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Giving Zakah to non-Muslims


Last week a scholar said that we can give Zakah to non-Muslims, also that where the Qur’an says to give to the 8 people it does not clearly say for Muslims only. Is this correct?


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Zakah should be strictly limited to the 8 categories mentioned in the verse. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ' (poor), and Al-Masâkin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islâm);….}[9:60].

Now if the person gives Zakah to non-Muslims apart from those inclined to Islam his/her deed is not permissible and does not free him/her from the Zakah duty. So, he/she still has to pay that Zakah again.

In fact, Zakah should not be paid to a Kafir (non-Muslims) unless he/she is from “those inclined to become Muslims”.

The evidence for the above rule is the Hadith reported by Muslim and Al Bukhari from Ibn Abbas (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "(Zakah) is taken from their wealthy people and paid to their poor ones". The pronoun “their” in both cases refers to Muslims.

As for those who are inclined to Islam, they are of two types:

1) The non-Muslims who could become Muslim, these could be given Zakah according to the Maliki and Hanbali but according to the Shafi’e and Hanafi should not be given Zakah.

2) Muslims who could become more firm in their religion. These should be given Zakah according to the Maliki, Shafi’e and Hanbali.

The Hanafis opinion is that neither types should be given Zakah as Allah has made Islam glorious and does not need pushing people to it.

Now those Muslims who are doubtful or weak in religion should be given Zakah not to convince them but, because they are poor or needy so, what you heard about giving Zakah to non-Muslims is wrong unless the scholars meant those inclined towards Islam.

Allah knows best.

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