Who is entitled to receive Zakaah?
1. The person who possesses the nisaab of either gold or silver, or trade goods which equal the nisaab of either gold or silver is regarded as a rich person in the Shariah. It is not permissible to give Zakaah money to him. Nor is it permissible for him to accept or consume Zakaah money. Similarly, the person who has belongings which are not for the purposes of trade but are over and above his basic needs, is also considered to be a rich person. It is not ermissible to give Zakaah money to such a person as well. Furthermore, although he is regarded as a rich person, Zakaah is not wajib on him.
2. The person who has very little wealth or has no wealth at all to the extent that he does not have sufficient food for one day is regarded as a poor person. It is permissible to give Zakaah to such a person. It is also permissible for him to accept Zakaah money.
3. Large utensils, expensive carpets, etc. which are very occasionally used in weddings and other functions are not regarded as necessary items.
4. The following things are regarded as necessities of life: a house to stay in, clothes that are worn, slaves for domestic purposes, and furniture that is in use. If a person possesses these things, he will not be regarded as a rich person irrespective of the value of these items. It is therefore permissible to give Zakaah to such a person. In the same way, the books and other essentials of a learned person are also included among the necessities of life.
5. A person owns several properties from which he receives rent. The income of these properties is used to run his own home. Alternatively, a person possesses a few cows from which he receives a certain amount of income. Despite this, he has a very large number of dependents whereby he cannot live a comfortable life and always finds himself in difficulties. Nor does he have any wealth upon which Zakaah could be wajib. It is therefore permissible to give Zakaah to such a person as well.
6. A person has R1000 in cash with him. However, he is also in debt for an amount of over a thousand rands. It is permissible to give him Zakaah as well. However, if his debt is less than R1000, then this amount that he is owing will be subtracted from the cash that he possesses. Thereafter we will have to see whether the balance that he has is more than the nisaab of Zakaah or less than it. If the balance is more than the nisaab, Zakaah cannot be given to him. But if it is less, then Zakaah can be given to him.
7. A person may be a very rich person at home. However, while on a journey, all his money got stolen or exhausted in some other way to such an extent that he does not even have sufficient funds to reach his eventual destination. It will be permissible to give Zakaah to such a person. Similarly, a person who is travelling for hajj and who may be a rich person can also be given Zakaah money if all his money gets spent.
8. Zakaah cannot be given to a non Muslim. It will have to be given to a Muslim. All forms of charity can be given to a non Muslim except the following: Zakaah, ushr, sadaqatul fitr, nazr, and kaffarah.
9. Zakaah funds cannot be used for the building of a musjid, for the shrouding and burial of a deceased person, for the payment of debts on behalf of a deceased person, or for any other noble purpose. As long as Zakaah is not given to the rightful person, it will not be considered to be fulfilled.
10.Zakaah cannot be given to one’s ascendents. That is, to one’s parents, maternal and paternal grand-parents and even great grand-parents. In the same way, Zakaah cannot be given to one’s descendants. That is, to one’s children, grand-children, great grand-children, etc. In the same way, the husband and wife cannot give Zakaah to each other.
11.Apart from the above mentioned, it is permissible to give Zakaah to all other relatives such as one’s brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, maternal and paternal uncles and aunts, step father or step mother, step grandfather, father-in-law, mother-in-law, etc.
12.It is not permissible to give Zakaah to immature children if their father is rich. If the children are mature and poor, but their father is rich, it will be permissible to give Zakaah to them.
13.If the father of an immature child is not rich but the mother is, it will be permissible to give Zakaah to that child.
14.It is not permissible to give Zakaah to the progeny of Faatimah radiyallahu anha, the progeny of Ali radiyallahu anhu, Abbas radiyallahu anhu, Ja’far radiyallahu anhu, Aqeel radiyallahu anhu, Harith bin Abdul Muttalib radiyallahu anhu. Similarly, the charities which have been made wajib by the Shariah cannot be given to the progeny of the above Sahabah. Such charities are, nazr, kaffarah, ushr, sadaqatul fitr. Apart from these, all other charities can be given to them.
15.It is permissible to give Zakaah to one’s Muslim servants, workers, employees, etc. However, this Zakaah should not be included in their wages or salaries. Instead, it should be given separately as a gift. At the time of giving this gift to them, one should have the intention in his heart that he is giving Zakaah.
16.It is permissible to give Zakaah to one’s foster mother and foster children.
17. The mahr of a woman was fixed at R1000. However, the husband cannot fulfill this due to poverty. It will be permissible to give Zakaah to such a woman. It will also be permissible to give Zakaah to her if her husband is rich but refuses to give, or if she has absolved him from giving the mahr. If the woman knows that if she had to ask her husband for her mahr, he will give it to her without hesitation, it will not be permissible to give Zakaah to her.
18.A person gave Zakaah to another person thinking that he is poor. Later, he learnt that this person was rich or he was a sayyid. Alternatively, he gave it to someone on a dark night and later realized that the person to whom he had given the Zakaah was actually his mother or daughter, or any other relative to whom Zakaah is not permissible. In all these cases, Zakaah will be considered to be fulfilled and there will be no need to repeat the payment of Zakaah. However, if the person to whom the Zakaah was given learns that this was actually Zakaah money and that he is not eligible to receive Zakaah, he should return the Zakaah money. If the person who gave the Zakaah learns that the person to whom he had given the Zakaah was actually a kaafir, he will have to give Zakaah again.
19.A person has a doubt as to whether a certain person is rich or poor. Zakaah should not be given to him until it has been ascertained whether he is eligible to receive Zakaah or not. If Zakaah is given to him without ascertaining his financial position, the person should check with his heart and see to which side his heart is more inclined. If his heart tells him that the person is poor, Zakaah will be fulfilled. If his heart tells him that the person is rich, Zakaah will not be fulfilled and will therefore have to be repeated. But if he establishes the fact that he is indeed a poor person after having given the Zakaah to him, then he does not have to give the Zakaah again.
20.At the time of giving Zakaah and all other forms of charity, one should first take one’s relatives into consideration. However, when giving them this Zakaah, they should not be told that it is Zakaah so that they do not feel offended. It is mentioned in the Hadith that by giving charity to one’s relatives one receives a double reward – one reward for giving charity, and one for showing kindness to one’s relatives. After giving the relatives, if there is any remainder, it should be given to outsiders. 21.It is makruh to send the Zakaah of one place to another place. However, it will not be makruh to do so in the following instances: (1) if one’s poor relatives live at another place, (2) the inhabitants of that place are more deserving than the inhabitants of this place, (3) the inhabitants of that place are more involved in deeni activities. There is great reward in sending Zakaah to students of Deen and pious Ulama.