Fatwa: # 45001
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country: African Country
Date: 1st May 2020

Title

Contemporary issues - Who is entitled to Zakaat?

Question

What is the Darul Iftaas view regarding the following:

 

Assisting Distressed Businesses From Zakah Funds

          1.       One of the eight eligible categories of Zakah recipients specified in the Holy Quran is the Al - Ghaarimeenالغارمين: namely , those eligible debtors who are burdened with debt, and do not have the ability or means to settle their debts. ( Qurtubi) هم الذين ركبهم الدين و لا وفاء عندهم به. ه

          2.       In the Hanafi school, the Ghaarimeen are defined as that eligible Muslim  burdened debtor who , after excluding his or her basic necessities, does not own surplus assets of any kind, equal to Nisaab.( in accordance with the prescribed gold or silver standard).It obviously includes a debtor who is factually insolvent, that is, his liabilities exceed his assets.و لا يملك نصابا فاضلا عن دينه. الدرر المختار

          3.       Basic necessities, such as the value of a house, essential household furniture and effects, essential tools of trade, ,and a single motor vehicle are not taken into account, in the Zakah calculation , and are deemed to be non - existent. لانه مشغول بحاجته الأصلية فاعتبر معدوما:  اللباب

          4.       It is preferable to pay an eligible debtor instead of a poor faqir , because the debtor is deemed to be in greater need. الدفع للمديون أولى من الدفع للفقير الغير المديون لزيادة احتياجه : رد المحتار

          5.       It is important to note that although the payment of mandatory Zakah constitutes a spiritual and material purification for the Zakah - payer, the receipt thereof in the hands of the eligible recipient is absolutely pure and legitimate.( as a blessing from Allah )

          6.       It is useful to bear in mind the well known statement of Caliph Umar (ra) to the effect that Zakah should be used to empower the eligible recipients; in the current situation of  severe economic hardship, to restore the failing buisness to a sustainable level. و قال عمر إذا أعطيتم فاغنوا

          7.       At the same time, it is a settled principle that it is not necessary to disclose to the eligible recipient that the source of the funds are Zakah.

          8.       The Holy Prophet ( saw) stated that there are only three classes of persons ( in genuine need or necessity) who are entitled to ask for Zakah : one category is that person who is affected by any class of an epidemic, with the result that his property is destroyed; such affected person may ask ( for assistance) until his or her needs are fulfilled.

 ان المسالة لا تحل الا لثلاثة .........

و رجل اصابته جانحة فاجتاحت ماله فيسأل حتى يصيب قوامًا من عيش...

الجصاص: احكام القران.

 9.Imam Abu Hanifa(ra) has stated that it is permissible to distribute all the Zakah to recipients belonging to  only one specific category, based on the needs at the time. اذا رأى ذالك بحسب الحاجة. A similar position has been adopted by Imam Malik(ra) , upon a purposive reading of the Zakah verses. ( Bidayah - al Mujtahid: Ibn Rushd).

10. It should be reiterated that Zakah cannot  obviously be given in exchange for services rendered. To the extent that a Muslim employee has been retrenched or otherwise loses his job, and is in genuine need, Zakah may be  legitimately used to assist such employee.

M S Omar

12 April 2020

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Hereunder are our observations on the above article. Some of the points have been maintained as is, the following additions must be noted.

Assisting Distressed Businesses with Zakah Funds

1.     Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stated that there are only three classes of persons (in genuine need or necessity) who are entitled to ask for Zakah. One category is that person who is affected by a calamity resulting in loss of property such that the person no longer possesses the Nisaab, such a person may ask (for assistance) until his or her needs are fulfilled.

الميسر في شرح مصابيح السنة للتوربشتي (2/ 432)

وفيه (ورجل أصابته جانحة فاجتاحت ماله) أي: استأصلته. والجانحة: المصيبة تحل بالرجل في ماله، إما من سنة أو من فتنة، من الجوح والاستئصال. يقال: حاجتهم الجائحة، واجتاحتهم. وجاح الله- عز وجل- ماله، وأجاحه: أي: أهلكه بالجائحة

 

أحكام القرآن للجصاص ت قمحاوي (4/ 328)

 وَرَوَى عُبَيْدُ اللَّه بْنُ مُوسَى عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ الْأَسْوَدِ عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ فِي قَوْلِهِ والغارمين قَالَ الْغَارِمُ مَنْ ذَهَبَ السَّيْلُ بِمَالِهِ أَوْ أَصَابَهُ حَرِيقٌ فَأَذْهَبَ مَالَهُ أَوْ رَجُلٌ لَهُ عِيَالٌ لَا يَجِدُ مَا يُنْفِقُ عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَسْتَدِينُ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَمَّا مَنْ ذَهَبَ مَالُهُ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ فَلَا يُسَمَّى غَرِيمًا لِأَنَّ الْغُرْمَ هُوَ اللُّزُومُ وَالْمُطَالَبَةُ فَمَنْ لَزِمَهُ الدَّيْنُ يُسَمَّى غَرِيمًا وَمَنْ لَهُ الدَّيْنُ أَيْضًا يُسَمَّى غَرِيمًا لِأَنَّ لَهُ اللُّزُومَ وَالْمُطَالَبَةَ فَأَمَّا مَنْ ذَهَبَ مَالُهُ فَلَيْسَ بِغَرِيمٍ وَإِنَّمَا يُسَمَّى فَقِيرًا أَوْ مِسْكِينًا. وَقَدْ رُوِيَ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وآله وسلم كان يستعذ باللَّه مِنْ الْمَأْثَمِ وَالْمَغْرَمِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ فِي ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ إنَّ الرَّجُلَ إذَا غَرِمَ حَدَّثَ فَكَذَبَ وَوَعَدَ فَأَخْلَفَ

وَإِنَّمَا أَرَادَ إذَا لَزِمَهُ الدَّيْنُ وَيَجُوزُ أَنْ يَكُونَ مُجَاهِدٌ أَرَادَ مَنْ ذَهَبَ مَالُهُ وَعَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ لِأَنَّهُ إذَا كَانَ لَهُ مَالٌ وَعَلَيْهِ دَيْنٌ أَقَلُّ مِنْ مَالِهِ بِمِقْدَارِ مِائَتَيْ دِرْهَمٍ فَلَيْسَ هُوَ مِنْ الْغَارِمِينَ الْمُرَادِينَ بِالْآيَةِ

وَرَوَى أَبُو يُوسُفَ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّه بْنِ سُمَيْطٍ عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرٍ الْحَنَفِيِّ عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّه صلّى اللَّه عليه وآله وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إنَّ الْمَسْأَلَةَ لَا تَحِلُّ وَلَا تَصْلُحُ إلَّا لِأَحَدِ ثَلَاثَةٍ لِذِي فَقْرٍ مُدْقِعٍ أَوْ لِذِي غُرْمٍ مُفْظِعٍ أَوْ لِذِي دَمٍ مُوجِعٍ

وَمَعْلُومٌ أَنَّ مُرَادَهُ بِالْغُرْمِ الدَّيْ

 

2.     It should be reiterated that Zakah cannot be given in exchange for services rendered. This should be noted when giving Zakah to employees.

Therefore, a Muslim employee who has been retrenched or otherwise loses his job, and is in genuine need, then provided this individual possesses less than the Nisaab, Zakah may be used to assist such an individual.

As for giving Zakah to struggling businesses, a business owner will only qualify as a recipient of Zakah if his assets after deducting liabilities leave him with less than the Nisaab. Stock in trade owned by the business is an asset and must be considered as such.

Zakah may only be given to an individual whose Assets – Liabilities = Less than the Nisaab.

3.      It is the responsibility of the Zakah giver to ascertain the status of the intended recipient. Once one is certain of them being a deserving recipient, Zakah may be given to them.

 

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