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Search Fatawaa

Subject : Charitable Organization Functioning as a Proxy for the Collection of Zakaah Funds

Fatwa Number : 2815

Date : 30-07-2013

Classified : Zakat Distribution Channels

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

I work as a director of a charity organization with a salary of 800 dinars, based on a prior contract, and now the administration wants to change its agreement with me. They want to make my salary a percentage of the money that I collect from donors for the organization. Is this permissible from a religious point of view ? Is it permissible to pay from this money for some administrative expenses ,such as rent of the organization, location, coffee , tea and food for the family of a deceased person such as the son of the organization`s vice president ?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, prayers and peace be upon the Prophet of Allah.

Zakat disbursement channels are defined by God in : “Zakat expenditures are only for the poor, for the needy, for those employed to collect [zakat], and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam), and for freeing captives [or slaves], and for those in debt, and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler---an (Al-Tawbah Chapter 9)” . Workers employed to collect Zakat are the ones authorized by the ruler to collect and distribute Zakat they do not receive their salary from the state. They not allowed to take from the Zakat money, except an amount that equal their efforts and by the permission from ruler. Otherwise, they are not allowed to take other than that.

Charities are agents for the donors. The donations are deposited in banks, according to donors’ terms. They ( charities) are not allowed to take anything from Zakat funds, because they are not workers on Zakat ;rather, they are volunteers.Al-Imam An-Nawawi (God's mercy be upon him) said: "The Shafe'i and fellow scholars (may the mercy of God be upon them) said: If the one who distributes Zakat is the owner or his deputy then they are not considered workers, and the money must be distributed to the other seven categories defined by the above verse, or any of them" (Al-Majmou’ vol.6 pp.185).

If the donors didn’t define one or more recipients of the donations, then Zakat money is considered like Waqf(endowment) administrators ,caretakers and orphan sponsors who can manage the money according to benefit. They should not pay any sum except for a need. Al-Imam Shurbeeni (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said: “The administrator has no right to act except for a need and must observe caution because he is in charge of the well being of others—thus similar to the care taker of orphans” [Mughni Almuhtaj, vol.10 pp.180].

Accordingly, it is not permissible for the above director to take a percentage the collected sum because the money is donated to charity. It is allowed for him to receive a defined salary in accordance with the regulations of charitable organizations, and not from the Zakat money. It is not allowed for charitable organizations to take from Zakat money at all. They can neither pay for salaries nor any other expenses, such as building an office for the organization, or buying coffee, tea or any of the like. Whatever has been taken in this way must be guaranteed and paid back to one the above channels. They can, however, use money from donations other than Zakat money with the permission of the donors.

Buying food for the family of those who die—relatives of officials—is not permissible. This is eating up other people's money unjustly and unlawfully, and the money spent as such must be repaid.

The organization administrators must act according to the common benefit and what is best for the donors, the poor and the needy. They must fear Allah in what they are made responsible for. They will be asked in the hereafter, about these donations and how they were spent them. Allah, The Al-Mighty, Says (what means) : “And stop them; indeed, they are to be questioned" [Al-Safaat /37] .And Allah knows best.



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