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Subject : The Difference between the Poor and the Needy from an Islamic Perspective

Fatwa Number : 3841

Date : 12-12-2023

Classified : Zakat Distribution Channels

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

Which type of the poor is eligible to receive Zakah (Obligatory charity)?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

As mentioned in the Noble Quran, there are eight categories eligible to receive Zakah. Allah the Almighty says {What means}: "The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise." {At-Tawba, 60}. Accordingly, the poor and the needy are eligible to receive Zakah.

The common factor between the 'Faqeer' (the poor) and the 'Miskeen' (the needy) is their state of need, but the degree of need varies for each category. The level of need is generally greater for the 'Faqeer' than for the 'Miskeen.' The 'Faqeer' is defined as someone who does not possess wealth or employment that generates sufficient income to meet their basic needs such as food, drink, clothing, medical care, and standard housing. On the other hand, the 'Miskeen' is characterized as someone who possesses some wealth or income but falls short of self-sufficiency.

Imam Al-Khatib Al-Sharbini, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "The 'Faqeer' is someone who has no wealth or earnings, and he is in complete need of everything, or the majority of things, due to his circumstances. The term 'needs' refers to what is sufficient for him in terms of food, clothing, shelter, and other essential needs, without extravagance or deprivation. If he has an illness preventing him from earning, or he cannot find employment, or he finds employment that is not suitable for him, or he cannot find lawful earnings, then he is considered 'Faqeer' ." [Mughni al-Muhtaj, Vol. 4/P.173].

He also stated in the same source (Mughni al-Muhtaj, Vol. 4/P.176): "The 'Miskeen' is someone who possesses a reasonable amount of wealth or earns a lawful income sufficient for his needs in terms of food, drink, clothing, and other necessities for himself and those whose support is obligatory upon him, as mentioned in the case of the 'Faqeer.' However, the money or income he has is not sufficient for him, such as someone who needs ten but can only find seven or eight."

In conclusion, what unites the 'Faqeer' and the 'Miskeen' is their state of need, but the need of the 'Faqeer' is more intense than that of the 'Miskeen.' However, both of them are among those who are eligible to receive Zakah. And Allah the Almighty knows best.



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