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Giving charity to an affluent person

Published: 27/08/2011 09:41:00 AM GMT
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Is it forbidden for a Muslim man or woman who is not poor to accept alms?

Answered by

the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

A person may accept a gift, regardless of how rich or poor that person might be.

A person should not accept charity unnecessarily. If the person has a need for charity for a particular valid reason – even if that person is not necessarily poor – then it is alright to accept it.

Examples of a valid reason to accept charity might include educational assistance, acquiring the means to marry, or getting sponsorship funding to devote oneself to a certain beneficial social, artistic, or research activity.

This applies to voluntary charity, which is very flexible. Some of the examples above might not apply to Zakâh, since Zakâh has specific, clearly defined classes of people who are entitled to receive it.

Allah says: “Alms are for the poor (fuqarâ’) and the needy (masâkîn) and for those employed to administer the (funds), and for those whose hearts have been recently reconciled to truth; for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer. Thus is it ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 60]

A poor person (faqîr) is in more dire need of help than a needy person (miskîn).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The needy person (miskîn) is not a person who constantly walks from one to another and is given one or two morsels and one or two dates.”

They asked: “Then who is the needy person, O Messenger of Allah?”

He said: “He is the one who does not find enough for himself, and other people are not aware of him to give charity to him, and he does not start begging from other people.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1473)]

Therefore, Zakâh may be given to help someone of moderate means to assist that person to get married, since marriage is an essential need, and the person who cannot afford marriage is counted as being needy (miskîn) to the extent that he or she cannot realize this need.

It would not, however, be advisable to pay someone Zakâh so that the person may devote all of his or her energies to an artistic project. Such grants and endowments should rather be financed through voluntary charity (sadaqah).

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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