Is it true that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) left payment of zakaah to the people? Why?.
It is proven that ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “This is the month of your zakaah, so whoever owes a debt, let him pay off his debt and then pay zakaah on what is left of his wealth.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra with a saheeh isnaad, as stated by al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) in al-Majmoo’.
The fuqaha’ quoted this as evidence that a man may pay the zakaah on his hidden wealth himself.
It says in al-Muhadhdhab: It is permissible for the owner of the wealth to distribute the zakaah of his hidden wealth himself, which is gold, silver, trade goods and buried treasure, because of the report narrated from ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him).
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: al-Shaafa’i and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) said: The owner may distribute the zakaah of his hidden wealth himself, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point. Our companions narrated that there was consensus among the Muslims.
Hidden wealth refers to gold, silver, buried treasure, trade goods and zakaat al-fitr.
Visible wealth refers to crops, livestock, fruits and minerals. As to whether it is permissible for him to distribute this zakaah himself, there are two well known views, the more sound of which is the recent view, that it is permissible. The older view is that it is not permissible and he must give the zakaah to the ruler or his deputy. End quote from al-Majmoo’ (6/136).
It says in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’ (2/258): It is mustahabb for a person to distribute his zakaah and zakaat al-fitrah himself, so long as he is trustworthy. That is better than giving it to a just ruler, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“If you disclose your Sadaqaat (almsgiving), it is well”
but he should make sure that it will reach those who are entitled to it, and no distinction is made between hidden and visible wealth. End quote.
This verse, the words of ‘Uthmaan and his companions’ approval all indicate that it is permissible for a person to pay his zakaah himself.
And Allaah knows best.