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9. Calculating the Channels of Distributing Zakah

Determining the Channels of Distributing Zakah
Accounting Rules of the Channels of Distributing Zakah
Determining the Shares Allocated to the Channels of Distributing Zakah

Determining the Channels of Distributing Zakah


Allah the Almighty determined the channels of Zakah in the Holy Qur'an
1. The poor
2. The needy
3. Those employed to administer Zakah
4. Those whose hearts are made to embrace Islam
5. Emancipating slaves
6. The debtors
7. In the cause of Allah
8. The wayfarer


Accounting Rules of the Channels of Distributing Zakah


A Muslim ruler or his deputy in charge of administering Zakah may find the following legal principles helpful:

The basic calculation rules for spending Zakah on property:

Allah determined the recipients who have right to receive Zakah. He said: “Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Al-Tauba. Verse 60). Therefore, the just Muslim ruler is not allowed to give out Zakah property to any other category other than those mentioned in this verse. Generally speaking, the Muslim ruler distributes Zakah among the eight channels, as he may consider appropriate to the interests of the Muslims. The following questions may arise when distributing Zakah according to this concept:

How to distribute Zakah funds among the eight channels?

Muslim jurists have identified a set of guiding principles to distribute Zakah as follows:

First: Allotment is governed by need and sufficiency of Zakah funds

Some jurists are of the opinion that a portion of the total sum of Zakah is to be assigned to the eight channels according to the needs of each one estimated in accordance with each channel separately. This principle, when applied, will result in either a surplus in the Zakah sum as it happened during the eras of `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Uthman bin `Affan and `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, (may Allah be pleased with them). In this case, there will be a process of redistribution for the benefit of all Muslims. Or there may be a deficit; and in this particular case the Muslim ruler is allowed to seek additional amounts of money from the rich, but with certain conditions as follows:

1 . In case of dire need, with no other source of funds.

2 . Dividing the additional burden of money in a just way.

3 . To be spent to the interest of the Muslim community.

4 . The consent of the men and experts of Zakah in the Muslim community.

Second: Division into shares in light of the sum collected:

Other jurists are of the opinion that the total sum of Zakah is to be assigned to the eight channels on equal terms. Applying this principle may result in giving some channels an insufficient amount. Hence, the ruler may give priority to one channel over the other. Applying any of the aforementioned principles deduced from Islamic law sources depends on the total sum and the stable conditions.


Determining the Shares Allocated to the Channels of Distributing Zakah


Concerning this point, some juristic opinions are presented as follows:

1. One-eighth (12.5%) is to be given to each of the Zakah channels out of the total sum of Zakah. If what is given to a particular channel is not enough, it will be allowed to be taken from the surplus of the other channels. If there is no surplus, the amount needed will be taken from other resources in the treasury or by levying additional taxes upon the rich to fulfill the deficit according to rules of Shari`ah.

2. Each channel is assigned to take what is enough for it to fulfill its needs (without abiding by the one-eighth amount.) If the total sum of Zakah is not enough, it is allowed to take from other resources in the treasury or to levy additional taxes upon the rich to fulfill the deficit, in observance of Shari`ah.



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