How must zakat be given?
There are two fardhs for zakat:
1) To make intention at the time of giving the zakat. When giving goods to a poor person as zakat there is no need to express that it is zakat. As a matter of fact doing this is considered makruh as this may humiliate them.
2) To distribute the zakat goods to a place or somewhere close to the place where zakat is fardh.
If someone does not give the zakat goods to where zakat is fardh but gives it to someone who is not as needy, this zakat will not be considered valid. The thing that is given before the zakat year is finished or before zakat becomes fardh for the person, this will not take the place of the zakat. The zakat that is given in these situations will be considered invalid; if the zakat is not given to the person who has the right of the zakat, if the person gives the zakat to a person whom they are responsible for giving the nafaqa to, if the zakat for goods other than animals and crops are paid as goods not money, if goods that are meant to be paid as zakat are exchanged for different types of goods.
The goods that are given as zakat must not be low in quality. The goods must not be so old or of poor quality that they are unusable. If the goods that are going to be given as zakat do not benefit the poor person, in this case the value of the goods will be given.
The zakat must be given to the people who need it. The matter of who the zakat should be given to is openly specified in the Qur’an.
- The Muslim should only give the zakat and sadaqa for the sake of Allah, they should carry out this faridha without ‘’taunting’’ or ‘’tormenting’’ anyone. A khayr that is carried out by breaking hearts, degrading the poor, tormenting and taunting others has no value in the sight of Allah.
- A Muslim should not give goods that they would not like to receive to others as zakat and sadaqa.
- According to Hanafis it is better if zakat is given secretly so that the receiver is not humiliated and so that this act of generosity is not openly shown to everyone. However according to the Shafi’i and Hanbali mazhabs, it is more appropriate for the zakat to be given openly in order to encourage people to implement this ibadah. According to all faqihs, it is better to give voluntary payments, other than the zakat, in a secret manner. The Almighty Allah orders in this way:
“If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you, and He will remove from you some of your misdeeds [thereby]. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.”
- It is better for the person giving the zakat to not inform the poor person that the thing they are giving is zakat. Maliki faqihs have said “It is makruh for the giver of the zakat to say that it is zakat because this may break the poor person’s heart and hurt their pride’’.
- The zakat should be given without any delay when the right time has come for giving the zakat. A good/commodity in which its zakat has not been paid, will not be considered clean. This is why the person who delays giving the zakat without excuse will be considered a sinner.
- When the zakat and sadaqa is going to be given, the pretenders and the real poor people, poorness and the people who put up with their difficulties should be parted with one another. The person responsible for giving the zakat should research and find the people who fear Allah and do not tell of their needs to others because of their haya. When he finds these people he should give the zakat to them.
- It is more virtuous to give the zakat to relatives to whom the zakat is allowed to be given.
- The zakat should firstly be given to the poor who live in an area where goods are found. However if there are poor relatives or more needy people outside of that area, it may be preferred to send it to them.
- Dua should be made when giving and receiving the zakat. Almighty Allah orders in Surat At-Tawbah, Ayah 103 in this way while addressing Hazrat Muhammad:
“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah ‘s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing”. Obeying this order, Hazrat Muhammad made this dua to the person who brings the zakat “O Allah, bring barakat to so and so’s family”.
It is considered mandub to make this dua that Our Prophet-peace be upon him-made when giving zakat: “O Allah make this zakat beneficial for me, do not make it a debt that I have given involuntarily.”
- It is not a requirement for a Muslim to directly give their own zakat. They may nominate a trustworthy Muslim representative to carry out this faridha.
Some Maliki faqihs have seen the circumstance of giving the zakat through a representative as more appropriate because it helps to avoid the occurence of hypocrisy and being praised by others in this situation.
 Surat Baqarah, Ayah 271
 Bukhari, Zakat, 64