Who is The Zakat Given To (Maliki)

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Who can give zakat? Who can give alms?

Concerning the matter of who and where the zakat should be given, it is ordered in the Qur’an:

Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakat]and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam) and for freeing captives [or slaves]and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded]traveler – an obligation [imposed]by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”[1]

According to this ayah, these are the people who may receive the zakat:

  1. The poor: People who do not have enough food to eat for a year.
  2. The needy: People who do not own anything. These people are more in need than the poor.
  3. Those employed to collect the zakat: The zakat collectors that partcipate in every job concerning the collecting and distributing of the zakat, -even if these people are rich-they will be given a portion of the collected zakat in exchange for the job they have carried out.
  4. To Those People Whose Hearts will be Attracted to Islam: (Muallafa-i gulub): The zakat is given to the kafirs in the hope that they will become Muslim or it will be given to people who have newly become Muslim. This is so that their state of being a Muslim is strengthened.
  5. Slaves (Captives) : The zakat may be given to Muslim slaves with the purpose of helping to free them.
  6. The Indebted: People who can not pay off their debts when the time has come for them to pay them. It is required for this debt to not be made for the purpose of carrying out a bad job.
  7. Those Who are on The Path of Allah: These people are the ones who prepare to participate in a war for Allah but are left behind because they could not meet their food, horse, weapon etc needs.
  8. Travellers (Those who are stranded on the road): Those who are left stranded on the road because their money has ran out during their journey and those people who can not reach their country/hometown.

In the categories above besides-those whose hearts will be attracted to Islam-, it is required for these people  to be free, Muslim and to not be of the Hashimi lineage.

It is not obligatory for the zakat to be distributed amongst these eight groups equally.  In the way that it is possible for the zakat to be given to one person, it can also be shared amongst a few people. The best thing to do on this matter is to meet the basic needs of one poor person and to save them from their helpless situation. With the zakat, a destitute person who has trouble meeting their needs may be saved from paying rent and can be made a home owner.

[1] Surat At-Tawbah, Ayah 60

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Maliki School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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