Zakat to non-Muslims
Fatwa No: 82875

Question

My neighbor is non-Muslim and he is very poor, sometimes his wife and children ask for some food or cash, old clothes. Can I give them Zakat?

Answer

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

 

It is unlawful for you to give your Zakat to your neighbors as long as they are non-Muslims, unless the objective is to soften their hearts so that they become Muslims. The scholars state that in this respect the Muslim ruler is the person who makes the decision to give them as he is the only one who can judge whether or not there is a benefit in giving them Zakat.

Anyway, we believe that you should not give it to them now and you should give your Zakat to its legitimate Muslim recipients. But if you feel like giving some alms (optional charity) to your non-Muslim neighbors, then you could do that.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) urged us to be kind to our neighbors.

Allah knows best.

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