Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
1. Capital expenditure on our offices and vehicles, which includes :
a) Cost of Construction
b) Purchase of Furniture and Equipment
c) Electrical Fittings
d) Plumbing Fittings
e) Purchase of computers, printers, overhead projector, scanner and other electronic machines of similar type used for the administration of Zakat funds.
2. Repair, renovation and maintenance of our office buildings
3. Payment of Bills, which includes :
a) Telephone Bill
b) Electric Bill
c) Internet Bill
d) Rent or Monthly Maintenance Charges for use of offices
e) Water bills
f) Purchase of stationery
g) Salaries of staff
h) Government Taxes
(All above again used for administration of Zakat funds)
4. If we run institutions which cater to Zakat beneficiaries also, can we pay the following from Zakat Fund :
a) Boarding and lodging expenses for the students deserving to receive Zakat.
b) Traveling expenses for deserving students
c) Teachers’ salaries
d) Travelling expenses for the teachers
While Zakat forms almost 50% of our total funds collected each year from our Muslim brethren, we also receive Non-Zakat donations both from Muslim and Non-Muslim well wishers. From the funds collected we provide assistance to the Muslim beneficiaries from Zakat Fund after verification of their eligibility to receive help from Zakat Fund; similarly, we assist some of the Muslim beneficiaries who do not deserve to receive Zakat (such as Saiyeds) and all the Non-Muslim beneficiaries from Non-Zakat Funds.
We would like to know as to whether any part of Zakat Fund can be used for covering all or any of our expenditure listed above, and if yes, to what extent. We shall be much obliged to your guidance in this regard.
Allah states in the Quran, “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” (Surah At Tuaba: 60)
For the payment of Zakat to be valid it is necessary that someone deserving from the above categories must be given possession of zakat funds.
Keeping this information in mind we can derive that:
1 & 2. It will not be permissible to use zakat funds for the office, for the purchasing of office tools such as printers and scanner and for the renovation or maintenance of the offices. One of the requirements of Zakat is that you make the eight recipients of Zakat the exclusive owner of the amount. However, office equipments do not have this capability; thus, the Zakat would not be done. It is similar to the impermissibility of giving Zakat to a Masjid. (Fatawa Darul Uloom Deoband p.213 v.6)
3. Zakat cannot be given for the payment of bills. However, a worker who is poor, zakat can be given as a bonus, but not as a wage. This is because zakak cannot be given in lieu of services. (Fatawa Rahimiyah p.157 & p.163 v.5)
It is necessary to give zakat into the ownership of the recipient. The recipient must be the owner of the wealth and have the option to spend it as he/she wishes. (Aapke Masaail p.389 v.3) When the zakat is received by the recipients, they may spend it as they wish, whether it be on boarding or travel expenses. However, it is not valid for you or the institution to spend the zakat on them, as this would be contradictory to making the recipients full owners of the zakat money. (Bahrur Raaiq p. 216 v.2)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.