Assisting Financially Distressed Persons Affected by Recent Flooding From Zakah Funds
1. The Holy Quran has specified eight categories of eligible recipients of Zakah. Save for the collectors of Zakah, ( العاملين عليها) , the remaining seven categories are entitled to receive Zakah based on their genuine need, namely , that the individual poor and needy Muslim does not own surplus assets equal to nisaab, over and above his or her basic necessities, as at the Zakah valuation date.
2. The poor and needy Muslim is the first specified category. Another important category is the Al - Ghaarimeenالغارمين: namely , those eligible debtors who are burdened with debt, and who do not have the capacity or financial means to settle their debts. ( Qurtubi) هم الذين ركبهم الدين و لا وفاء عندهم به. ه
3. In the Hanafi school, the Ghaarimeen are defined as that eligible Muslim needy debtor who , after excluding his or her basic necessities, does not own surplus assets of any kind, equal to Nisaab. و لا يملك نصابا فاضلا عن دينه. الدرر المختار
4. Basic necessities, such as the value of a single residence, essential household furniture and effects, essential tools of trade, a servant, and a single motor vehicle , are not taken into account, in determining the eligibility of the recipient for Zakah, and are deemed for this purpose to be non - existent. لانه مشغول بحاجته الأصلية فاعتبر معدوما: اللباب
5. It is preferable to pay an eligible debtor instead of a poor Muslim , because the burdened debtor is deemed to be in greater need. الدفع للمديون أولى من الدفع للفقير الغير المديون لزيادة احتياجه : رد المحتار
6. It is important to note that although the payment of Zakah constitutes a spiritual and material purification for the Zakah - payer, the receipt thereof in the hands of the eligible recipient is absolutely pure and legitimate.( as a blessing from Allah )
7. It is useful to bear in mind the well known statement of Caliph Umar (ra) to the effect that Zakah should be used to empower the eligible Zakah recipients; . و قال عمر إذا أعطيتم فاغنوا ) كتاب الاموال
8. At the same time, it is a settled principle that it is not necessary to disclose to the eligible recipient that the source of the funds are Zakah.
9. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم stated that there are only three classes of persons who may ( out of genuine necessity) ask for Zakah : one category is that person who is affected by any kind of an epidemic or calamity, with the result that his property is destroyed; such affected person may ask until his or her needs are fulfilled.
ان المسالة لا تحل الا لثلاثة .........
و رجل اصابته جانحة فاجتاحت ماله فيسأل حتى يصيب قوامًا من عيش...
الجصاص: احكام القران.
10. .Imam Abu Hanifa(ra) has stated that it is permissible to distribute all the Zakah to recipients belonging to one specific category, based on the needs at the relevant time. اذا رأى ذالك بحسب الحاجة. A similar position has been adopted by Imam Malik(ra) , upon a purposive interpretation of the Zakah verses. ( Bidayah - al Mujtahid: Ibn Rushd).
ذهب جمهور العلماء الى انه لا يجب تعميم الزكاة على الاصناف…قال ابن عباس في صنف وضعته اجزاك.
11. It should be noted that a Muslim is disqualified from receiving Zakah if he or she owns surplus assets, over and above the basic necessities, equal to Nisaab.
12. We have a duty to assist non- Muslims with non - Zakah funds. The Holy Quran enjoins us to do good to them and to be just to them, as Allah loves those who are just. ( S 60 : V 8).
M S Omar
23 April 2022