Having an organisation to distribute sadaqa and zakaat

Q: Recently a brother was discussing the issue of ‘Having a permanent organisation to distribute sadaqa and zakaat’. He termed this Haraam, Batil and
bidah. He produced the following articles with a link which I’ve produced at the bottom. I would be grateful if you can elaborate on this issue in light
of the Qu’ran and Hadith. 

Good Deeds vs Charity Organisations

Looking after people’s affairs practically is one of the characteristics of the state and within the authority of the state – no one other than the state has the authority to do so due to the saying of salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: ‘The imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for his charge/flock.’ Therefore it is unlawful to establish either an organisation, group or person to look after people’s affairs except if it is the state or deputised by the state. If a Muslim or Muslims do so they have sinned because they have performed an action which the shar’a confined to the wali al-amr (guardian), i.e. to the Imam and to whoever the Imam gives the authority to do so. Therefore all charity organisations, whether they are for building mosques, educating people, feeding the poor or the like are haram and are not allowed. This is because the Shaari’ (legislator) has confined looking after people’s affairs to the state. 

As for the Capitalist system and the Democratic system, it has permitted this because the state is made up of institutions and canons are formulated on this basis. Thus, it allows charitable institutions and charity organisations. As for Islam, it has made the state a single institution and confined looking after people’s affairs to it. It is therefore unlawful for anyone other than the state to practically look after people’s affairs. As for individuals and groups, if they perform a single good deed, e.g. if the people of a village built a mosque or school or if someone relieves a poor person, this is allowed because Islam commanded the relief of the
malhouf (unfortunate) and feeding the poor and needy and commanded the building of mosques. Islam has commanded Muslims to do good deeds, and this order is clear in the ahadith and ayat so when the Muslims do so they are performing an action from the good deeds which Allah has commanded, and it is either mandoub (recommended) or mubah (permissible). All this is allowed for
Muslims to do as individuals and groups and they are rewarded for it – it is not considered looking after people’s affairs, rather it is a good deed. As for looking after people’s affairs, it is unlawful except for the state. Therefore a distinction must be made between doing the good deeds that have been commanded and looking after people’s affairs in doing the good deeds. Thus, doing the good deeds is allowed and is rewarded; as for looking after people’s affairs, this is unlawful for a Muslim to perform, and the state punishes whoever performs it because they attacked its authority as well as doing a haram action. As for doing good deeds, Allah rewards them and the state might adopt rewarding and appreciating those who perform them. For this reason doing good deeds is allowed and looking after people’s affairs other than by the state is a haram (action).

Issue is can the zakat be collected by anyone other than the Islamic authority? This is how it was done for a thousand years, but now we don’t have that structure. Even still has to pay their zakat, and we all have the ability to find some one who is eligible for it to give it to. The question is can someone else collect the zakat and distribute it? Follow whatever view you find stronger… It’s not an issue to divide over and argue 

Imam ash-Shafi’i says in al-Umm about the Qur’anic category, “those who collect it”, that they are those appointed by the khalifa of the Muslims to collect and distribute zakat.  

Imam Ahmad is quoted in the book ash-Sharih ar-Rabbani li Musnad Ahmad as saying, “The khalifa alone has the authority and responsibility to collect and distribute zakat, whether by himself or through those he appoints, and he has the authority and responsibility to fight those who refuse to pay it.” 


A: If the organisation is run by reliable people who have proper understanding of Deen or who refer to reliable Ulama’ in matters of Deen and they distribute the zakaat and lillah in the correct avenues, it will be permissible. 

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)