Can Zakat Be Given To Charity?

Can Zakat Be Given To Charity?

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. This is the best way that we, as Muslims, can help someone in need without them even asking. The importance of zakat can be judged from the hadith:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mu’awiyah al-Ghadiri:

AbuDawud said: I read in a document possessed by Abdullah ibn Salim at Hims: Abdullah ibn Mu’awiyah al-Ghadiri reported the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: He who performs three things will have the taste of the faith. (They are:) One who worships Allah alone and one believes that there is no god but Allah; and one who pays the zakat on his property agreeably every year. One should not give an aged animal, nor one suffering from itch or ailing, and one most condemned, but one should give animals of medium quality, for Allah did not demand from you the best of your animals, nor did He command you to give the animals of worst quality.

Abu Dawood, Book 3, Number 1577

The question here is if we can Donate Zakat be given to a charitable organization or not? Before we answer that, let’s see what Quran and hadith say.

Allah SW says in Quran:

Zakat belongs only to the poor, those short of money, zakat workers, those whose hearts are to be reconciled, slaves who are purchasing their freedom, those in debt, those fighting for God, and stranded travelers.

(Quran, 9:60)

Narrated Ziyad ibn al-Harith as-Suda’i:

I came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and swore allegiance to him, and after telling a long story he said: Then a man came to him and said: Give me some of the sadaqah (alms). The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah is not pleased with a Prophet’s or anyone else’s decision about sadaqat till He has given a decision about them Himself. He has divided those entitled to them into eight categories, so if you come within those categories, I shall give you what you desire.

Abu Dawood, Book 3, Number 1626

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Have you noticed what is common is the verse and hadith? That there are eight categories for which zakat is allowed. And a charitable organization, no matter how good or Islamic it is, does not fall under these categories. So no, you cannot give zakat to a charitable organization.

Some scholars argue that even though it is not allowed to give zakat to such institutes, you can still appoint someone to distribute zakat on your behalf to a needy person. But there are three glaring problems right of the bat.

First is that you do not know if the charity is given to deserving people or not. The thing is, the organization has to distribute the zakat exactly as it is mentioned in the Law & Sharia. If not, then that organization is not capable by religious standards to distribute zakat to anyone.

Second is the fact that it is not allowed to pay of the zakat over a period of time. In fact, once you are become eligible and fulfill all conditions, you have to give that zakat immediately. We are not allowed to keep zakat longer than what is necessary.

And last is that no matter how good they are, you do not have any concrete evidence that the organization is giving the zakat to the deserving people, but are in fact using for themselves. Now that money is either being pocketed due to someone’s greed or the charity itself needing to run its daily operations, we might never know. So again, you really don’t know if the zakat is given to the people belonging in the above mentioned categories or not.

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In conclusion, it’s much better if you give zakat yourself. And there is no doubt that you can find someone deserving of it around you. A friend, traveler, neighbor, relative or a coworker, there is no shortage of people who need your help. In the end, the only thing that we can say is that it’s technically not allowed, but if you still want to give zakat to a charity, make sure that they do give zakat to someone who is eligible for it, still, keep in mind, it;’ better if you do it yourself.

 

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