatuqulubuhum), slaves (ar-riqab); those in debt (gharimun) the wayfarers (abna'as-Sabil); the warriors (rnujahidln).
The jurists differ over the distribution of zakah among the preceding eightgroups of people.
Ash-Shaf'i and his followers hold that if a distributor of zakah happens tobe the owner of the property (or the agent), then there is no share of thecollectors in it. In that case, it becomes obligatory to distribute the sumcollected among the remaining seven categories. If other categories are forsome reason ineligible for their share, it will be distributed among thosestill eligible. It is not permissible to disregard any category if it meets theconditions for eligibility. Ibrahim anNakha'i says that if the amount of zakahreceived is large, then it is possible to divide it among the differentcategories. However, if it is small, it is permissible to place it into onecategory. Ahmad ibn Hanbal holds that the division of zakah has a priority butthat it is permissible to give it all to one category. Malik maintains that thedistributor of zakah should make an effort to investigate those who are inneed. He should distribute it according to the immediate condition of the needyand poor people. Thus, if he sees in certain years that the poor need more,they should be given priority. If he sees in another year that the wayfarersare more needy, he should distribute it among the travelers. The Hanafiyyah andSufyan athThauri thought that the zakah payer can choose the categories hewished to distribute the zakah to. This is related by Huzhaifah and Ibn 'Abbas.Al-Hasan alBasri and 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah base their opinions on it. Abu Hanifahholds that the distributors of zakah may give it to one person under any of theeight categories.
According to Ibn Rushd: "The cause of their differences lies betweenthe literal and the intended meaning. The literal meaning determines theclassifications, but the intended meaning shows that priority should be givento the needy according to the immediacy of their needs since the aim [of theinstitution of zakah] is to eliminate poverty. The enumeration [of thecategories] in the Qur'an is meant to distinguish the different kinds--that is,the people eligible for zakah, and not necessarily their grouping. The firstinterpretation is the literal one while the second is the intended interpretation."Ash-Shaf'i builds his case on the hadith of as-Suda'i which is related by AbuDawud. A man came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and asked for zakah. TheMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah has not left thematter to the judgment of a prophet nor to others. He has laid the rules forit--that is, He has classified [the beneficiaries] into eight categories. Ifyou fit into any of these, I will give you your due."
The author of ar-Rawdah an-Nadiyyah says: "Distributing all of thezakah to one group is more benefiting to the realization of the word ofAllah." In brief, one may say that Allah made zakah applicable only to theeight specifically mentioned categories. Spelling out these categories does notmean that the zakah has to be distributed among them equally or even that ithas to be divided among them. The intended meaning, however, is that thecategories of sadaqah are similar to various groups of people who are eligiblefor it. Thus, one who is obligated to pay anything to any category of sadaqahand gives it to a person in a parallel group is considered to be fulfillingwhat Allah commanded him to do. Contrary to this, if one divides his zakah dueinto the acknowledged eight categories, if all eight exist, then that would notonly be contrary to the practice of the Muslims throughout history, but itwould cause hardship to the payer of zakah. For example, if the collected zakahwere meager, it would be of no benefit to any designated category--even if itwas of one kind, to say nothing if it was of numerous kinds. To endorse such apractice would be tantamount to counter what the Prophet, upon whom be peace,did when he permitted the payment of a penance (kaffarah) from the charitycollected for Salmah ibn Sakhr. Obviously, the hadith of as-Suda'i cannot beused as evidence.
There is not a single case in the entire corpus of hadith literature whichcould be used to make the distribution of zakah to all groups of peopleobligatory. Using the hadith of Mu'azh as evidence that the Prophet, upon whombe peace, instructed him to take zakah from the rich Yemenites and give it totheir poor will not be of much help because it does not establish that thezakah was distributed to all the groups. Nor is the hadith of Ziyad ibnal-Harith as-Suda'i valid in this regard because in its chain of narrators is'Abdur-Rahman ibn Ziyad al-'Afriqi, whose credibility has been questioned bymany scholars. Assuming that this hadith is valid for the point underdiscussion, the meaning of the division of zakah into parts is its distributionaccording to the apparent meaning of the Qur'anic 'ayah and what the Prophet,upon whom be peace, had in mind. Assuming that the division of zakah itself isintended, the distribution has to be done according to the specifiedcategories. In this case, any transfer of the share of one group to another,even if the group concerned was for some reason non-existent, will not bepermissible. Such an approach will be contrary to the consensus of Muslimscholars. If we accept that, then the deciding factor for the sadaqah'sdistribution is the leader's wish rather than, and not the specific categoriesof eligible people. Thus, there is no evidence that makes division obligatory,and it is consequently permissible to give some sadaqah to those eligiblepeople and some to other groups. Indeed, when the leader collects all thesadaqat from his people and all eight categories are eligible to receive them,each group has the right to claim its share. However, he does not have todivide the collected sadaqat among them equally or distribute it without anydistinction, for he can give any amount to any group or groups that he wantsto, or he can give some without giving the rest if he thinks it is in theinterest of Islam and its people. For example, if the sadaqah was collected andthen a jihad was announced, meaning that it would become necessary to defendthe territory of Islam against the unbelievers, the leader can give some or allof it to the deserving warriors. This also applies to other concerns if theinterest of Islam necessitates it.
We have discussed so far the distribution of zakah and the categories ofpeople eligible to receive it. Now we will talk about those who are forbiddento receive it. They are:
The jurists agree that unbelievers and atheists are not to be given zakah.In the hadith which says: "Zakah is taken from the rich and given back tothe poor," "the rich" refers to rich Muslims while "thepoor" indicates poor Muslims. Ibn al-Munzhir said that all scholars agreethat the free nonMuslim subject (zhimmi) is not entitled to zakah. Exceptionsto the rule are those people whose hearts are leaning toward Islam. However, itis permissible to give a zhimmi from the nonobligatory charity (tatawwu').Alluding to the characteristics of the belivers, the Qur'an says: "And forHis love, they feed the indigent, orphan, and captive" (ad-Dahr: 8.. Thisis also supported by the following hadith: "Be kind to your mother."The woman in this case was an unbeliever.
This includes the families of 'Ali, Ja'far, al'Abbas, and al-Harith. IbnQudamah says there are no two opinions on the ineligibility of Banu Hashim toreceive zakah. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, declared: "Indeed, sadaqahought not to be given to the family of Muhammad ..." Muslim related it.Abu Hurairah reported that when al-Hasan took one date from the sadaqah dates,the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to him: "Nay, spit it out! Don't youknow that we cannot eat from charity?" Scholars agree on the authenticityof this hadith. As to the eligibility of Banu al-Muttalib for zakah, thescholars differ.
Ash-Shaf'i holds that like Banu Hashim they are disallowed to take zakah.Ash-Shaf'i, Ahmad, and al-Bukhari relate from Jubair ibn Mut'im who said:"At the battle of Khaibar, the Prophet, upon whom be peace, set aside theshare of the relatives of the families of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib andleft out the shares of Banu Nawfal and Banu 'Abd Shams. I and 'Uthman ibn'Affan came to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said to him: 'OMessenger of Allah! Do not deny Banu Hashim the grace of their position becauseAllah placed you among them. How about our brothers Banu al-Muttalib? You gavethem and left us out? Isn't our relationship one and the same?' The Prophet,upon whom be peace, answered: 'I and Banu al-Muttalib are not to be separatedeither during jahiliyyah or Islam. We and they are one.' Then he joined hisfingers [in demonstrating the close relationship]." Reason dictates thatone should not differentiate between them (the two families) in any matter oflaw because they are one according to the saying of the Prophet. It is evidentthat they are the family of Muhammad, and therefore, sadaqat are forbidden tothem. Abu Hanifah holds that the family of Banu al-Muttalib may take from zakah.Both these reports are related by Ahmad. Just as the Messenger of Allah, uponwhom be peace, made charity unlawful for the family of Banu Hashim, he alsomade it unlawful for their proteges (mawla). Abu Rafi', a protege of theProphet, said that the latter appointed a man from the family of Banu Makhzumto collect sadaqat. This man said to Abu Rafi': "Accompany me so that youmay get some of it." He said: "No, until I meet the Messenger ofAllah, upon whom be peace, and ask him." He left and asked him. The Prophetanswered: "Sadaqah is not lawful for us--and the proteges of a certaintribe are like [the members of the tribe] themselves." Ahmad, Abu Dawud,and at-Tirmizhi related it. The latter grades it good (hassan) and sound(sahih).
Whether nonobligatory charity (tatawwu') is lawful for the family of theProphet or not, scholars differ. Ash-Shaukani, having summarized the views onthe issue, says: "The apparent meaning of the Prophet's hadith, 'Sadaqahis unlawful for us,' is the unlawfulness of the obligatory as well asnonobligatory sadaqat." A group of scholars, including al-Khattabi, saysthat its prohibition for the Prophet, upon whom be peace, carries consensus.Based on ashShaf'i's report, many others have ruled that the prohibition ofzakah to the Prophet does not include the nonobligatory charity. A report fromAhmad equally says so but Ibn Qudamah rejects all these reports for lack ofclear evidence.
As for the family of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, the vast majority ofthe Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah, the Hanbaliyyah, and the majority of theZaidiyyah hold that nonobligatory sadaqah is permissible for them but not theobligatory one, since to them the latter is nothing but filth that comes outfrom people's holdings. This is understood to mean that the (prescribed) zakahand not the nonobligatory sadaqat, are forbidden to them. It is said in alBahrthat nonobligatory sadaqah is restricted by being confined to a donation, gift,or endowment. Abu Yusuf and Abu al-'Abbas maintain that it is unlawful forthem, as is the prescribed charity, because there is no evidence of thecontrary.
The jurists agree that it is not permissible to give zakah to one's father,grandfather, mother, grandmother, son, grandson, daughter, and her childrenbecause the zakah payer is obligated to take care of all such people anyway. Incase of their poverty, they should draw upon his largesse because it is theirright. Thus, if he pays them zakah, he benefits himself and avoids the obligationof supporting them. Malik exempts the grandfather, grandmother, grandsons, andgranddaughters because one does not have an obligation to support them if theyare poor. However, if they are well-off and fought voluntarily for the cause ofAllah, the zakah payer may give them some of the zakah designated for thosefighting in the cause of Allah. He may also give them some of the share meantfor debtors, though he is not obligated to pay off their debts. He may alsogive them a portion of the amount set aside for zakah collectors, provided theyare in this category.
Ibn al-Munzhir says that all scholars agree that a man is not obligated togive his wife zakah, the reason being that adequate support for her is alreadyenjoined upon him, unless she is in debt. In that case, she may be given fromthe debtor's share to pay off her debt.
It is not permissible to distribute zakah so as to grow nearer to Allahother than what Allah, the Exalted One, mentions in the 'ayah: "The almsare only for the poor and the needy" (at-Taubah 60). Thus, zakah cannot bepaid for establishing mosques, bridges, road repair, hospitality, shrouding thedead, and so on. Abu Dawud witnesses: "I heard Ahmad while he was askedwhether spending part of the zakah on shrouding the deceased was permissible.He said: 'No. Nor can it be used to pay the debt of the dead.' " He alsosaid: "One can pay the debt of a living person from the zakah but not thatof the deceased. For a person who dies, there is no debt."
Ahmad was also asked what would happen if it had been given to help themredeem their debt. He answered: "Yes, for his family it is allright."
The Messenger of Allah used to send his authorized agents to collect zakah.He would then distribute it among the deserving people. Abu Bakr and 'Umar didthe same. There is no difference between unhidden wealth (i.e., plants, fruit,cattle, and minerals) and hidden wealth (i.e., trade goods, gold, silver, andtreasure). When 'Uthman became caliph, he followed this practice for a while.Later on, when he saw that the hidden wealth was tremendous and that pursuingit embarrassed the community and while checking it harmed its owners, he leftthe payment of the zakah on such property to the individual's discretion.Jurists agree that the owners themselves should assume the distribution ofzakah, especially when it is for hidden wealth. As-Sa'ib ibn Yazid reported:"I once heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. He said: 'Thisis the month of your zakah. If any one of you still owes a debt, let him pay itoff so that your properties become free from debts. Then, you can pay the zakahon them.' " Al-Baihaqi relates it with a sahih chain.
An-Nawawi says that some scholars agree with this practice.: Who shoulddistribute the zakah on hidden wealth
Is it preferable for the owners to distribute the zakah due on their hiddenwealth, or is it preferable to let the leader distribute it?
There is more than one opinion on this subject. The preferred choice amongthe Shaf'iyyah is that zakah be paid to the government, especially when it is ajust government. According to the Hanbaliyyah, it is preferable that the zakahpayer distribute it himself, even though it is permissible to give it to theruler. On the other hand, Malik and the Hanafiyyah hold that if the wealth isunhidden, the Muslim leader and his agents have the authority to ask for andtake their zakah. The opinion of the Shaffiyyah and the Hanbaliyyah concerningunhidden wealth is similar to that on the hidden ones.
It is permissible to pay zakah to a Muslim leader, whether he is just ornot, provided he rules (more or less) according to Islamic laws. The propertyowner absolves himself of his obligation by giving zakah to the leader. If theleader does not distribute it properly, it is preferable that the propertyowner do so himself, unless the leader or his agent asks for it.
Anas reported: "A man from the tribe of Banu Tamim came to theMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and said: 'O Messenger of Allah! If Ipaid the zakah to your representative, am I acquitted of my responsibility?'The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'Yes, if you pay it to myrepresentative, then you have acquitted yourself. Its reward will be yours andits sin will be upon whoever misused it.' " This is related by Ahmad.
Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Afterme, there will be selfishness and you will deny obligations." They said:"O Messenger of Allah! What do you command us to do?" He answered:"Pay the due which is upon you and ask Allah what is right for you."This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Wa'il ibn Hajar reported: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, say after a man had asked him his opinion of our leaders who deny theirright [of collecting and distributing the zakah]: 'Listen and obey, for indeed,they have their responsibility and you have yours.' " This is related byMuslim.
Commenting on the subject, ash-Shaukkani says that the hadith cited in thissection are used by many scholars to justify the permissibility of transferringboth kinds of zakah to unjust rulers. This applies to rulers of Muslims in theworld of Islam (Dar al Islam).
As to contemporary Muslim governments, Sheikh Rashid Rida says: "Atpresent, the majority of Muslims do not have an Islamic govemment whichestablishes Islam, propagates and defends it, calls for jihad individually orcollectively, implements its divine injunctions, and collects and distributeszakah according to the rules laid down by Allah, the Exalted One.
Some of the Muslim rulers are under the influence of Western powers, whileothers are under the tutelage of polytheists. These foreign powers employMuslim leaders as tools to subjugate the people in the name of Islam, thusdestroying Islam itself. They use the influence of the Muslim leaders andMuslim resources, including zakah and endowments, to further their interests.To such rulers, it is not permissible to pay any part of zakah, regardless oftheir title or profession of faith. As for the rest of the Islamic governmentswhose rulers and heads of state profess Islam and whose finances are notcontrolled by foreigners, the payment of unhidden zakah should be made to theirleaders. This also applies to hidden properties, such as gold and silver, whenthe leaders request it, even if they are unjust in some of their judgments, asis said by the jurists."
Zakah is given to a Muslim provided he is eligible to receive it. Whether heis good or sinful does not matter. If, however, it is known that he will use itto perpetuate what Allah has forbidden, it should be denied to him. It ispreferable that one who pays zakah should give it to the pious, theknowledgeable, and those of kind disposition. It is related from Abu Sa'idal-Khudri that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "The likeness of abeliever and the likeness of belief are similar to the horse that, tied to itspost, walks around and then comes back to its post. The believer may forget,but he returns to his belief. Thus, give your food to the righteous people andentrust your favors to the believers." This is related by Ahmad with a goodchain and as-Suyuti authenticated it.
Ibn Taimiyyah says that the needy who discards his salah will not be givenanything until he repents and offers salah again because neglecting salah is agrave sin. It is not right that one who commits this sin should be financiallyhelped until he repents to Allah. Included along with those who neglect salahare offenders who are not ashamed to commit sinful acts and remain unrepentant.Also, one whose conscience is corrupted has an innate character which isdistorted and a sense of good which is virtually dead. Such a person is notgiven zakah unless doing so will turn him in the right direction and help himreform.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, prohibited the one who giveszakah to buy back what he gave up for Allah, the Exalted One. This is similarto the case of those immigrants who were prohibited (by the Messenger) toreturn to Makkah after they had left it as immigrants. It is related by'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that: "Once 'Umar gave away a horse, for the cause ofAllah, as sadaqah. Later, he saw it for sale and wanted to buy it. He asked theMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, if he could do so. The Messenger answered:'Do not buy back what you gave in sadaqah.'" This is related byal-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa'i. AnNawawi says it is a purifyingprohibition, not one of unlawfulness. It is unsuitable (makruh) for a person tobuy back what he has given in sadaqah, or zakah, or penance for a promise, oranything of the nature which brings one closer to Allah, the Exalted One. Thisis also applicable to a gift offered to someone which the donor cannot own evenif it is allowed by the recipient. However, it can be owned by him again if heinherits it. According to Ibn Battal, most scholars disliked someone to buy hissadaqah back. This is in accordance with 'Umar's hadith. Ibn al-Munzhir saysthat al-Hasan, 'Ikrimah, Rabi'ah, and al-Auza'i allowed buying one's charityback. Ibn Hazm is also inclined to this view because of a hadith from Abu Sa'idalKhudri. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah isnot allowed to the well-to-do except for five among them: one who fights in thecause of Allah; one who administers zakah; one who is in debt; one who bought[the article of zakah] with his money; or one who has a poor neighbor to whomhe gave sadaqah, and the latter gave it as a gift to him."
A poor husband is entitled to receive zakah from his well-to-do wife, eventhough she is not supposed to support him. Her reward for giving it to him ismore than if she were to give it to strangers. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reportedthat Zainab, the wife of Ibn Mas'ud, said: "O Prophet of Allah! Indeed youhave ordered us today to give away sadaqah, and I have some jewelry which Iwanted to give away as sadaqah. But Ibn Mas'ud claims that he and his childrendeserve it more than someone else." The Prophet, upon whom be peace,responded: "Ibn Mas'ud is right. Your husband and your children are moredeserving." This is related by al-Bukhari. AshShafi, Ibn al-Munzhir, AbuYusuf, Muhammad, the Zahiriyyah, and one of the reports by Ahmad hold the sameview. Abu Hanifah and other scholars differ, saying that the wife is notallowed to give any sadaqah to her husband. They maintain that Zainab's hadithis concerned with voluntary sadaqah and not with the obligatory one. Malikholds that it is not permissible for a husband to spend the sadaqah he receivesfrom his wife on her. Spending it on others is all right. Most scholars saythat one's brothers, sisters, paternal uncles and aunts, and maternal unclesand aunts may receive zakah if they are eligible. Their opinion is based on thehadith which says: "Sadaqah for the poor is rewarded as one sadaqah, butin the case of a relative it is considered as two: [one reward for] blood tieand [the other reward for] the sadaqah [itself]." This is related byAhmad, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter grades it hassan.
An-Nawawi holds that if someone is able to earn a suitable living and wantsto occupy himself by studying some of the religious sciences but finds that hiswork will not allow him to do so, then he may be given zakah since seekingknowledge is considered a collective duty (fard kifayah). As for the individualwho is not seeking knowledge, zakah is not permissible for him if he is able toearn his living even though he resides at a school. An-Nawawi says: "Asfor one who is engaged in supererogatory worship (nawafil) or for one whooccupies himself in nawafil with no time to pursue his own livelihood, he maynot receive zakah. This is because the benefit of his worship is confined onlyto him, contrary to the one who seeks knowledge."
Formulating the issue, an-Nawawi says in al-Majmu': "Suppose a personowes a debt to another person and at the same time he qualifies for zakah.[When zakah is due for the lender to pay,] he tells [the borrower]: 'Considerthe debt for [my] zakah.' Would it be valid?" An-Nawawi says there are twoopinions on it. According to Ahmad and Abu Hanifah, who held the betteropinion, it does not constitute zakah because it cannot be discharged unlessactually paid, while Hasan al-Basri and 'Ata maintain that the responsibilityto pay zakah will be discharged even though there is no payment of zakah (atthat point in time) by its payer.
Likewise, if an individual trustingly assigns some money to a person to keepand at the time of zakah he asks the assignee to keep the amount in lieu of hiszakah, it will be valid.
The jurists, however, agree that if a person pays zakah to another who oweshim money and then receives it back to redeem his loan to him, the obligationto pay zakah will not be discharged. It is also invalid for a person to acceptzakah on the condition that he will pay it back to the lender (the zakah payer)for the amount he owes him. Nevertheless, if at the time of lending andacceptance of the loan both agree to do so, even though it was not mentioned inthe deal, it will be valid as zakah.
The jurists agree that zakah can be transferred from one city to anotherprovided the needs of the city residents whom the zakah was originally derivedfrom have first been satisfied. A large number of hadith on the subject stressthe need for depleting zakah among the poor and the needy of the city fromwhich it is collected. This is because zakah aims at freeing the poorinhabitants of an area from want, and thus its transfer would contribute totheir deprivation. This is substantiated by the hadith of Mu'azh: "Tell themthat there is a charity due upon them to be taken from their rich and to begiven back to their poor." Abu Juhaifah reported: "The charitycollector of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, came to us and tookzakah from our rich and gave it to our poor. I was an orphan then, and he gaveme a young she-camel." This is related by at-Tirmizhi, who graded ithassan.
'Imran ibn Husain reports that he was employed as a charity collector. Whenhe returned from this assignment, he was asked: "Where is the collection?"He responded: "Did you send me for the collection? We took it anddistributed it the way we did at the time of the Messenger of Allah, upon whombe peace." This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. On the samesubject, Tawus says: "Mu'azh wrote in his letter: 'Anyone who moves fromone location to another, his charity and tithe remain in the location of histribe.'" This is related by al-Athram in his Sunan.
Based on such hadith, the jurists say that the poor of a city have a priorclaim over the local zakah than the poor elsewhere. Still, they differ overwhich conditions must prevail before zakah can be transferred from one city toanother.
The Hanafiyyah hold that transferring zakah is disliked (makruh) unless itis for needy relatives and serves the ties of blood, or when the needs of agroup of Muslims are more pressing than those of the locals, when it is tied tothe general interests of the Muslims, when it is sought from a country at waragainst the Muslims to the land of Islam, when it is intended for a scholar, orwhen zakah is paid before the completion of the hawl. In those cases,transferring zakah is not disliked (makruh).
The Shaf'iyyah maintain that transferring zakah is not allowed and that itmust be spent in the area of its origin, unless it has no poor or othercategories of zakah recipients. 'Amr ibn Shu'aib reported that the Messenger ofAllah, upon whom be peace, appointed Mu'azh ibn Jabal to a position in Jundwhere the latter remained until the death of the Prophet. At the time of thisevent, he came to 'Umar who reappointed him. He sent to 'Umar one-third of thesadaqat collected from the local people, but 'Umar turned it down and said:"I did not appoint you to go there as a tax collector or as a tribute(jizyah) taker. I appointed you to collect sadaqat from the rich and then toreturn them to their poor." Mu'azh replied: "I would not have sentyou anything [from the collection] if I had found someone deserving [overhere]."
In the second year, he sent him half of the collected sadaqat, and they raninto the same issue again. In the third year, he sent him all of it, and 'Umaragain argued with him. Mu'azh responded: "I could not find anyone whodeserved to receive anything from me." This is related by Abu 'Ubaid.
Malik holds that transferring zakah is allowed only when there is adesperate need. The administration then can send it to the other place afterdue consideration of all the facts. The Hanbaliyyah say that it is notpermissible to transfer zakah from its place of origin to that of the placebeyond which salat ul-qasr is applicable. It must be spent in the place whichgenerated it or near to it but not beyond the point of qasr.
Abu Dawud says: "I heard Ahmad saying 'no' when asked if zakah could betransferred from one city to another. Asked further, 'What if his [the zakahpayer's] relatives are in the other city?' he replied: 'No. It can betransferred only when the needs of the poor residents of a city have beensatisfied.' " This is based on the preceding hadith of Abu 'Ubaid. IbnQudamah holds that even if the zakah payer violated the above stipulations bytransferring it, he would still have met his obligation. Most of the scholarsalso support this view. When a man resides in one city and his holdings happento be in another, consideration will be given to the city where his holdingsare located because the holdings generated zakah and the eligible people willbe eyeing it. If part of the holdings are with the owner and some are inanother city, zakah will be paid on the portion in each city. This applies tozakah on one's holdings. As for the zakah at the end of Ramadan (zakatul-fitr), it is distributed in the city where it is due, whether the payer'sholdings are there or not. This is because this type of zakah is associatedwith the person rather than with the holdings.
The topic of recipients versus non-recipients of zakah has already beencovered. It does happen, however, that a zakah payer inadvertantly gives it toan ineligible person at the expense of an eligible one. Upon the realization ofsuch a mistake, would he be considered to have fulfilled his obligation ofzakah or would it still be a debt upon him until he pays it to the rightpeople? The jurists differ over this point. Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, al-Hasan,and Abu 'Ubaidah maintain that in such a case he would not be required to payanother zakah.
Ma'an ibn Yazid reports: "My father set aside a few dinars for sadaqahand gave them to a man in the mosque. I went and took them and brought themback to my father. He said: 'By Allah! What have you done?' I consulted theProphet, upon whom be peace, about it. The Prophet observed: 'O Yazid, for youis what you intended and O Ma'an, for you is what you have taken.' " Thisis related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari. The meaning of this hadith is that sadaqahis supererogatory (nafl); however, the word ma (meaning what) in laka rnanawayta (for you is what you intended) denotes generalization. Abu Hanifah andMuhammad are supported in their stand by a hadith from Abu Hurairah whichreports the Prophet, upon whom be peace, saying: "A man [from Banu Isra'il]said [to himself]: 'Tonight I will give away something in sadaqah.' So he wentout with his sadaqah and [unknowlingly] gave it to a thief. The next moming hewas told by the people that he had given sadaqah to a thief. [On hearing this,]he said: 'O Allah! Praised be You. Certainly I will give sadaqah again.' So, hewent out with his sadaqah and [unknowingly] gave it to an adulteress. The nextmoming he was told that he had given sadaqah to an adulteress. The man said: 'OAllah! Praised be You. [I gave my sadaqah] to an adulteress. Certainly I willgive sadaqah again.' Thus he went out with his sadaqah again and [unknowingly]gave it to a rich person. The next moming the people said that the night beforehe had given his sadaqah to a wealthy person. He said: 'O Allah! Praised beYou. [I have given my sadaqah] to an adulteress, a thief, and a rich person.'[In his dreams] he saw someone saying to him: 'The sadaqah you gave to thethief might make him abstain from stealing, and that given to the adulteressmight make her abstain from illegal sex [adultery], and that given to thewealthy person might make him learn a lesson from it and spend his wealth,which Allah, the Exalted One, has given him in Allah's cause.' " This isrelated by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said to a man who asked him for sadaqah:"If you were eligible for zakah, I would have given you your due." He(the Prophet) gave (zakah) to two well built persons saying: "If you wish,I will give from it [sadaqah]. There is no portion in it for a wealthy personor a healthy individual who is eaming." Ibn Qudamah says: "If hewould have considered the reality of the rich person, he would not have beencontented with what they said [conceming this matter]."
The opinion of Malik, ash-Shaf'i, Abu Yusuf, ath-Thauri, and Ibn al-Munzhiris that it will not be sufficient for a zakah payer to give it to theundeserving, especially when his mistake becomes clear. In that case, he shouldpay zakah once again to those who deserve it. His case is similar to the caseof unpaid debts (owed) to other people. Ahmad says that there are two opinionsconceming one paying zakah to a person whom he thought was poor and laterleamed was rich. The first contends it would be considered paid, while thesecond says that it would not be. When it becomes known that one who receivedzakah is a slave, an unbeliever, a Hashimite (a person from the Prophet'sfamily), or an ineligible relative of the zakah payer, then one has notdischarged one's obligation, the reason being that it is difficult to know whois rich and who is poor: "The ignorant man thinks that since they [who donot ask for] are modest they are free from want" [al-Baqarah 273].
It is pemmissible for the person giving sadaqah to disclose his sadaqah,whether it is of an obligatory or supererogatory type (nafilah), so long as hedoes not do it ostentatiously. However, it is preferable not to disclose it.Allah, the Exalted One, says: "If you publicize your almsgiving, it isalright, but if you hide it and give it to the poor, it will be better foryou" [al-Baqarah 271]. Ahmad, alBukhari, and Muslim relate from AbuHurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Seven people will beshaded by Allah on the day when there will be no shade except His. These peopleare: a just ruler, a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah,a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, two persons who love each otheronly for Allah's sake and they meet and depart in Allah's cause only, a personwho gives sadaqah so secretly that his left hand does not know what his righthand has given, a person who remembers Allah in his seclusion and his eyes getfilled with tears, and a man who refuses the call of a chamling woman of noblebirth for illicit sex and says: 'I am afraid of Allah, the Exalted One.' "