Shaykh Ibn Baaz on Using Zakaat Money to Finish the Construction of a Masjid

In the Name of Allaah…

Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have Mercy on him) was asked about using zakaat money to finish building a masjid that is almost completed, and its construction may be halted (due to lack of funding). He replied:

What is well-known to the scholars, and it is the position of the vast majority of them, so it can be considered like ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) of the scholars of the early As-Salaf As-Saalih, is that zakaat is not to be used for building masjids, buying books, or the likes. It may only be distributed to the eight kinds of recipients who are mentioned in the verse in Soorah At-Tawbah [v.60], and they are:

(1) The fuqaraa’ (those who are extremely poor),

(2) The masaakeen (the poor and needy),

(3) Those who work in distributing it (zakaat),

(4) Those whose hearts need firmness upon Islaam (new Muslims),

(5) Freeing slaves,

(6) Paying debts,

(7) In the way of Allaah, and

(8) The traveler who is in need.

And the phrase “in the way of Allaah” means jihaad specifically. This is what is known to the people of knowledge, and the building of masjids is not mentioned here, nor is the building of schools or roadways, nor their likes.

And Allaah is the One who grants success.

Source: Majmoo’ Fataawee wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwa’ah (14/294)

Translated by: Moosaa Richardson

ST Archives – Originally Published 02-22-2008

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Citations of Scholarly Consensus About Zakaat Money Spent on General Charities

12 thoughts on “Shaykh Ibn Baaz on Using Zakaat Money to Finish the Construction of a Masjid

  1. Is it allowed to give our zakaah to the recipient of zakaah without telling the person that it is zakaah fearing that the person may not accept and also otherwise?

    • It is not required, and in fact it may be more appropriate in many cases. What is essential is that the due amount of zakaat be in the possession of the deserving recipient once the zakaat is due (at year-end, or harvest time, etc.). We must do our best to preserve the dignity of the recipients and not make them feel inferior. And Allaah knows best.

  2. Assalamu alaykum

    “(3) Those who work in distributing it (zakaat)” so does this mean zakat can be given to the charities that distribute it?

    • wa alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Ideally, the government who appoints zakaat collectors and distributors can pay them from the zakaat collection itself, a compensation for their work. See Qur’aan 9:60. I am afraid I cannot say anything about charities in general, since there are many charities that are not trustworthy for various reasons. And Allaah knows best.

  3. As-Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu,

    In looking at the definition of miskeen on, it describes someone as miskeen if they barely have enough to suffice their needs.

    If a man ordinarily has income that is sufficient, but is suddenly stricken with many costs at once, which are more than he can afford, does he qualify as miskeen? If he is miskeen, what is the upper limit on the amount of money he can receive, if there is such a limit?

    Jazakallahu khayran.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. When a man cannot pay his bills or meet his financial needs, he is [at least] miskeen, and those under his care are miskeen. He may take whatever zakaat or charity is given to him. Some scholars recommend an amount that will take care of his needs for a year’s time. And Allaah knows best.

      In the West, I have to say this (sadly): When a miskeen uses money for entertainment (satellite television, video rentals, etc.), video games, eating out in restaurants (in a wasteful or unnecessary way), or indulges in other behavior that involves squandering his own resources and making himself unable to pay his bills, he can be deemed ‘safeeh’ (foolish), someone who is incapable of handling his own financial affairs. In such cases, responsible family members should intervene and prevent him from wasting his money and harming himself and those under his care. This is understandably not the easiest thing to do, especially in the West.

      If he is merely sinful and heedless, yet capable of managing his finances more maturely, then he needs to be reminded to fear Allaah in how he interacts with the blessing of wealth, and that he will be asked about his income, from where it came to him and how he spent it, every last bit. Wallaahul-Musta’aan.

      • May Allah reward you with the best in this life and of the hereafter! Thank you for the detailed and thorough response.

        To clarify, does safeeh mean they’re not eligible for zakaat? Or just that someone should manage their finances and/or any zakaat received?

        Jazakallahu khayran.

        • We cannot give money to sufahaa’, but rather we try to take care of them since they are incapable of taking care of themselves. See Quran 4:5. If you see them in need, and you wish to assist them, then try to pay a bill on their behalf, or buy groceries for them, but do not give them money.

  4. As-Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu,

    If someone gives charity to a specific family with a specific intention (maybe giving money to cover an overdue electric bill so electricity doesn’t get cut off, or maybe covering a necessary auto repair, etc.), but then that specific need is covered by some other source(s), thereby causing an excess in coverage, can the excess then be spent on other needs? Can the intention change once the charity has been given in that fashion?

    Jazakallahu khayran.

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