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

Zakat for Non Muslims with references in the Quran

Do we have reference in Quran/Sunnah on the percentage i.e. of Zakat? Should I help Non Muslims over and above my due Zakat or can they be included in said Zakat?

When I consulted some traditional scholars, I was given reference of two Ahadith (Muslim 12/188 and Bukhari 64/374) as follows:

Abu Said Khudri reported that Hazrat Ali sent some gold alloyed with dust to the Messenger of Allah, and the Messenger of Allah distributed that among four men, al-Aqra b. Habis Hanzali and Uyaina b. Badr al-Fazari and 'Alqama b. 'Ulatha al-'Amiri, then to one person of the tribe of Kilab and to Zaid al-Khair al-Ta'l, and then to one person of the tribe of Nabhan. Upon this the people of Quraish felt angry and said:

“He (the Holy Prophet) gave to the chiefs of Najd and ignored us. Upon this the Messenger of Allah said: I have done it with a view to conciliation with them. Then there came a person with thick beard, prominent cheeks, deep sunken eyes and protruding forehead and shaven head. He said: Muhammad, fear Allah. Upon this the Messenger of Allah said: If I disobey Allah, who would then obey Him? Have I not been (sent as the) most trustworthy among the people of the-world? -but you do not repose trust in me. That person then went back. A person among the people then sought permission (from the Holy Prophet) for his murder. According to some, it was Khalid b. Walid who sought the permission. Upon this the Messenger of Allah, said: From this very person's posterity there would arise people who would recite the Qur'an, but it would not go beyond their throat; they would kill the followers of Islam and would spare the idol-worshippers. They would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray. If I were to ever find them I would kill them like 'Ad.”

“And if they obey you in that, then tell them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers to be performed every day and night. And if they obey you in that, then tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Sadaqa (i.e. rak`at) to be taken from the rich amongst them and given to the poor amongst them. And if they obey you in that, then be cautious! Don't take their best properties (as Zakat) and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”

In the first hadith the leaders were non-muslims who were given Zakat by the Prophet SAW to bring them closer to Islam. The words "amongst them" in the second hadith also points to the fact that it is only Muslims who are given Zakat.

If "Sadaqaat" is meant to be Zakat in verse 9:60 then there is no room left for debate and it is meant only for the poor, those employed to collect (the funds); to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); to free the captives; for those in debt; for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything);

Two point five percent Zakat on wealth and 5-10 percent Zakat on production has been the unanimous practice of ummah in the form of Sunnah.

Zakat can be given to non-Muslims. There is no mention in either the Qur'an or the Sunnah against it.

Let us assume that the two ahadith are saying exactly what you and others have understood. This is a highly inadequate way of mentioning a rule when the actual verse is not just silent about the matter but is creating an impression that all fuqaraa and masakeen are eligible for Zakat. This hadith was not even known to a vast majority of Muslims of the first two centuries!

Surely the first hadith is not saying that the prophet alaihissalaam, God forbid, took a wrong decision to give Zakat to non-Muslims which was corrected by some people? Of course his decision was correct but there was a question whether it was appropriate for it to be done on that occasion or not. That concern can tilt the inclination towards non-Muslims as well on some occasions.

The second hadith does not mention Muslims or non-Muslims. All it is saying is that instead of sending all the Zakat funds to the centre (Madinah), it should be taken it from the rich of Yemen and spent on their poor. It does not mention the issue of Muslims and non-Muslims at all. Is not the matter serious enough to warrant a clearer, unambiguous statement?

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