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Can You Provide Iftar With Zakah Money?

Question

Is it permissible for me to bring poor and needy people together and give them food to break the fast in Ramadan, using zakah funds?

Summary of answer

It is not permissible to use zakah money to provide iftar meals because what is required when giving zakah to the poor and needy is to give them possession of the zakah.

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

It is not permissible to use zakah money to give iftar meals , because what is required when giving zakah to the poor and needy is to give them possession of the zakah . So they should be given the money, which they may then dispose of according to what they think is best. This is indicated by the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakah) are only for the Fuqara (poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidin — Muslims fighting in a just battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” [al-Tawbah 9:60]

“The first four categories mentioned – the poor (fuqara and masakin), those employed to collect (the funds) and those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam – are the ones to whom zakah belongs. 

So it is essential that they be given possession of it, i.e., the zakah should be given to them and they should be left to do what they want with it.” (Liqa al-Bab al-Maftuh by Ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) 

Al-Mardawi al-Hanbali said in al-Insaf (3/234): “It is stipulated when paying zakah that the recipient be given possession of it, so it is not permissible to give the poor lunch or dinner (using zakah funds).” 

For more, please see these answers: 37666 , 12938 , and 49793

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A