Citations of Scholarly Consensus Regarding Zakaat Spent on General Charities

In the Name of Allaah, the Ever-Compassionate, the Bestower of Mercy…

A number of scholars of the past, from different math-habs, lands, and time periods, have cited ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) on the impermissibility of spending zakaat on general charities, like building masjids,¬†roads, bridges, or buying a shroud for a dead person or paying his debts. They viewed that “fee sabeelillaah” (in the way of Allaah) in the verse of zakaat recipients (9:60) was specific to the Muslim army and its battles, and some added: Battles and Hajj.

The following citations from early scholars oppose the general broader understanding promoted by some later scholars and writers that “fee sabeelillaah” (in the way of Allaah) includes all types of charity and good deeds loved by Allaah:

1. Aboo ‘Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Sallaam (d.224)

Regarding paying the debts of the deceased, buying shrouds for him, building masjids, or routing rivers, and similar things of a charitable nature, then Sufyaan (ath-Thawree), the scholars of Iraq, and others have all agreed that this does not fulfill the duty of zakaat, since these are not from its eight categories.

Source: His book, Kitaab al-Amwaal, 2/293.

2. Ibn Hazm (d.456)

There is no dispute (amongst the scholars) that Allaah did not intend (by “fee sabeelillaah”) every good and charitable kind of thing when distributing zakaat, thus Continue reading