Subject : Ruling on Stipulating that Recipient of Zakah Spends it in a Certain Channel
Fatwa Number : 3586
Date : 25-08-2020
Classified : Zakat Distribution Channels
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

As giver of Zakah, is it permissible for me to stipulate that the recipient of Zakah spends it in a certain channel?

The Answer :

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

There are eight categories on which Zakah must be spent, which Allaah has explained clearly. He states that this is a duty imposed by Him and that it is based on knowledge and wisdom. Allah, may He be exalted, says {What means}: "Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom." [Al-Tawbah, 60].

As Zakat is a right for its eligible recipient and must be handed to him/her, then the giver has no right to stipulate in which channel the recipient should spend it.  It is stated in the book Asna Al-Matalib Shareh Rawdat At-Talib, V.1:P.393: "Alms are for the poor" {At-Tawbah, 60}. The Arabic letter (لل) in the word (للفقراء) indicates that Zakah must be handed to these four categories (The poor, the needy, those employed to administer the funds and those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to truth) since this letter indicates possession. Whereas, the next four categories (for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer) are preceded by the Arabic preposition {في}, indicates that these four must give that Zakah back to giver in case they didn`t spend it in the purpose for which it was given to them in the first place. For example, "for those in bondage" indicates that a slave must use this Zakah to buy his freedom or else he must give it back to the giver. The same is true for the remaining three categories.

If the giver of the Zakah stipulated that the poor spends it in a certain channel and the latter accepted, then this condition is considered null and the poor isn`t obliged to fulfill it.

This issue is similar to what An-Nawawi had mentioned in his book [Al-Majmou` Shareh Al-Mohath-thab, V.7:P.255]. He said: "If an indebted person told a creditor "Pay me the Zakah of your money so that I give it back to you as settlement of debt" and he did, then this avails the creditor and the Zakah becomes in the possession of the indebted. However, the indebted isn`t obliged to give that Zakah back to the creditor as settlement of debt, but if he did then it avails him. In addition, if the creditor said to the indebted: "Pay off the debt and I will give that amount back to you as Zakah" and he did, then it avails the indebted and he isn`t obliged to give that amount back to the creditor. This is as agreed by the Shafie scholars.

In conclusion, the poor who had received Zakah isn`t obliged to spend it according to the stipulation of the giver for he/she may spend it the way he/she sees fit. And Allah the Almighty knows best.





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