Zakat for Da’wah and Public Welfare Programs


In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty has mentioned 8 categories of people who can receive Zakah. Allah Almighty says: “Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (At-Tawbah :60)

The expression “in the cause of Allah” or fi Sabil Allah was generally interpreted “Jihad fi Sabil Allah” and so many jurists restricted this Zakah expense for this purpose.

Muslim jurists also say that in the Qur’an Allah used the word “Lil fuqara’ wa Al-masakin or ‘for the poor and the needy’ and the ‘lam’ or (for)” here means ‘tamlik’ or possession. Thus they interpret the above verse to mean that the poor and needy should be made owners of this money or Tamlik Al-Zakah.

Since in public and social welfare projects no one becomes the owner, so, according to their interpretation the Zakah should not be used for this purpose. Thus you will find in the books of Fiqh statements emphasizing that the money should not be used to build the Masajid, schools, hospitals, hostels etc. because this money belong to poor and it should be given to them. There are some jurists who still hold this strict opinion concerning Zakah.

However, there are a number of jurists of this century, such as Sheikh Muhammad ‘Abduh, Rashid Rida, Maulana Mawdudi, Amin Ahsan Islahi, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and some Fatwa organizations in Kuwait and Egypt, they are of the opinion that the phrase ‘in the cause of Allah’ covers a broad category. It is a general term and it should be applied in all those situations where there is a need to serve Islam and Muslims.

Those scholars consider it permissible to use the Zakah money to finance the Da’wah and public welfare programs. They say that the expression ‘for the poor and needy’ can also mean ‘for the benefit of the poor and needy’.

The modern jurists also argue that in the past Muslim governments used to build Mosques, schools and used to finance public welfare projects. Now many governments are negligent in this matter. Many Muslims are living in areas where there are no Muslim governments.

Furthermore the financial needs of the people have become so enormous and diverse that earlier rules and restrictions cannot be fully applied and may not be very useful in every place.

In his famous book Fiqh Az-Zakah, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has thoroughly discussed this subject. His Fatwa is that in non-Muslim countries it is permissible to use Zakah funds to build the Masajid, Schools and hospitals.

Muslims from all over the world go to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates etc. to solicit funds for the building of their Mosques and schools. Most of the business people in those countries give their Zakah for this purpose. Many people from all over the world use this money for building projects without any question.

Now, there are many people who come to North America to solicit funds for their Mosques and schools in some poor countries. American Muslims are also giving their Zakah to build Masajid and schools in other countries.

It is the concept of ‘fi Sabil Allah’ and helping the Islamic cause in many lands where it has made it possible to establish Islamic institutions and Mosques.

Zakah is basically for the poor and needy and most of it should be used to take care of their needs. I believe that for the Mosque constructions Muslims should make extra charity and should give from funds other than Zakah. However, it is not forbidden for Muslims to give their Zakah money for the building of Mosques and schools, especially in non-Muslim countries.

Islamic centers should have a separate Zakah fund. Those who do not want their Zakah to be used in building projects, should give their money to the Zakah fund. But those who want to give their Zakah for the Masjid construction they should donate directly to that project.”

Allah Almighty knows best.



By: muzammil siddiqi | Source: IslamiCity | Category: Americas, Articles, Faith, Featured | Topic: dawah (outreach), economy and finance, money, zakat | Views: 29,151 | Comments: 29

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29 Comments

  1. I do not think Zakat money should be used for MAsajis as they are a.k.a “Houses of Allah”

    Allah swt does not need our zakat for his House. No Zakat, No Begging and The house of

    Allah shall be made independent-with properties associated rental and donations,

    membership dues based on income of an individual or family or Businesses…

    We may donate to other projects associated with Masajids but nor House Of Allah-

    construction, remodeling, Bills etc

  2. Last chance to pay your Zakah or give Sadaqah fetching the highest reward 70 times more than usual days in the Month of Ramadan.This is only a reminder which is beneficial to Mumineen. Remember we can not get such opportunity until next year in Ramadan again if we are alive. Who knows whether we will be here in the(Duniya) or there in (Akhirah) the Hereafter. We have no guarantee but Allah is our Guarantor who guarantees multiplying manifold when you give Him loan in charity. May Allah give us the taufiq to rush to do good deeds in these last few days we have left in Ramadan.

  3. May Almighty Allah continue to strengthen our Muslim brother all over the world and to protect and guide those facing gamuts of persecution.

  4. The eight people mentioned by Allah (S.W.T)are the only group or categories that are entitled to be given Zakah or Sadaqah as clearly stated by Allah (S.W.T) who imposed this duty called Faridhatan minal Lah and Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. Lets recap and see exactly what Allah (S.W.T)the decider of Zakah says in His Book Surah Taubah Ayah Number 60 thus: Sadaqah(Zakat)are only for the fuqarah (poor) Masakin (the needy)Amilina alaiha (those employed to collect the funds)Wal Muallafatu Qulubuhum (to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined towards Islam)Wa Fir Riqab (To free the Captives) Wal Ghaarimina (and for those in debt) Wa Fi Sabilillah (And for Allah’s Cause) Wa Binis Sabil (And for the Wayfarer)(traveller cut off) A duty imposed by Allah and Allah is All-Knower All-Wise. It is very clear from this Verse of the Quran which Allah the All-Knower All-Wise imposed. Now to give Fatwah and use excuses to take Zakats money for other purposes Allah knows best in my opinion is unacceptable. The Prophet who was Leader and Fountain of Muttaqin never used Zakah for other purposes other than what Allah has instituted i.e to be given to those categories mentioned earlier and he never took it for his own personal use or his family this is why Zakat was made Haram to His Family. Masha Allah this typical example who should be emulated the greatest Mufti of the Old and the Modern.

  5. What we need is what i call Islamic Management. We have so many mosques where people who got to pray 5 times a day do not really understand the Quran and how it can be applied in their lives. We should use the money to support the disabled who in turn can be employed to build mosques and generate materials which are needed to educate the next generation. It is so sad to see so many doctors, engineers who have not basic understanding of Islam

  6. I think as far as Zakat is concerned it is very clearly mention who is the beneficient of it. We should not try to distort that.It is a very straight forward instructons from ALLah. We should not try to broaden it for the sake of arguing or influence of others. For building Mosque, Dawa etc.. Moslim are urged to provide Sadaka for this. That is why we have ZAKAT and SADDAQA. Allah knows best and if i’m wrong it is from me and I pray to Allah Subhana Wataala to forgive me and enlighten me towards the truth.

  7. I enjoyed this article. I totally do agree with this so much. I recommended this article to a recent revert. Hope it helps her, as much as it helped me. We had a class on the subject, and it was somewhat confusing. I asked my husband to help me out some. He actually told me about some of the things that was written here in this article. It was enlightning for me. We need more articles like this.

    Ramadan Mubarak to all

    Sister Fatimah

  8. I totaly understand, the concept of living in a non muslim country therefor, we should think about the welfare and the social economic of muslims here in these countries.I also believe that feeding a poor child with who has no parent and have nothing but allah is way important than building masjids and other institutions, especially in the 21st century where almost everyone is educated and has access to the internet, and can get most of his or her’s knowledge about their faith from the internet sources.

  9. Please no more mosques…empty shells…..

    Dr Edriss is right…before these fatwas can be issued on how we in the West should utilise our zakat…well then they should perhaps experience living here and gain a sense of the complexity that these communties face.

    I cant see how buildings warrant zakat…even if one takes the wide interpretation that has been presented. If you want to build communities: community halls, community health centres, community youth centers: its called those funded through the TAX DOLLAR so many of us pay and which govenernments want to give (Australia parcticularly). IT’s in everyone’s interest to build better communities…living in isolation is not exemplarly.

  10. the article is nice try to contribute to a subject in Islam. there is no proofs or strong links to the origine source of Islam, then you can not admit anything said or refuse it.

    I can speak for what I experienced here in USA, Zakat is not going where the Prophet Salla Allah Alaihe Wa sallam taught us. many people do things from their own mind and seek any weak hadith or so called scholar in Islam to twist it and make it fit their agenda.

    even those scholars like Qardawe has no clue about the reality of what’s happening behind the scene here in the name of Islam. most of them visit the west and spend 15 days to one month where they find someone taking care of their needs and they don’t even know who paid for their plane ticket: is it charity or just someone managing the moslems money in his way. it’s a big mess and it should have some honest people who speaks fluent english to come and work on putting people on the right track.

    this is the only matter in Islam that I see myself taking very extreme opinion on it. the money who is not used in the right way, attracts all kind of people and the masjid change from being a house of God to a house of interests.

    what I said above is what I withness in all the musjids I passed by. it’s like a culture spreading allover. if there are some people who do their best to do the right thing, I was not lucky to meet anyone of them.

    money destroyed churchs and synagogues and the satan doing the same to musjids, except those that Allah protects.

    this problems should be taken seriously. there are poor people who shy to claim themselves poor and there are musjids by them who has million dollars in banks that they use in the wrong way. A team of moslem scientists should study this problem and find better way to resolve it. sometimes the people who manage this charity organizations doesn’t have enough knowledge and experience to do the right thing. they end it doing what benefit them first.

  11. Alhamdu Lillahi-lazi Ihdaina lil-Islam.

    Islam is simple. Agreed you can define “fisabilil-Allah” in so many ways. But what we should consider is that there is prioritisation of events in this beautiful deen.

    If a zakkat “giver” use the money to build a giant mosque for five peoople or less to pray in it while there are thousands of poor people (HIS NEIGHBOURS) dying cos they couldn’t afford a small amount for their medicine or food, then surely that individual may not have any reward for that exercise.

    Therefore to be on the safer side I advise the zkkat giver to follow the order of those entitle to his money as stated by Allah in 9:60.

    Wallahu ‘alam.

  12. A masjid is built for the use of the poor to worship Allah(SWT) and for them to receive services at…then why zakat cannot be used for it?

    All the teachings of the Prophet aimed at making sense in a muslim’s life…the this one must make sense too.

    Assalam alaikum

  13. The items on which Zakat is to be paid has changed over time so why not its usage. Jihad and conversion to Islam which were the main uses of the funds in the early days is now irrelevant, so new causes for the common good need to be added

  14. Assalam alaykum,

    In my own opino too I share the view that it can be used for dawah, building etc.

    This is because those things are directly or indirectly use for the said people in Surah At Taobah.

    Also, one could see some examples of such funds as use by the first four Khalif (RTA) particularly Umar and later by Umar bn AbdulAzeez.

    So these ae enough evidences for its use and I belief anybody of opposite view is just being miopic in his / her view; particularly the modern trend of things as it was expanding durin Khliph Umar.

    Allah know best

    Wasalam Alaykum

  15. I disapprove of the way you presented the issue of Zakat for several valid reasons which I will mention a few of them.

    First, you indicated at the beginning of your reply that (The expression “in the cause of Allah” or fi Sabil Allah was generally interpreted “Jihad fi Sabil Allah” and so many jurists restricted this Zakah expense for this purpose), but you failed to mention who were those Muslim Jurists.

    Moreover, you failed to mention that those Muslim jurists were from the four famous schools of jurisprudence (Shafiiyy, Hanafiyy, Malikiyy, and Hanbaliyy)and that they had a concensus amongt them on this particular issue.

    Second, in your “However” statement, you intentionally mentioned the names of some people that apparently you consider “jurists of this century”??,”modern jurists”???, where they claim that (they are of the opinion that the phrase ‘in the cause of Allah’ covers a broad category and it should not be restricted to Jihad only). It is very interesting to ask why you failed to name the Muslim Jurists in the first argument and that they had a concensus on this matter, and you succeeded in mentioning the names of others so called “jurists of this century”?? that carried the opposing view and broke the “scholarly concensus” of the four schools of jurisprudence.

    Finally, at the end of your article, it is clear that you vascillate on the issue by taking what you might consider a middle position. In reality it is a poor attempt from you to keep whatever is left of people in your community around you from rebelling against you.

    Among the job of a Muslim scholar is to say the truth whatever it takes. He is obligated to comply with the Qur’an, Hadith, and scholarly concensus. On this particular issue, my advice to you is to stay within the bounds of the religion and not seek interpretations that might suite only a specific group of people or organizations.

  16. May Allah guide and forgive those who change His ahkam (rulings). Alhamdulilah for the scholars of this deen who have preserved it for us as it was sent to our Noble Prophet. The point of zakah is clear. I fear for the Masjids that are built upon funds that should have gone to the poor. I don’t want to get into the details of fiqh, but none of the “scholars” mentioned are mujtahids in any school of thought. Again, zakah is for the poor and needy; not so that our communities can build bigger and higher masjids that are empty during most of the prayers. This is not my opinion, this is what all four schools of thought, what thousands and thousands of highly skilled truly pious scholars (the sahaba among them) have said and continue to say. May Allah ta’ala guide us all.

  17. assalam

    if aperson is a widower she has 150grms of gold/little silver but no earning to give zakat —–but she has son does he should pay her zakat ?

    *sayed family can take zakat?

    *a person who gives zakat can take zakat?

    please reply as soon as possible

  18. According to all the 4 schools of fiqh, zakat CANNOT be given to an Islamic Educational Institute as a receiver, because that does not constitute transferring ownership to a legally-poor person, which is a condition for the validity of one’s zakat payment.

    1)NON of the 4 schools of Fiqh permit zakat money to be used for masjids.

    2)The scholars mentioned in the article are NOT full scholars. Islahi never graduated from any institute. Maududi never graduated from any institute. Self proclaimed scholars. Qaradawi has a book titled halal and HARAM in islam. Should be changed to HALAL AND HALAL in islam because everything is ok to him. The other scholars I have NEVER heard of!

    3)Just because governments are not doing their job does not entail that we take the money of the poor!

    4)How does the writer know that those Muslims in arab lands who donate money, donate from zakat?That is a wrong generalization! He says MOST! Astaghfirullah!

    5)Those who come here to collect from POOR countries do NOT use zakat money for masjids! False accusation! However, there are some institutes which accept zakat donations and act as an agent on behalf of the payer or the poor student. They hand it over into the possession of the poor student after which the student pays the amount as his tuition back to the Islamic Institution. Now they are able to use it as they feel necessary.

    6)Muslims in the west are too absorbed in their houses and cars! They are rich enough to build masjids. There are 15,000 muslim doctors in america! We donot need million dollar masjids built from zakah money! The expensive masjids are full of fights and arguments anyway because everybody wants to be the president!

    7)The view of the writer is a product of the last century! Held by VERY FEW. It is wrong of him to state that.. “There are some jurists who still hold this strict opinion concerning Zakah.” His view is held by VERY FEW!

    8)BEWARE WHO YOU TAKE YOUR RELIGION FROM!

    PEACE

    SA

  19. Maulana Mawdudi, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and others that Dr. Siddiqui has mentioned are well-respected scholars and if they have given an opinion I will respect it as an option that people can follow.

    On other aspects of the issue of Zakat there is disagreement among the schools of Islamic fiq. Imam Jafar considered it compulsory to pay 20% from the profit of trade as Zakat, while the other schools prescribe 2 %. The same applies to minerals, of which Imam Hanafi, Jafar and Hanbal prescribe 20% and Imam Shafi and Malik prescribe 2 %. Now there is a big difference between 20% and 2 %. So who are we going to label as trying to devour the right of the poor.

    The Prophet said “In difference is a mercy” which has been a guiding principal for scholars.

    If someone does not feel comfortable with the opinion given by Dr. Siddiqui and wants to give Zakat only for fe sabilillah i.e. directly in the hands of the poor then he or she should make every effort to do so and may Allah reward them for it. But people who feel they want to follow the above opinion also have a right to follow what they think is right without being ridiculed.

    Once Prophet Muhammad (sas) sent a group of people to a far away town and gave them instructions that they should pray Asr when they get to that town. Before they could reach the town the time of Asr came and some people decided to do their prayers in violation of the directive of the Prophet and some decided to wait until they got to the town even if they missed the Asr time. When they came back to Madinah, they asked the prophet who was right and the Prophet replied both were right.

    The lesson we need to learn from this is that as long as we have gone through a SINCERE due process of evaluating an issue, Allah the All Merciful will judge our actions based on our intention.

  20. 1am a deaf muslim and leader of tdmc

    meanig; tanzania deaf muslim community

    we reguest for finacial for surpport

    our cmmunity tdmc lack due zakat for

    help muslim peoples.

  21. What is the basis for islamic rulings being different in a non-muslim country and in a (so-called) muslim country? Is this position corroborated by any relevant ayah or hadith?

  22. As for the modern opinions on Zakat and giving it to projects for Da’wah (that are only now being produced), they are incorrect as shown by the scholars of our Ummah. We cannot take all sorts of opinions from personalities that emerged who sought to re-form Islamic Jurisprudence by claiming to be Mujtahid, such as Jamal ul-Din al-Afghani, Rashid Rida, and Muhammad Abduh of the movement that was known as the “Salafiyya” movement. For those who are unaware of this history, these personalities (May Allah forgive them and have mercy on them) were leaders of a reactionary movement (in response to Western Colonialism) who held opinions that the Ummah needed reform through giving up the following of authoritative scholarship and returning to independent reasoning and self-interpretation. For this reason, many of their legal opinions are aberrant (Shadh) and cannot be followed, when going against the majority of the Jurists. In any case, it’s important for us all to know the position of the Fuqaha (Jurists) and act accordingly. This is sincere advice for myself and anyone reading this.

    Please go to Islamicity Discussion Board under the General Discussions (you will need to log in). There , please select topic “Zakaat for Poor ONLY!!!”. You will find detailed answers to:

    Zakat: The Meaning of ‘In the Way of Allah’

    Can Zakat be paid to build mosques, schools, hospitals and other ways of good?

    We make dua that Allah guide us and protect us from evil.

    P.S. to:

    Ibn Hanbal, I have taken your writing to post in this comments section because I feel it is a good explanation, which some of us lay-men can’t produce.

  23. Assalamu alaikum,

    An uninformed reader who reads Dr. Siddiqi’s article, and particularly his statement that “there are SOME jurists who STILL hold this strict opinion concerning Zakah” [emphasis added], may erroneously conclude that those who hold the above opinion are (1) in the minority and (2) generally dead. I do not claim that the author intended to communicate those two messages, but I do know that neither is true.

    Actually, the clear majority of reputable scholars, past and present are agreed that, as Dr. Siddiqi writes in this article, “[the] poor and needy should be made owners of this [zakat] money” and that “the expression ‘in the cause of Allah’ or fi Sabil Allah [is] generally interpreted as ‘Jihad fi Sabil Allah'”.

    So the reader of Dr. Siddiqi’s article should be clear that the opinion of those few scholars and the various “Fatwa organizations in Kuwait and Egypt” cited by Dr. Siddiqi is the minority opinion, the exceptional ruling, today and in the past.

    Additionally, each of these scholars and the various organizations that Dr. Siddiqi cites have been criticised to various degrees by other scholars no less notable, and far greater in number, than they.

    All would agree, no doubt, that the proper fulfillment of the duty of zakat is no light matter.

    “O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. announce unto them a most grievous penalty.” (Surah Tawba, 34)

  24. Correct me if i’m wrong but Allah SWT mentioned that zakat is for the needy and poor first so they should be put in the first priority,however fisbillah in my view is a broad topic as Jihad too is a broad topic.However money can’t be used for those who are fighting with their hawa nafsu,Or inner self but when during the war or Qitallufisabililah this money can also be used,there are many types of fisabillilah in the Quran Allah SWT said “and make a great Jihad with it(Al Quran)”Here we see that Jihad not only cover the Struggle of the individual by fighting his nafsu or the struggle of Islam in defending itself but Jihad covers missionary works also therefore i conclude that the zakat funs can be used for building Islamic institutions for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah and for Da’wa.Assalamualaikuw Warahmatullahhi wabaraatuh

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