Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Zakaat expenditures are only for the poor and the needy and for those employed to collect (zakaat) and for bringing hearts together for Islam, and for freeing captives (or slaves) and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the (stranded) traveler – an obligation (imposed) by Allah and Allah is All-Knowing and Wise.”(TMQ-9:60).
This verse enlightens us about those people who deserve to get compulsory charity/zakaat. In this verse eight categories have been mentioned which deserve zakaat. Besides these eight categories, paying zakaat to anyone else is unlawful. Here is a description of the above mentioned eight categories:
& 2) The first and second groups of people who deserve zakaat are of the beggars and the needy. The words beggars and needy are almost synonymous and these two can be used interchangeably. The common factor between both these words is that they are used to describe those people who do not have enough resources to fulfill their needs. Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Apostle said, “Miskin is not the one who goes around begging for one or two morsels or for one or two dates but Miskin is the one who abstains from begging. Then Allah’s Apostle (swt) gave the reference of verse no. 2:273”. (Sahih Muslim). So a miskin can be described as a person who does not have enough resources to make him independent; nor is he a person who pretends to be needy so that people may sympathize with him and give him charity. Unlike the beggar a miskin is may be deprived but he does not beg for alms due to his self-respect.
3).The third group that deserves zakaat is of the Amileen or the government officials who are in charge of collecting, distribution and the accounts keeping of Zakaat.
4) The fourth group that deserves zakaat is of the non-believers who are inclined towards accepting Islam and there is a hope that if they are offered Zakaat, they will embrace Islam. This group also includes the new Muslim converts to whom paying zakaat is essential to keep them loyal to Islam. This group also includes those people regarding whom there is a hope that if they are given zakaat then they will stop their neighbors from attacking the Muslims, thereby protecting them.
5) The fifth category that deserves zakaat is of freeing slaves.
6) The sixth group that deserves zakaat is of those people who have taken debt in order to support their families and they neither have any cash nor kind by which they can repay their debt. This group also includes such people who have suffered a huge loss in trade or their crops might have got destroyed due to which they had to take debt.
7).The seventh group of people that deserves zakaat is those who struggle in the Way of Allah (swt) to eliminate kufr. The expenditure that occurs in this struggle may include weapons, traveling expenditures and other equipment. These expenditures should be met through the Zakaat Fund, irrespective of the fact, whether the people involved in this struggle are rich or poor.
8). Finally, the eighth group of people who deserve zakaat are those travelers who may be quite affluent but they may fall short of money during their journey. Such needy travelers can also be paid Zakaat.
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