Allah’s Messenger sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam said: “Charity given in a year of plenty is a must for the year of famine.”
The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam also said: “Anyone who believes in Allah and the last day should either say something good or better remain quiet and show respect to others. Allah guards against all evil.”
Muslims must be extraordinarily generous and open-handed at these times. However, it can justifiably be asked: “Where should we spend our funds?” It would seem logical that charity should go first to those in dire need of it most. One person may have very little money but a large family, whereas another will have a much more significant sum of money but a small family, which means he has more disposable income.
On this basis alone, it could be seen that those with larger families will benefit from any charitable fund while those with fewer members within their family will benefit from the only part. This clearly cannot be the criteria for distributing funds as there will always be exceptions to the rule, and the family with fewer members could be in a much more desperate position than those with many.
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It is, therefore, necessary that we go back to the Qur’an and Sunnah and see what Allah commands us about spending our wealth on those who are less fortunate than ourselves. After almost fourteen hundred years of knowledge, we shall soon find out which centres have been set up around the world, all fulfilling one purpose: To spend their money only on those who need it most. Some, such as zakat committees, distribute funds directly while others, such as Al-Ihsan Charitable Trust, spend their income on projects which benefit both rich and poor alike.
The Qur’an has ordained us with duty only towards our own Muslims brothers and sisters, not to Muslims of other countries. Allah says: “Help you one another in al-birr and at-taqwaa (virtue, righteousness and piety) but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” [Al-Ma’idah 5:2]
The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam also said: “A man’s spending on his family is an act of charity.”
It can rightly be assumed that Zakat money should be spent on Muslims only then the criteria becomes too vast to allow us any further insight into this question. A Muslim will always benefit more from receiving Zakat than a non-Muslim because he may suffer all kinds of hardship in his life while the non-Muslim may not. For this reason alone, zakat committees spend their money on Muslims only.
However, if we go back more than fourteen hundred years of history, we can see that many schools were established throughout Muslim lands, teaching both rich and poor together. This was possible because these centres of learning accepted students who could pay fees as well as those who, for one reason or another, couldn’t afford to pay! Wealthy students with full pockets would study alongside the poor with empty pockets until Allah granted them knowledge with understanding. They went out into society to become doctors, engineers etc… Many centuries later, these same graduates are still giving generously from what Allah has blessed them with to educate new students in various fields.
Allah says: “And spend (of your wealth) in the Cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” [Al-Baqarah 2:195]
He also says: “It is not required of you to set them on the right path, but Allah guides aright whomever He pleases.” [Al Baqarah 2:272]
The Prophet sallAllahu ‘alyhi wasallam said that there are three ways for one’s money to be spent; on himself, his family, or given away in charity – after all these things have been taken care of. Any money left is simply earnings. This means that no one has the right to claim our money except ourselves and those whom Allah has placed under our authority, such as children or employees.
To say that Zakat should be given to non-Muslims would mean that we are ordering people to do something. Allah has not called us to do – this would be equivalent to Kufr! On this basis alone, it becomes clear what Zakat Committees worldwide spend their Zakat on Muslims only. May Allah bless them for their efforts to fulfil an obligation directly commanded upon us by none other than Allah himself.
You can Donate Zakat by visiting SKT Welfare.