Ruling on giving expiation food to non-Muslims
23-3-2014 | IslamWeb
Asalamu alaikum My question is about giving food-based kafaraah in the UK. I need to feed some needy people as expiation for my sins, but since the UK is a majority non-Muslim country, I have no idea where to access needy Muslims whom I can feed. I know lots of Muslims who are living in decent housing with reasonable income, but none who are destitute. However, I have seen plenty of non-Muslim beggars/homeless people who fit the "needy" category. Since I cannot find any needy Muslims on the street, is it permissible for me to donate food to a charity instead? Official registered charities often have more direct access to needy people who are not visible to the general public. For example, I know of a multi-faith charity for refugees where they take food donations and put them in a "free shop" so that refugees can come and take them at their own will and discretion. Some of these refugees may be Muslims, and some may be non-Muslims. Can I give my kafaraah to this charity? If this is not permissible, please advise me as to what other options I have. Secondly, although I have been in employment for the past 6 months or so, I am an unmarried girl and my father does not permit me to take money from my bank account as he wants me to save it for university fees, etc. Once I took some money out and gave some of it as sadaqah and he threatened to take my bank card from me if I do it again. I can see his point because I do have a lot of university fees to pay off. Anyway, for this reason, I can't access the money in my bank account to pay for the kafaraah, but I was planning to give up some of my own meals (that my mother cooks for me) and give them as kafaraah instead. Is this acceptable? Also, does the food have to be uncooked? As I can't buy separate bags of rice or flour - I can only donate what my family gives me to eat for myself. If all of my plans are impermissible, please advise me on what I should do because I don't want to meet Allah and be rejected.
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 is His slave and Messenger.
You did not clarify the reason for making this expiation; if it is expiation for breaking an oath or the like, then it is impermissible to pay it to non-Muslims as we have previously explained in Fatwa 143981.
But if your intention is to give this food as voluntary charity, then there is no problem in offering it to non-Muslims; however, needy Muslims are more deserving of charity. Imam An-Nawawi said, “It is recommended for a Muslim to give charity to the righteous, pious, chivalrous, and those in need; however, it is permissible to give charity to a sinner or disbeliever whether Christian, Jew or Magi.” [Al-Majmoo’]
If you choose to give the expiation to a charity to give it out on your behalf, then there is no harm in that. However, you should carefully choose a trusted and reliable charity that is hoped to abide by the Islamic Sharee'ah in this regard.
Allaah Knows best.