Is it permissible to profit from zakat? For example, a person is a wakeel and is given zakat for disbursement but rather than distributing immediately, he invests the money and receives a gain on the money and distributes the original money at a deferred date.
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And, prayers and salutations are on the Prophet Muhammad.
When the conditions for paying zakah are fulfilled, and the one who must pay it delays, this has two repercussions: 1) it is a sin and 2) one is liable for it.
1) One is sinning as he is delaying an obligation past its time. This is oppressing the recipients by withholding from them what is their right.
2) One is liable for the owed zakah; it is obligatory to pay it. If any or all of it is destroyed or lost, then it is a debt that one is held liable for. Accordingly, if one dies in this state, the obligation of the zakah/debt remains. In fact, it is obligatory that it be paid out of the wealth left behind, similar to other debts.
Both of these repercussions apply to a wakil appointed to distribute zakah. If monies, etc., are given to a wakil to distribute, and qualifying recipients are found, then it is obligatory that those monies are paid immediately, without delay. In the instance that one delays, he is sinning and also liable for the money.
(See: Dr. Muhammad al-Zuhayli’s al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Shafi, vol. 2, pg. 126-27)
And, Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.