Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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Zakat to Non Muslims or an Institution

Question:
I have two questions about Zakat. First is whether we can at any juncture pay Zakat to a Christian?

Secondly, can we give Zakat to any institute (hospital etc) without the restrictions of tamleek. We do not think every Idara has appointed a tamleek or that a tamleek will willingly further donate all of the zakat back to the idara concerned, as he will be the maalik now and can retain all of the funds himself without giving anything or give just a part of it to the said institute.

Response:
Both your questions on Zakat are based on some famous misunderstandings about the issue. Zakat can be paid to non-Muslims and it can be given to institutions helping out the poor instead of handing its funds over to its beneficiaries.

Kindly read khalidzaheer.com/qa/1028 for the answer to question on non-Muslims. As for the question of giving Zakat to an institution, there is no argument from the Qur'an or Hadith presented by those who espouse this view except that the Arabic preposition 'Lam' used in the relevant Qur'anic verse on the use of Zakat funds (Qur'an; 9:60) has been used to require those funds to be given in the ownership of its beneficiaries.

The fact is that as pointed out by Mawlana Islahi in his article on the issue and his explanation of verse 9:60 in Tadabbure Quran 'Lam' is used in many senses.

So kindly go ahead to give Zakat in the manner you think it is going to benefit the needy most effectively.

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