Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Can zakat be given to organization like https://believersbailout.org/
The following information is from their website:
Believers Bail Out (BBO) is a community-led effort to bail out Muslims in pretrial incarceration and ICE custody
– People being held in pretrial incarceration because they can’t afford bail .
-All zakat funds are directed towards bond-related costs. This includes (but is not limited to) money bail and related fees, transportation (to and from court), correspondence (to facilitate bond payment), and post-release support (which includes housing, mental health/life coaching, food, and other essential needs).
-All BBO operating expenses are paid for through grants and non-zakat donations i.e. sadaqa/charity.
I pray you are well.
The validity of zakat payment to this organisation as intermediaries who pass it on legitimate recipients would depend on the financial situation of the recipient. In other words, we would have to ask if he fits into one of the categories stipulated in the Qur’an, each wisely chosen to cater for a particular need in the Muslim community. (Qur’an, 9:60)
Giving Zakat to Eligible Recipients
Their website quotes the above verse and equates the situation of these people who cannot afford bail to the situation of slaves who require funds to purchase their freedom. There is a difference between the two situations, so I don’t think it would be valid on those grounds.
This leaves people who would qualify for zakat anyway due to their financial needs or debts. It would be best to speak to the institute to clarify this, and to ensure they give it to eligible people. Just because someone requires bail -even if it is to re-establish the presumption of innocence – it doesn’t mean they qualify for zakat.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital. He was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.