Who is Eligible for Zakat?

A wealth of Zakat (zakaat, zakah) information is usually centered on how to pay Zakat and if someone has a right to pay Zakat.

Above all, it is important to consider who is eligible to receive Zakat. This is part of the legality of Zakat giving. Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is not a kind of Zakat. Sadaqah, unlike Zakat, can be given to anybody in need at any time.

Zakat is a compulsory form of charitable giving. Every Muslim who meets the eligibility requirements must pay Zakat. On an annual basis, the funds are re-distributed to the Muslim community.

Who can you give Zakat to?

There are eight elements that determine whether or not a person is qualified for Zakat. Therefore, Zakat beneficiaries are divided into eight groups. These are, as Allah (SWT) specifies in the Qur’an:

“Indeed, the prescribed charitable offerings are only to be given to the 1. The poor 2. The needy 3. To those who work on administering it 4. Those who have a reconciliation of heart (those who have embraced Islam or are inclined to it) 5. To free those in bondage 6. To the debt-ridden 7. For the cause of God 8. To the wayfarer This is an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise.”

Qur’an 9:60

In summary, these eight prescribed categories will help you in determining Zakat eligibility on an annual basis.

The receiver cannot be a member of your direct family. For example, if you follow the Hanafi and Hanbali madhaab, your husband, children, or parents. However, according to the Shafi and Maliki madhaabs, you can give Zakat to your immediate family. This is true as long as their upkeep is not your responsibility. However, your Zakat can be distributed to other relatives.

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