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Zakat Eligibility Ruling

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The ISNA Fiqh Council of North America

Date: Ramadan 11, 1424 – Hijri March 5, 2003
President of Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA)

Dear Brother:
Assalamu alaikom wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatu. We hope that Allah (SWT) provides you with wellness and good health.

We have received your inquiry that has been directed to the ISNA Fiqh Council of North America regarding Zakat. Your question was about whether your organization can be a beneficiary of the Zakat funds, which is collected by Muslim communities in the United States of America or outside.
Is this under one of the eight categories that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an?

The answer is: Allah (SWA) has revealed in the Holy Qur’an:
“The Charities (AS-Sadaqat-here it means Zakat) are only for the extremely poor, the one with no supporting sources, those employed to collect the funds and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and for freeing the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.

It is clearly showing from the previous Ayah and in its interpretation counting the bases of ligibilities for different categories, whether it is an individual, entity, or organization that can benefit from the contribution of “ZAKAT”.

Any person, entity, or organization that does no hold any of the previously mentioned categories is considered ineligible.

Regarding the efforts, legal defense, and support that your organization provides to unjustly treated individual Muslims, these efforts will be under the category of “for Allah’s Cause.”The main intention of establishing this organization is to defend the legal rights of Muslims and to remove the injustice and the violations that inhibit their legal rights. This type of activity is considered obedience to Allah as described “For Allah’s Cause.” It is recommended to set aside a portion of the Zakat collection for the support of the activities of such organizations. It is preferable that the Zakat payee divides Zakat payment into three portions and spends one portion “For Allah’s Cause” for various organizations that support the needs of Muslims.

We hope that our answer was sufficient to clarify your question, Allah knows best.

May Allah guide you to what he loves and accepts your deeds.

Wa Asslamu Alikum Wa Rahmatu Allah Wa Barakatu
Taha Jaber Alawan PhD. President of the Fiqh Council of North America

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