Is it permitted to pay Zakah through an Islamic charity?



Islamic Text

Only if they follow the Fiqh rulings correctly.

إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Charity is for the poor, the needy, those employed to administer it, those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth), the enslaved, those in debt, those who strive in the path of Allah and the wayfarer. An obligation from Allah, and Allah is the Knowing and the Wise. (Surah al-Towbah, 60).

In the Holy verse above we see that Zakah must be paid to individuals and not organisations. However, if an organisation is going to take the Zakah and pay it to poor Muslim individuals then it is permitted to use such an organisation. Unfortunately, there are a lot of concerns regarding how many charities use Zakah.

Some charities take Zakah for their running costs or employee wages. Others use it for community projects. Some pay Zakah to Dawa projects. All of this is against the established legal rulings in the Hanafi Madhab. One should certainly support such projects but it cannot be done with Zakah money.

There are a lot of problematic Fatawaa regarding the issue of Zakah in our time, so one must be careful and protect himself from such Fatawaa by studying the Fiqh of Zakat thoroughly.

If an organisation is distributing the Zakah to poor Muslim individuals then it may be permitted to give Zakah to them, in order for them to give it to the poor. However, you must be careful with this because many organisations do not follow the rulings established in classical works of Fiqh and rather follow erroneous contemporary Fataawa (legal rulings). You must first study the Fiqh of Zakah with a reliable teacher and then make sure the organisation you are giving to actually follows the Fiqh correctly.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (12.04.2021)

See also:

Zakah Distribution Checklist

Giving Zakah to support Dawa organisations (Madrasah/Masjid etc)

Students of Islamic Knowledge taking Zakah

See also (video):