What do the scholars and experts of Islam say about who are the recipients of the Zakat?
The recipient of Zakat is every needy Muslim who does not have enough wealth that meets the Nisab level and does not have enough to meet his real needs. The recipient can not be a Hashmi, nor one’s husband or wife, nor offspring, including a person’s son, daughter, grandson, and granddaughter. The recipient can not be his parents mother or father, grandfather and grandmother. Apart from these, all other people can receive Zakat. A Hashmi is a person who is a descendant of the blessed Prophet’s ﷺ family, the children of Sayyida Fatimah, the Prophet’s ﷺ daughter.”
Not having enough to meet the Nisab means:
1) He has no wealth whatsoever in which case he would be called miskeen.
2) He does have some wealth but it is less than the Nisab, in this case he is classified as Faqir.
3) He does have the Nisab amount, but his real needs are so great that he is in debt.
4) He has the Nisab amount and has no debt. However, he is a traveller and does not have enough to meet his needs during his journey.
Zakat can be paid to needy relatives who do not have the Nisab. For example, one’s brother, sister, maternal and paternal uncles, and one’s son-in-law if they are needy. In fact, paying Zakat to them earns double the reward.
Another recipient of Zakat mentioned in Surah Al-Tauba, verse 60, is ‘in Allah’s cause.’ This means those warriors, soldiers, and pilgrims who do not possess means of livelihood. According to some, it refers to the student of Islam. In the commentary of Bada’i it means “all works deserving divine merits.” In the book of Nahr it is said that “there is an agreement that apart from the charity worker all the other recipients can receive Zakat when they are needy and do not reach the Nisab“. However, the student of Islam is allowed to take Zakat. Even if he has the Nisab as long as he has dedicated himself to the study of Din. However, I say that even the student should only receive Zakat when he is in need.
Another condition when giving Zakat is that the recipient should be made the full owner, someone who has control over the money, this is known as Tamleek. This is in contrast to providing a shroud and a coffin for a funeral, digging a well, building a school, a bridge, or a hostel. Zakat cannot be spent on such projects. If one wants to spend on any of these projects. He must use Heela, a ploy, a manoeuvre, as explained in my Fatawa.
And Allah Most-High knows best.
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رحمة الله تعالى عليه
Translation by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari Translator of Majestic Quran, www.majesticquran.co.uk