Disposal of Zakat
1933. Zakat can be spent for the following eight purposes:
It may be given to poor person, who does not possess actual or potential
means to meet his own expenses, as well as that of his family for a period
of one year. However, a person who has an art or possesses property or capital
to meet his expenses, is not classified as poor.
It may be paid to a miskin (a destitute person) who leads a harder life
than a Faqir (a poor person).
It can be given to a person who is a Wakil of Holy Imam (A.S.) or his
representative to collect Zakat, to keep it in safe custody, to maintain its
accounts and to deliver it to the Imam or his representative or to the poor.
It can be given to those non-Muslims who may, as a result, be inclined
to Islam, or may assist the Muslims with the Zakat for fighting against the
enemies, or for other justified purposes. It can be given to those Muslims
also whose faith in the Prophet or in the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen is
unstable and weak, provided that, as a result of giving, their faith is
It can be spent to purchase the slaves to set them free, the details of
which have been given in its relevant Chapter.
It can be given to an indebted person who is unable to repay his debt.
It may be spent in the way of Allah for things which has common benefit
to the Muslims; for example, to construct a mosque, or a school for religious
education, or to keep the city clean, or to widen or to build tar roads.
It may be given to a stranded traveller.
These are the situations in which Zakat can be spent. But in situation number
3 and 4, the owner cannot spend without the permission of Imam (A.S.) or his
representative; and the same applies to the 7th situation, as per obligatory
precaution. Rules relating to these are explained in the following articles:
1934. The obligatory precaution is that a poor and destitute person
should not receive Zakat more than his expenses and those of his family, for one
year. And if he possesses some money or commodity, he should receive Zakat
equivalent to the shortfall in meeting his expenses for a year.
1935. If a person had enough amount to meet his expenses for a year,
and he spent something out of it, and then doubts whether or not the remaining
amount will be sufficient to meet his expenses for one year, he cannot receive
1936. An artisan, a land-owner, or a merchant whose income is less
than his expenses for one year can take Zakat to meet his annual shortfall, and
it is not necessary for him to sell off his tools, property, or spend his
capital in order to meet his expenses.
1937. A poor person who has no means of meeting his own expenses, and
those of his family, for one year, can receive Zakat, even if he owns a house in
which he lives, or possesses a means of transport, without which he cannot lead
his life, or it may be to maintain his self-respect.
And the same rule applies to household equipment's, utensils and dresses for summer and winter, and other things needed by him (i.e. he can take Zakat even if he possesses these things). And if a poor person does not have these essential things, he can purchase them from Zakat, if he needs them.
1938. If it is not difficult for a poor person to learn an art, he
should not, as an obligatory precaution, depend on Zakat. However, he can
receive Zakat as long as he is learning the art.
1939. If a person who was poor previously says that he is still poor,
Zakat can be given to him, even if the person giving Zakat may not be satisfied
with what he says. But if a person was not known to be poor previously, Zakat
cannot be given to him, as a precaution, till one is satisfied about his
1940. If a person says that he is poor, and he was not poor
previously, and if one is not satisfied with what he says, the obligatory
precaution is that Zakat should not be given to him.
1941. If a Zakat giver is the creditor of a poor person, he can adjust
the debt against Zakat.
1942. If a poor man dies, and his property is not as much as it may
liquidate his debt, the creditor can adjust his claim against Zakat. And even if
his property is sufficient to clear his debt, but his heirs do not pay his debt,
or the creditor cannot get back his money for any other reason, he can adjust
the debt against Zakat.
1943. It is not necessary for a person who gives Zakat to mention to
the poor that it is Zakat. In fact, if the poor feels ashamed of it, it is
recommended that he should not mention at all that he has given with the
intention of Zakat.
1944. If a person gives Zakat to someone thinking that he is poor, and
understands later that he was not poor, or owing to his not knowing the rule,
gives Zakat to a person who he knows is not poor, it will not be sufficient.
Hence, if the Zakat which he gave to that poor still exists, he should take it
back from him, and give it to the person entitled to it.
And if that thing does not exist, and the person who took it was aware that he was given from Zakat, the Zakat payer should obtain its substitute from him, and give it to the person entitled to it. And if the receiver was not aware that it was Zakat, nothing will be taken from him, and the person who has to pay Zakat will give the substitute from his own property.
1945. A person who is indebted and is unable to repay his debt, can
receive Zakat to repay it, even if he has the means to meet his expenses for one
year. However, it is necessary that he should not have spent the loan for some
1946. If a man gives Zakat to someone who is indebted and who cannot
repay his debt, and understands later that he had spent the loan for sinful
purpose, if that debtor is poor, the man can adjust the sum as Zakat given to
1947. If a person is indebted and is unable to repay his debt,
although he is not poor, the creditor can adjust against Zakat the amount which
that person owes him.
1948. If a traveller is stranded because he has no money left with
him, or his means of transport does not function, he can receive Zakat, provided
that his journey is not for a sinful purpose, and that he cannot reach his
destination by taking a loan or by selling something. He can receive Zakat even
if he is not poor in his hometown.
But if he can raise money for the expenses of his journey to another place nearby, by borrowing money or selling something, he should take only that much of Zakat, which would enable him to reach that place.
1949. If a stranded traveller takes Zakat, and upon reaching his
hometown finds that some of it has remained unspent, he should send it back to
the giver of Zakat, and if he cannot do so, he should give it to the Mujtahid
mentioning that it is Zakat.