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Can We Host an Iftar and Distribute Food to Laborers Using Zakat Money?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I have question regarding zakat money, can we:
(1) arrange iftar in mosque from zakat money? or
(2) go personally to distribute food in labour camps in Dubai from zakat money? mostly they are labours e.g gardeners,drivers,work in factories or people who are working in construction etc.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

(1) An iftar in the mosque would not be sufficient for zakat payment.

This is because zakat must be transfer of ownership (tamlik), that is, to give the recipient some form of wealth such that the recipient thereafter owns it.

Hosting an iftar, however, entails allowing people to partake of the host’s food (ibaha), which is different. The guests at the iftar do not at any point own the food that they eat, which is why they cannot for example take food home without the host’s permission. The host remains owner of the food.

(2) Food could be distributed to them as zakat payment, since in doing so you would be giving each recipient ownership of the food (tamlik).

As always, one would need to be reasonably sure that the recipient owns less than nisab (aside from basic personal needs).

[Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiya Tahtawi ala Maraqi Falah]

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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