Opinion Editorials, March 2004, www.aljazeerah.info

 

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To Whom Zakah Should Be Paid

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 3/19/04

Q. Could you please explain to whom zakah should be paid, and how to distribute it among them?

K. Rehman

A. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by some people to give them some zakah money, he said to them: ďGod has not left the distribution of zakah to be determined even by a Prophet with a message or by an angel whose position is close to Him. He has ruled on it Himself, giving it to eight types of people. If you belong to any of them, I will give you; but if not, then you have no claim to any of it.Ē In saying so, the Prophet was referring to Verse 60 of Surah 9, which may be translated as follows: ďCharitable donations are only for the poor and the needy, and those who work in the administration of such donations, and those whose hearts are to be won over, for the freeing of people in bondage and debtors, and to further Godís cause, and for the traveler in need. This is a duty ordained by God, and God is All-knowing, Wise.Ē

This verse explains that zakah may be paid only to these people: the poor and the needy in order to improve their situation and let them have a comfortable standard of living; the zakah administrators so that the zakah institution should be self-financing; and those whom we would like to win their support of the Islamic cause. This group could be newcomers to Islam, or non-Muslims who are sympathetic to Islam.

Whether this group is to be paid from zakah or not depends on whether their support is needed or not, considering whether Islam is in a weak or strong position. In the case of these four groups, zakah is paid to them personally.

The other four groups are paid for a purpose, which means that we can ensure that the purpose is served, rather than the payment is paid to them directly. Thus, for the freeing of slaves, the Muslim government can buy the slaves and set them free, using zakah money.

In the case of an insolvent debtor, you could give your zakah to his creditors in repayment of his debts. Similarly, for a traveler in need, we could buy him a train or plane ticket to take him home. As for ďfurthering Godís causeĒ any action which is deemed to achieve that could be supported with zakah funds, particularly jihad, pilgrimage by people who are short of funds, education of children or adults, etc.

Forgiving and Forgetting

Q. I have an attitude where I am prepared to forgive anybody who have done some wrong to me without any reservations. But I am not prepared to forget the incident. As a result I keep these individuals at armís length even if it is my kith & kin.

(Name and address withheld)

A. When you forgive others for a wrong they have done you, you stand to earn rich reward from God. If the forgiveness is genuine, then this is all that you need to do. If you are wary in your future dealings with them, this may be a natural or a wise reaction to the wrong they had done you. However, you should not exaggerate the wrong they had done, or let this interfere with your forgiveness of their misdeed. Your forgiveness has to be genuine. As for future dealings, you decide the level of such dealings as suits you.

 

 

 

 
Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 

The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).

 

The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

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