Zakat is a form of charity that is given to the poor and needy. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is obligatory on every Muslim who is financially stable. The main objective of zakat is to help society by giving something from your wealth. In return, the Muslims get tremendous rewards not only in this world but also in the hereafter. Zakat also purifies your wealth and possessions. Islam guides us to make this world a better place by helping others in need and that’s why it puts emphasis on charity. Zakat cannot be paid to everyone. There are specific people to whom zakat can be given. It is mentioned in the Quran:
Volume 2, Book 24, Number 498
Narrated by ‘Adi bin Hatim heard the Prophet saying
“Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity“
According to this verse, there are Six categories of people who are eligible to receive zakat:
1. Al-Fuqara (The poor)
Fuqara are the people who live below the poverty line and don’t have enough means to live a normal life like others. They deserve your zakat in order to meet the daily necessities of their lives.
2. Zakat collectors
Zakat can be given to the people who are authorized to collect and distribute it among the needy and poor. It includes trustworthy institutions and NGOs who are working to help underprivileged Muslim communities.
Zakat can be given to pay off the debts of someone who cannot repay on his own. However, one must make sure that the money borrowed by the debtor is not used for any un-Islamic or wrong purpose.
4. In the path of Allah
Those who are striving in the path of Allah are entitled to receive your zakat. These are the people who are fighting for Allah’s cause far away from their homes. Your zakat can help them have a better living.
5. Al-Masakin (The needy)
Masakin are extremely poor and needy people. These people don’t have any possessions or income. Your zakat money can help them in improving their living condition.
6. Wayfarer (Travelers)
Zakat can be given to a traveler who is left alone in a foreign land and is in need of money to get back to his destination or to fulfill his objective of traveling. There is a condition that the person should be traveling for a lawful purpose otherwise he is not entitled to receive zakat.
Refugees are also wayfarers and can be given zakat money as they leave their countries because of violence and oppression in search of a safe and better place.