To What Extent Must One Investigate Whether Someone Is Entitled to Receive Zakat?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan


To what extent must one investigate if someone is indeed eligible to receive zakat? Does one ask the person and accept their answer as true? Must one look deeper?


Thank you for your question.

The eight categories of people who are eligible to receive zakah are well known and mentioned clearly in the Quran.

When paying one’s zakat in person, it is essential to know (ilm) or have a predominant thought (zann) that the recipient is eligible to receive zakat. Paying one’s zakat to a recipient who is not eligible will not be considered valid. [al-Mawsu’ah]

When in doubt about whether a recipient is eligible to receive zakah, you may ask whether he or she is eligible or not. If no clear reason exists for you to question their honesty, their word should be accepted.

Of course, when paying your zakah to an institution, you would be appointing them to pay zakah to eligible recipients on your behalf. In this case, the onus rests with the institution to ensure that the zakah reaches eligible recipients, and your duty of paying zakah will be considered fulfilled.

And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ’ijaza ‘amma from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib’ Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib’ Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi’i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.