Who pays the travel expenses to look for eligible Zakah recipients?
Fatwa No: 240259

  • Fatwa Date:15-4-2014 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 15, 1435
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Question

I am a working in a company where we three people are responsible for searching and investigating zakat eligible persons. For this purpose, we need travel expenses. Can we withdraw this amount from company's zakat fund or should it be from non-zakat fund? Thanks in advance.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His Slave and Messenger.

{C}It is impermissible to deduct those travel expenses from the Zakah funds. The channels of Zakah have been set by the Islamic Sharee'ah and the expenses of searching for eligible recipients of Zakah is not among them. Muslim jurists stated that when the Zakah funds are transferred from one place to another, the transfer expenses to make the Zakah reach the eligible recipients should not be deducted from the Zakah funds; rather, the giver of the Zakah should pay them from his own money.

Some scholars stated that these expenses should be paid from the Public Treasury and should not be deducted from Zakah funds. The Al-Mawsoo‘ah Al-Fiqhiyyah reads, “If the Zakah funds are transferred from one place to another, the Maaliki scholars held that the transfer fees should be paid from the Public Treasury and should not be deducted from Zakah funds. The Hanbalis held that they should be paid by the giver of the Zakah.

Since the fees for transferring the Zakah should not be deducted from the Zakah funds, then the expenses of looking for the eligible recipients of Zakah should not be deducted from the Zakah funds with greater reason.

The fact that you are responsible for looking for eligible recipients of Zakah and investigating their eligibility does not render you among the Zakah collectors who are employed to administer the Zakah about whom Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allaah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allaah. And Allaah is Knowing and Wise.} [Quran 9:60] The Shaafi‘i scholar Al-Maawardi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"The third share is for the Zakah administrators; they are of two types:

First, those employed to collect the Zakah.

Second, those employed to divide and distribute the Zakah funds ... Allaah, The Exalted, rendered their wages deducted from the Zakah funds so the giver of Zakah would not pay extra money aside from the Zakah; they should be paid wages equal to those of their peer workers. If their share of the Zakah funds was greater than their wages, then the rest of it should be added to the shares of the rest of the eligible Zakah recipients; if it was less, then their wages should be deducted from the Zakah funds according to one of the two opinions reported in this regard. According to the other opinion, their wages should be paid from the Public Treasury.” [Al-Ahkaam As-Sultaaniyyah]

Those people's wages should be paid from the Public Treasury under the condition that they were appointed by the ruler (head of the Islamic government). So, those who volunteer to levy the Zakah or who work in a company that entrusted them with such a task are not entitled to receive Zakah. Imaam Ash-Shaafi‘i  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "The Zakah officers are those employed by the ruler to levy and distribute the Zakah funds, whether they are among the eligible recipients of Zakah or not, who help the ruler in carrying out that task and with whom he cannot dispense in collecting and distributing the Zakah funds...” [End of quote]

Shaykh ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The workers employed to collect the Zakah are those appointed to levy it and travel all over the country to reach the towns and sources of water around which people concentrate. They collect, preserve, and administer the Zakah funds. They should be given wages in proportion to their effort according to the discretion of the governor.” [Quoted in summary]

Hence, it is unlawful to deduct anything from the Zakah funds and the company should pay you the expenses of your travel and search for the eligible recipients of Zakah.

Allaah knows best.

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