Quora Answer: Can We Give Zakat to Non-Muslims?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Can we give zakat to non-Muslims?

Some scholars state we cannot give zakat to non-Muslims, and some others state that we should prioritise the Muslims over the non-Muslims.  But strictly within the Qur’an, it does not state anything of that sort.  There is no prohibition on giving zakat to non-Muslims there.  These are the categories:

سُوۡرَةُ التّوبَة
۞ إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيۡہَا وَٱلۡمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُہُمۡ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلۡغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۖ فَرِيضَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَڪِيمٌ۬ (٦٠)

Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. (Surah at-Tawbah:60)

We have to remember that one of the aswnaf, the people eligible for zakat, is “mu’allafat qulubihim ‘alayhim”, “those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam”, the people on a spiritual journey, and they need some support.  They are almost certainly not Muslims.  Their hearts are inclined, but they have not converted.  It is, then, reasonable to assume that the poor, the indigent, the stranded traveller, and so forth are all eligible for zakat regardless of their religion, because Allah (s.w.t.) Sent the Prophet (s.a.w.) to all Creation:

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (١٠٧)

We Sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures. (Surah al-Anbiya’:107)


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