Enhancing the Role of Zakāh in Poverty Alleviation and the Management of its Collection and Distribution based on Fiqh Interpretations (Ijtihād)

In the Name of Allāh,

the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.

Resolution No. 165 (3/18)

Enhancing the Role of Zakāh in Poverty Alleviation and the Management of its Collection and Distribution based on Fiqh Interpretations (Ijtihād)

The Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, holding its 18th session in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 24–29 Jumādā al-Ākhirah 1428h (9–14 July 2007),

Having examined the research papers submitted to the Academy concern- ing Enhancing the Role of Zakāh in Poverty Alleviation and the Management of its Collection and Distribution based on Fiqh Interpretations (Ijtihād),

Having listened to the discussions on the subject,


First: Assets, not explicitly mentioned in the original Islamic texts, are sub- ject to Ijtihad in regard to being Zakāh-liable or not provided such Ijtihād fulfils the Shariah conditions and criteria.

Second: The Zakāh payer is not required to cover all the eight categories of Zakāh recipients when he distributes the due Zakāh. If, instead, a competent authority is to perform distribution, it should cater for all the eight categories of recipients, provided that funds are available, need exists, and the eight cate- gories of recipients are accessible.

Third: In principle, Zakāh should be distributed as soon as it is due or col- lected. Nevertheless, it is permissible to delay its distribution when it is neces- sary for public interest, or to reach a poor relative, or when Zakāh is distributed periodically to respond to the repetitive needs of the incapable of earning poor. Fourth: The poor and needy (al-Fuqarā wa al-Masākīn) should be given an amount that satisfies their needs and their dependents if possible and brings

them up to an adequate level of living as perceived by the Zakāh authority.

If the poor or needy can earn income through a certain handicraft or profes- sion, he may be given the amount he needs to, for instance, purchase his work tools, run a small commercial business or acquire a small family farm, and thus becomes able to have a continuous flow of income to cover his needs. Based

on this fact, Zakāh funds can be invested in small projects such as textile units, small sewing projects, and small workshops to be directly owned by the poor and needy.

Zakāh funds can also be used for establishing income-producing and services projects as stated in resolution no. 15 (3/3) of the Academy.

Fifth: Other Categories of Zakāh Recipients include:

  1. Al-ʿĀmilīn ʿalayhā (Zakāh Workers)

    1. Zakāh workers in the contemporary application include the institutions/administrations and their affiliate bodies entrusted with the collection and distribution of Zakāh subject to Shariah
    2. The Zakāh institution should enjoy financial and administrative autonomy from all other government bodies and be subjected to supervision and control to ensure transparency and adherence to administrative and financial good governance
    3. The institutions entrusted with Zakāh collection and distributions are considered as trustees and, therefore, they should not guarantee Zakāh funds against loss except in case of infringement or negligence. The Zakāh payer also becomes free from any duty towards the Zakāh amount once he pays it to the authorized Zakāh
  2. Al-Mu’allafatu Qulūbuhum (Reconciliation of Heats)

    1. The Zakāh share for Al-Muʾallafatu Qulūbuhum or “those whose hearts it is necessary to conciliate” is still valid and will remain so for good. It is not annulled or removed and can be used whenever needed to serve the cause of public interest.
    2. Zakāh can be spent for reconciling the hearts of those who have reverted to Islam recently to strengthen their belief or compensate them for any loss they might have incurred; it may also be spent on unbelievers who are hoped to revert to Islam or to dissuade them from causing any harm to
    3. It is permissible to provide support out of Zakāh funds to afflicted non-Muslims in areas of disasters, earthquakes, floods, and famines, in order to reconcile their hearts.
  3. Fī al-Riqāb (Those in Bondage)

    1. The Zakāh share of ‘those who are in bondage’ includes ransoms for

freeing Muslim war prisoners.

  1. It is permissible to pay, out of Zakāh funds, for releasing kidnapped Muslims or kidnapped family members.
  1. Al-Ghārimīn (The Indebted)

The Zakāh share for indebted persons includes those who incurred debts for their own needs and affairs as well as those who incurred debts for spending on dispute solving within Shariah criteria, diyah on behalf of those who accidentally commit homicide and have no family help available to them, or payment of the debts of a deceased who has left no bequest from which his debts can be settled provided that Bayt al-Māl (public treasury) did not take charge of paying his debts.

  1. Fī Sabīli Allāh (For the Sake of Allāh)

This Zakāh share includes the payment to fighters in the cause of Allāh The Almighty, those who defend their homeland, and the various other lawful war needs.

  1. Ibn al-Sabīl (The Wayfarer)

    1. A wayfarer refers to a person who is on non-prohibited travel and has nothing on hand to spend for return home, even if he is rich at his homeland.
    2. Assistance from Zakāh funds through establishing a specialized fund to financially assist displaced persons, within or without their countries, as a result of wars, floods, famines, earthquakes and like
    3. Assistance to poor students who are outside their countries and have no scholarships for studying as per customary practices.
    4. Helpless migrants who have no formal residence permits may be given from Zakāh funds until they return to their home
    5. Basic-needs support to full-time students and travellers who have nothing in hand to spend on their living.


  1. Due to the dire need of the Ummah for organizing Zakāh collection and distribution in a modern institutional framework, subject to the rules of the Shariah, the Council of the Academy calls upon Zakāh institutions in the Muslim countries to coordinate and establish joint projects for assisting the poor and the needy.
  2. Encouraging individuals to pay their Zakāh to the state-licensed Zakāh

institutions to ensure the delivery of Zakāh to its recipients and activate its religious, social, economic, and developmental role.

  1. Paying attention to the informational aspects of Zakāh by disseminating Zakāh information through visual and audible media to enlighten society about the status and significance of Zakāh and its constructive role in socio-economic
  2. Issuing Shariah and accounting standards for Zakāh
  3. Preparation of Zakāh accounting models and samples to be used as guide- lines for calculating the Zakāh base for each type of Zakāh-liable assets to assist in the practical application of Zakāh in the light of the Shariah
  4. Making use of information technology, communication networks and space channels in illuminating Muslims about the contemporary issues of Zakāh and its role in achieving socio-economic development for the Ummah at large.
  5. Encouraging the Muslim countries to reduce the tax burden of Zakāh payers by deducting the Zakāh amounts from their payable tax to moti- vate wealthy Muslims to pay Zakāh.
  6. Teaching Zakāh Fiqh and Zakāh accounting at the university and higher institutes’ level to promote knowledge about Zakāh as the third pillar of
Indeed, Allāh is All-Knowing.
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