Recipients of Zakaat
Now that we understand zakah, and its various conditions and calculation, we must now learn who it is payable to. Those who are entitled to receive zakah are grouped into eight categories, as determined by the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah says, “Sadaqat are only for the poor who do not beg and the poor who beg and those employed to collect them, and for attracting the hearts (of those who have been inclined towards Islam), and to free the captives and for those in debt and for Allah’s Cause, and for the wayfarer a due imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” [9:60]
The Fuqaraa (the poor who do not beg)
These may have money, but it is not sufficient for their basic needs. Others have stated that these people have nothing. Allah says, ‘If they are Fuqaraa (poor), Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty.’ (24:32)
The Masaakeen (the poor who beg)
These people do not have anything, so they are in need of asking others for food and clothing. Such have the rights to ask and receive Zakaat. Others hold that these are those who may have some of their basic needs. Allah says, ‘But he has made no effort to pass on the path that is steep. And what will make you know the path that is steep? (It is) freeing a neck (slave). Or giving food in a day of hunger to an orphan near of kin. Or to a miskeen afflicted with misery.’ (90:11-16)
Zakaat is also to be paid to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined towards Islam or to prevent the harm of non-Muslims residing within the Muslim state. Scholars have agreed that this type of Zakaat should be considered whenever there is a need for it. We often see people who embrace Islam become detached from their families and are sometimes deprived of a source of income. These people have the right to receive Zakaat to protect themselves from harm and to make their faith firm.