Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
Is it possible to buy and make food parcels and distribute them to zakat recipients instead of giving them cash? Or is the cash/gold their right for them to spend as they see fit?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Yes, it is permissible to dispense one’s Zakat in the form of commodities or goods (in-kind) rather than pay cash to the recipient, as long as the current market value is the same as the amount of Zakat owed. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
However, if cash is more beneficial for the poor, this may be superior to give than a commodity of your choice. This is because there may be a greater need for cash which can be used for various expenses as the recipient sees fit (ex. rent, bills, etc.).
However, it remains your choice to pay in cash or kind.
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.