ANSWER: The Beneficiaries of Zakat
The Holy Quran (Surah At-taubah:60) classifies the due recipients of zakat under the following eight (8)categories.
“Zakat (Alms) are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by God, and Godis full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Q9;60)
- The poor (Faqir/Fuqara): Those without any means of livelihood and material possessions.
- The needy (Miskeen);Those without sufficient means of livelihood to meet their basic necessities. For
- The administrators of zakat (Amil); Those appointed to manage and administer zakat. This category is sub-divided into the following categories: Group of people who go out to the society and determine those who fall Fuqara and Miskeen categories, Those who collect the Zakat money, The accountant of the Zakat money., The administrator, manager, clerical worker or secretary who puts the files in order, Those who handle Zakat distributions, The auditor who audits overall Zakat management and administration.
- The sympathizers (Muallaf-at-Quloobuhum); Those whose hearts are inclined towards or have accepted Islam.
- To free slaves (Riqab); Zakat can also be used to free slaves or captives.
- Those who are in debt (Gharimin); Zakat can be used to pay off the debts of a person who has borrowed to pay for basic necessities so that he/she can lead a normal life. Zakat can also be distributed to those in financial difficulties e.g. bankruptcy due to the loss of employment and heavy debt.
- For the cause of God (Fisabillillah); Zakat can be used to finance any form of struggle or work for the love of God. The following examples fall under this category, e.g. Da’wah; building & developing society’s infrastructure; defending Muslims, who are being oppressed, and sponsoring a student’s educational expenses.
- Those who are stranded during a journey (Ibnus Sabil); Zakat can also be used to help a traveler facing difficulties in continuing his journey due to reasons such as loss of money or the breakdown of his vehicles, the repair of which he cannot afford.