• Question:

    Is it true Zakat can only be given to Muslims?

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    The jamhoor (vast majority of Islamic scholars) state that it is not permissible to give zakaat al amwaal (mandatory charity of wealth) to non-Muslims.

    Ibn Al Mundhir declares that the Muslim ummah (community) is of consensus that it is not permissible to give zakaat al amwaal to the disbeliever. (Al Majmoo of Imam Al Nawawi)

    The Messenger (pbuh) said, “Allah has made it fard (obligatory) upon them to pay Zakaat from their wealth. It is to be taken from their wealthy and given to the poor amongst them”. (Bukhari)

    In the above hadith the instruction is to give the zakaat to the poor of the very community where the wealthy reside. Zakaat is only fardh on Muslims, hence they will give to the Muslims, as per the above hadith.

    This does not mean we do not help the non-Muslims. It is the duty of Muslims to also assist suffering non Muslims, however with other forms of charity such as sadaqah (optional charity).

    "... that you do good to them, and deal justly with them. Surely Allah loves those who maintain justice." (Quran 60:8)
    Omar bin Abd Al Aziz wrote the following to his governor in Basra, “Look for those disbelievers in your vicinity who are elderly, weak and who do not have means to earn, then specify 'on going allowances' for them from the bait al maal (general treasury) of the Muslims, that which you deem appropriate” (Kitaab Al Amwaal by Abu Ubaid bin Qasim Al Sallam)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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