Utilization of Zakat
1933. Zakat can be spent for the following purposes:
(i) It may be given to a poor, or a destitute person, who does not possess sufficient means to meet his own expenses as well as those of the members of his family for a period of one year. However, a person who knows some art or possesses property or capital to meet his expenses is not a poor person.
(ii) It may be paid to a miskeen (a destitute person) who leads a harder life than a Fakir (a poor person).
(iii) It may be given to a person who has been appointed by the Holy Imam or his representative to collect Zakat, to keep it in safe custody, to maintain its accounts and to deliver it to the Imam or his representative or the indigent.
(iv) It may be given to those non-muslims who may be inclined to Islam, or may assist the Muslims with the Zakat money in fighting against the enemies.
(v) It may be spent to purchase the slaves who may be faced with difficulties and to set them free.
(vi) It may be given to an indebted person who cannot repay his debt.
(vii) It may be spent in the cause of Allah i.e. for things which are done to seek Divine pleasure for example to construct a masjid, or a school for religious education, or to keep the city clean, or to widen or solidify the roads.
(viii) It may be given to a penniless traveller. Orders relating to these are narrated in the following articles:
1934. The obligatory precaution is that a poor and destitute person should not take out of Zakat more than his own expenses and those of the members of his family for one year. And if he possess some money or commodity he should take out of Zakat only an amount equivalent to what he actually needs to meet his expenses for the year.
1935. If a person has enough amount to meet his expenses for a year and he spends something out of it and doubts whether or not the remaining amount will be sufficient to meet his expenses for one year, he cannot take Zakat.
1936. An artisan, a landowner or a merchant whose income is less than his expenses for one year can take Zakat to meet his needs for the rest of the year and it is not necessary for him to meet his expenses by disposing of his tools, property or capital.
1937. A poor person who has no means to meet his own expenses and those of the members or his family for one year, can take Zakat, even though he may own a house in which he lives, or may possesses a means of transport without which he cannot lead his life, although it may be to maintain his self respect. And the same rule applies to household equipment and utensils and dress for summer and winter and other things needed by him (i.e. he can take Zakat even if he possesses these things). And if a poor person does not have these things he can purchase them out of Zakat if he needs them.
1938. If it is not difficult for a poor person to learn an art, he should, on the basis of obligatory precaution, learn it and should not depend on Zakat. However, he can take Zakat so long as he is learning the art.
1939. If a person was poor previously. or if it is not known whether or not he was poor, but he says that he is poor, Zakat can be given to him although the person giving Zakat may not be satisfied with what he says.
1940. If a person says that he is poor and he was not poor previously, and if one is not satisfied with what he says, the obligatory precaution is that Zakat should not be given to him.
1941. If a Zakat giver is the creditor of a person he can adjust the debt against Zakat.
1942. If a pauper dies and his property is not as much as it may liquidate his debt, the creditor can adjust his claim against Zakat. And even in case his property is sufficient to clear his debt, and his heirs do not pay his debt, or the creditor cannot get back his money for some other reason, he can adjust the loan against Zakat.
1943. It is not necessary that, if a person gives something to a pauper on account of Zakat, he should tell him that it is Zakat. Rather, if the pauper feels ashamed of it, it is recommended that he should give him property with the intention of Zakat. but should not mention that it is Zakat.
1944. If a person gives Zakat to someone under the impression that he is a pauper and understands later that he was not a pauper or owing to his not knowing the relevant orders, gives Zakat to a person about whom he knows that he is not a pauper, it is not sufficient (i.e. Zakat has not been paid properly). Hence, if the thing which he gave to that person still exists, he should take it back from him, and give it to the person entitled to it. And in case that thing has perished, and the person, who took it, was aware that it was Zakat. the Zakat payer should take its substitute from him, and give it to the person entitled to it. And in case he was not aware that it was the Zakat property, nothing can be taken from him, and the person, who has to pay Zakat. should give it to the person entitled to it from his own property.
1945. A person who is a debtor and cannot repay his debt can take Zakat to repay it, though he may possess the means to meet his expenses for the year. However. it is necessary that he should not have spent the loan for some sinful purpose.
1946. If a man gives Zakat to someone, who is indebted and cannot repay his debt and understands later that he had spent the loan on sinful acts, and if that debtor is a pauper the man can adjust against Zakat what he has given him.
1947. If a person is a debtor and cannot repay his debt, although he is not pauper one can adjust against Zakat the amount which that person owes him.
1948. If the provisions for the journey of a traveler are exhausted, or his animal of riding is disabled and his journey is not a sinful one, and he cannot reach his destination by taking loan or selling something, he can take Zakat even though he may not be a poor person in his hometown. However, if he can procure the expenses of his journey at some other place by borrowing money or selling something, he can take only that quantity of Zakat, which may enable him to reach that place.
1949. If a person is stranded while journeying and takes Zakat and some quantity of Zakat remains unspent when he reaches his hometown, he should surrender it to the Religious Head and tell him that it is Zakat.
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