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Heads of Zakat

Guidance-I

“The alms are meant only for the poor and the needy and those who are in charge thereof, those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free those in bondage, and to help those burdened with debt, and for expenditure in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 9:60)

This ayat presents the eight specified heads of Zakat. The first is fuqara, those who depend for their sustenance on others. They include orphans and destitute widows, and those who are needy like the disabled, unemployed and old. Second is that of masakeen – those who are in greater distress than the ordinary poor. They are both self-respecting and poor. Third refers to those appointed to collect Zakat, to ensure the safe keeping of the funds collected, to maintain their accounts, and to disburse them. Fourth, Zakat funds may be used to provide succour for and to rehabilitate reverts to Islam. Fifth, Zakat funds may be used to secure the emancipation of slaves or release of the unjustly jailed persons. Sixth, gharimeen refers to the debtors who would be reduced to a state of paupership if they were to pay off all their debts from their available resources. Such debtors do not include those who incur heavy debts either as a result of their extravagance or their spending on evil purposes. Seventh, fi sabilillah signifies the struggle to establish the Islamic system of life on earth. And, eighth, a traveller is entitled to receive help out of Zakat funds.  



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