Allaah has explained the categories to whom zakaah may be given, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al‑Masaakeen (the poor) 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 Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”
This has been discussed in the answer to question no. 6977, where we explained that “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)” refers to jihad for the sake of Allaah. Some scholars also added Hajj to that because of a hadeeth which was narrated to that effect.
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
With regard to [the phrase] “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)”, this includes the warriors who do not have a regular salary from the state. According to Imam Ahmad, al-Hasan and Ishaq, it also includes Hajj for the sake of Allaah, because of the hadeeth.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 2/367
In the answer to question no. 7853 we have explained that it is permissible to give zakaah to the people of Chechnya.
It should be noted that the phrase “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)” is not general in meaning and does not include all types of charity; rather it refers to jihad for the sake of Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
As for this applying only to jihad for the sake of Allaah, there is no doubt concerning that, unlike those who say that which is meant by “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)” is all kinds of good and charitable deeds, According to this interpretation, it would refer to everything that is done seeking the Countenance of Allaah, such as building mosques, repairing roads, building schools, printing books, and other deeds that are done to draw closer to Allaah, because there is no limit to the righteous deeds that may be done for the sake of Allaah.
But this view is weak, because if we were to interpret the verse in this manner, there would be no point in the limitation (innama, translated as “only”) mentioned in the verse, where Allaah says “As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor),” [al-Tawbah 9:60]. This has to do with the wording of the verse.
From another angle, if we were to regard the verse as general in meaning, applying it to all deeds by means of which one may draw closer to Allaah, then those who are definitely entitled to zakaah would be deprived of it, because if people thought that they could use their zakaah to build mosques, they would hasten to do that, because the benefit of that will remain until the Day of Resurrection.
The correct view is that it applies only to jihad for the sake of Allaah.
With regard to the author’s view that it applies only to the warriors, this is subject to further discussion.
The correct view is that it includes the warriors and their weapons, and everything that helps in jihad for the sake of Allaah; even the guides who show the way to the battlefield are entitled to a share of zakaah, because Allaah says “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)” and He did not say “for the mujaahideen”, which indicates that what is meant is everything that has to do with jihad, because that is part of jihad for the sake of Allaah.
Is it permissible to buy weapons with zakaah funds for jihad for the sake of Allaah?
According to this author’s view, it is not permissible, rather it should be given to the mujaahideen.
But according to the correct view, it is permissible to buy weapons with it to be used for fighting for the sake of Allaah.
Based on this, the correct view is that the phrase “for Allaah’s cause (fi sabeel-Allaah)” includes both the warriors and whatever they need of weapons and other things.
Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 6/241, 242
And Allaah knows best.