|Eight Channels of Distributing Zakat|
|1. The Poor|
The poor are those in
need and cannot afford their basic needs.
According to the majority of jurists, the
poor are those who do not have any assets
and have no means through which they can
earn their living. However, the Hanafi
juristic school defined the poor as those
who have money lesser than the amount on
which Zakah is payable . The poor are worse
than the needy as regards satisfying their
basic needs. However, some scholars held the
Actually, this dispute in categorization has
no effect, since both the poor and the needy
are among the categories entitled to receive
The amount of Zakah given
to the poor should be sufficient for
covering their basic needs, including
eating, clothing and housing for one year.
The basic needs are to be determined
according to the prevalent customs in the
time and place in which Zakah is paid.
Among the categories
appended to the poor deserving Zakah, after
ascertaining that they have no sustainer,
determined either by legislation or by a
juridical verdict, are orphans, foundlings,
widows, divorced women, the aged and
decrepit people, the sick, the crippled,
those receiving low incomes, the students,
the unemployed and the families of the
jailed, and prisoners of war, as stipulated
in the regulations of Zakah distribution
channels of Kuwaiti Zakah House (article 4).
|2. The Needy|
According to the majority of
jurists, the needy are the people whose earnings
do not cover their basic needs. However, Abu
Hanifah defined them as 'those who have no
earnings at all.' They assume the same status of
the poor as regards Zakah. The Hanafi and Maliki
jurists consider them as deserving Zakah more
than the poor. However, the Hanbali and Shafi`i
jurists put forward the poor as more deserving
|3. Those Employed to
Administer Zakah |
This term stands for all
those serving in the field of collecting,
storing, guarding, registering and distributing
Zakah. They are appointed by the official bodies
or Islamic societies. They shoulder all Zakah
related activities including introducing the
regulations of Zakah as stipulated in the third
recommendation of the symposium held under the
auspices of the Kuwaiti Zakah House.
The existing societies and
commissions responsible for collecting Zakah
represent the old charity houses known in early
Islamic era. Therefore, such societies should
meet the conditions required for those
commissioned to administer Zakah.
The tasks entitled on the
administrators of Zakah may be authorized to
them by the State. The administrators of
Zakah should be male Muslims, honest, and
familiar with the juristic rulings
pertaining to Zakah. Other subsidiary tasks
may be performed by other persons such as
computer works, stores, maintenance of fixed
assets ... etc .
The administrators of
Zakah are to be paid from the portion of
Zakah dedicated to this purpose even though
they were not poor, keeping in mind that all
salaries and managerial costs should not
exceed one-eighth (12.50%) of the whole
collected amount of Zakah.
There should be no
tendency to increase employment, unless it
is necessary. It is preferable that the
employees in the field of administering
Zakah are paid by the state, so that the
other channels of Zakah may benefit from the
funds of Zakah.
Administrators of Zakah
are not allowed to receive presents or gifts
(given to them because of their post),
whether in kind or in cash.
The headquarters of the
Zakah institutions and administrations
should be equipped with all necessary tools,
equipment and furniture, which will be
financed from the funds of Zakah, unless
these are financed from sources such as the
public treasury, gifts or donations. Also,
they may be financed from the portion
dedicated to the administrators of Zakah,
provided that this equipment is necessary
for the process of collecting and
distributing Zakah, or leading to increase
in the resources of Zakah.
The committees of Zakah
should be monitored by the bodies that
appointed or licensed them, in a way which
follows the example of the Prophet (peace be
upon him). An administrator of Zakah is
regarded as a trustee over Zakah and, thus,
is held accountable for any damage or loss
that may result from misuse or negligence.
The workers in the field
of administering Zakah should foster the
good manners encouraged by Islam when
dealing with the payers and recipients of
Zakah, propagate the noble aims of Zakah,
and hasten to distribute it.
|4. Those Whose Hearts
are Made to Embrace Islam|
This is one of the eight
channels of distributing Zakah, which finds
a solid proof to support it in Islamic
legislation. The majority of jurists held
that this category has the right to receive
Zakah, even though they are not in need.
Among the most important
fields to which this portion of Zakah is
dedicated are the following:
- People expected to be Muslims who adopt
the Islamic moralities, but they are not yet
Muslims, or those who have the ability to
convince other people to embrace Islam.
- The influential bodies or individuals such
as leaders or presidents who can contribute
to improving the conditions of Muslim
communities and minorities abroad and
support their claims, or who can urge the
intellectuals to defend their cause. The
same applies to funds dedicated to improving
the image of Islam and Muslims through
assisting the afflicted non-Muslim areas.
- Those who have been Muslims for a period
less than a year and are in need of support,
not only financially but also morally, to
cope with their new conditions of life. This
can be realized through establishing social
and scientific institutions to provide them
with the appropriate climate.
There are some key points
that regulate spending from this portion of
Zakah, which must be taken into
- The spending in this channel should be
concomitant with and leading to the aims for
which Zakah is ordained.
- The spending in this channel should not
affect spending in the other channels of
- Spending in this channel of distribution
should be undertaken cautiously to avoid the
negative aspects that may be disadvantageous
to the cause of Islam or badly affect the
emotions of the people who have recently
technologies and methods should be applied
in collecting and distributing Zakah in a
way to guarantee achieving the aims of
Shari`ah in the best way possible.
|5. To Emancipate Slaves|
Since there are no slaves any
more, the portion of Zakah dedicated to setting
slaves free is to be shifted to the other
channels of distribution. However, some jurists
maintained that such funds should be allocated
for the Muslim prisoners of war.
|6. The Debtors |
This channel of distributing Zakah includes the
- A debt incurred to bring an
indispensable requirement, provided that:
1. The debt is not incurred to be spent in
2. The debtor is liable to imprisonment in
case he does not repay his debt.
3. The inability of the debtor to repay.
4. The debt falls due or is payable at the
time of receiving Zakah.
A debt incurred to
achieve social reform, such as the amounts
paid as blood money or compensation for
damages shouldered by a person to bring
about reconciliation between two or more
contesting parties. Such debtors would
receive Zakah, even though they are not in
A debt incurred as a
result of guaranteeing the repayment of a
debt owed by others, in case both the
guarantor and the debtor are incapable to
The indemnity incurred as a result of
manslaughter, provided that neither the
family of the accused nor the public
treasury is able to afford it.
However, no Zakah is paid for indemnity
incurred as a result of premeditated murder.
It is recommended to establish special funds
other than Zakah that aid those required to
pay indemnities resulting from traffic
|7. In the Cause of
In the wider sense, this
channel of distribution covers all methods of
promoting the Islamic faith, whether through
Jihad, propagating the enactment of the Islamic
legislation or defending Islam through the
intellectual confrontation against its opposing
|This channel of distribution includes the
activities to spread Islam and repel enemies
attacks against Muslim countries.
individual and collective efforts aiming at
spreading Islamic rule, establishing Islamic
law, and resisting plans to marginalize
Islam and its law.
Financing the Islamic
centers and mosques established in
non-Muslim countries, directed by faithful
men with the aim of adopting valid methods
to spread Islam in these countries.
Financing the serious
efforts exerted to support the Muslim
minorities under non-Muslim rule.
|8. The Wayfarer|
A wayfarer is a traveler
who has not enough money to return home. He has
a right to receive Zakah on the following
He should be in a country
other than his homeland. In case he is in
need inside his homeland, he will be treated
as poor or needy, but not a wayfarer.
He should have left his
homeland for a lawful purpose; otherwise
giving him money will support evil-doing.
He should suffer the lack
of money while traveling, even though he is
counted among the rich in his country. In
case he has money in the form of a deferred
debt, or a debt owed by someone who is not
there at the time of need, or an insolvent
person, or even by a person who denies the
debt, this wayfarer is entitled to receive