How to give zakat directly? How is zakat given through the state? Is zakat collected by the government?
Since zakāt is an obligatory act of worship, it is essential that it be performed directly by the one who is responsible for the intention of zakāt. However, the financial aspect of zakāt required it to be collected by a public organization from the very beginning. Therefore, the state has undertaken the task of collecting zakāt and delivering it to those in need after it was made obligatory.
As a matter of fact, in the Qur’an, the Prophet was ordered to take zakāt from the wealth of the rich, and it was pointed out that this duty should be carried out by certain officials (āmil), who were given a share of the zakāt income in return for conducting their duties. During the time of the Prophet (saw) and the four rightly guided caliphs and in later periods, the task of collecting zakāt and distributing it to the rightful recipients was generally done by civil servants appointed by the state. When the Prophet (saw) sent Muadh ibn Jabal to Yemen as the governor, he (saw) told him, “Tell them that Allah has made zakāt obligatory on their wealth. This zakāt is taken from their rich and given to the poor there.” This command is an example of the application of the collection and distribution of zakāt. It is also an encouragement for the decentralization of towns and regions.
The salaries of the zakāt officers are paid out of one-eighth of the zakāt collected in the “zakāt fund” of the state treasury. However, there is no Islamic principle that requires every official to receive one-eighth of the zakāt that he collects. The state allocates a certain amount of income to the zakāt officer (āmil) in return for his labor. The following hadith, about the wages of those who work in return for a salary, was mostly interpreted for zakāt officers, “He who acts as an employee for us must get a wife; if he has not a servant, he must get one, and if he has not a dwelling, he must get one. He who takes anything else he is unfaithful or thief.” This hadith refers to the standard of living that the wage should provide to the worker and civil servant. Accordingly, with the savings to be made from their salary, the worker and the civil servant should be able to obtain a residence within a reasonable period of time, marry if he or she is single, and buy a vehicle if he or she does not have one.
While zakāt officers had been collecting zakāt on all kinds of goods subject to zakāt during the periods of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and Umar, they were assigned to collect the zakāt of especially exposed goods such as agricultural products and animals after the time of Uthmān. However, if it is detected that the owner of the property neglects the payment of zakāt for his gold, silver, cash, and trade goods, which are called hidden goods, they can also be collected by the state.
According to the majority of Muslim jurists, the state has the authority to demand the zakāt payment of all goods subject to zakāt. By using this authority, the state has the right to take the zakāt from those who have obliged the pay the zakāt by force. According to some jurists, the permissibility of the payment of zakāt directly by those who are obliged to pay it is based on the concern that the zakāt collected by the state may not reach its rightful recipients.
The amount that the officer in charge of the collection of the tithe will receive from the hidden properties of a Muslim is one-fortieth, one-twentieth from the dhimmis, and one-tenth from a ḥarbī visiting the Muslim land with a visa. The proof of this is the following practice, which Muhammad ibn Hasan reported from Ziyad Ibn Hadīr: “Umar ibn al-Khattāb sent me to ʿAyn al-Tamr as a zakāt officer and commanded me to collect one-fortieth of the trade goods of the Muslims and one-twentieth of the goods of the dhimmis, and to take zakāt from the wealth of the ḥarbīs at the rate of one-tenth.”
According to the Ḥanafis, taking taxes from the ḥarbīs (non-Muslims temporarily staying in an Islamic country) who are in the Muslim land with a visa is based on the principle of reciprocity. If foreign countries do not collect taxes from Muslims, Muslims do not collect any taxes from them. The aim here is to protect the rights of Muslim traders abroad. If the amount of tax imposed by the foreign country is unknown, one-tenth is applied in principle. This is because Umar gave the customs officers the instruction to “take a tenth if they encounter any difficulties in the calculation”. Once a ḥarbī pays the tithe, it is not taken from him again until a year passes. Taking tax from the ḥarbīs is in return for the protection of his property. After the year is completed, the trust is renewed since the duration of the ḥarbīs’ stay in an Islamic country is one year. If the period of stay is prolonged, the tax in the amount of one-tenth or at a different rate on the basis of reciprocity will continue to be collected annually.
According to the Shafiʿis, the zakāt of hidden goods is given by the person himself who is responsible to pay it. There are two views on the zakāt of exposed goods. The zakāt of such goods can be collected by the state and distributed to the recipients of zakāt, or the person who is responsible for its payment can give them directly to the recipient.
According to the Malikis, the provisions of zakāt are applied directly by the state. According to the Ḥanbalis, the person who is responsible for its payment is left free between giving it to the state and giving it directly to the rightful recipients, without making any distinction in this regard.
 Al-Tawba, 9: 103.
 Al-Tawba, 9: 60.
 Al-Bukhari, Zakāt, 1.
 Abū Dawūd, ‘Imara, 10; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 299.
 Ibn al-Humām, Fatḥ al-Qadīr, I, 530 ff.
 Al-Zuhaylī, ibid, II, 826.