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Right to ask the distribution of Zakaat

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

they collect so much money all over the world in the name of zakat and wajebat .MY question is that if i am paying zakat i have a right to ask them how they distribute my zakat


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Right to ask the distribution of Zakaat

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol,  no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Allah Subhanah has made it an obligatory duty unto every believer to share a portion of his excess wealth with the poor and needy of the society.  In an established Islamic State, the Islamic government will collect the zakat from the rich, and distribute it to the poor and needy. But in this day and age, where there is no established Islamic State, it becomes the responsibility of each individual to pay this zakaat himself and purify his wealth according to commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws).


If one is unable to distribute his zakaah dues personally, there is no harm if one pays his zakaah dues to an organization that he trusts to do the distribution for him.    But if he doubts that the organization is not spending the zakat dues as they should be spent, he has every right to ask where the money is being spent and on whom; and if he is not given a satisfactory answer, he has every right to distribute his zakat personally or give it a better and more God-Fearing organization.      


In the times of the Prophet (saws) and the Ameer ul Mumineen, the collection and distribution of zakaah was absolutely transparent and any common person would come and ask them where and how the zakat was being collected and spent.   No one was more trustworthy than the Messenger of Allah (saws), his noble ‘ahle-bayt’ and his noble companions in the annuls of Islam… and when it was possible that a common person could ask them in public about the collection and distribution of zakat, there is absolutely no reason why, today, one cannot ask the organization to produce a proper account of where and how the zakat is being spent!   


We are aware that the ‘kothaar’ collects the zakaah dues (and many other illegal dues like wajebaat,  khums,  sabeel,  niyaaz,  nazrul-maqaam,  this fund,  that fund, etc.),  but never ever give an account of how much is collected and how they spend it!    Leave alone ask about the total collection and/or distribution, one is not even allowed to ask where his own zakat is being spent without being ostracized by the leadership!   No one is above the law of Allah and His Messenger (saws) in Islam,  and every believer has a right to demand and know where and how the public funds are being spent.


The ‘kothaar’ never publish their accounts of zakaat, nor is the system of zakaat collection and distribution transparent!   Allah Alone knows where and how they spent the millions of dollars they demand and collect as zakaah money from their followers.   If they were indeed spending the zakaah funds where they are supposed to spend as per the commandments of Allah, they would have nothing to hide and would have made them transparent.   


We originate from a small village in India, where there are hundreds of extremely poor elderly, widows and orphans; most of whom cannot even afford two square meals a day and do not have a half-decent roof to live under!    Since all the years that we can remember, never has a single penny ever been received by these poor and indigent people from the zakaat funds (or any other funds) from the kothaar!    On the contrary, every year the aamil demands that even these poor, needy and indigent people pay a part of their paltry income as zakaah to the ‘kothaar’!  It is indeed a sorry state of affairs, and every year these poor people beg for mercy and leniency to the aamil, but are forced to pay if they want to belong to the community!  The aamil’s incentive is that he gets a 10%-15% cut from the collections he does from his community from the kothaar, and he makes sure he collects the maximum to maximize his own income!  


We have received several letters from our Bohra brothers on the forum regarding this extortion issue and would like to share one of those with you:


There is another aspect for the male members--to pay the annual contributions for the establishment, vajibat(zakat etc),  then payment  under 13 or 14 heads,  masjid fund,  hajj fund,  ramazan niaz,  muharram  niaz,  doat niaz and what not,  the last being sila and fitra. The total for our family is near about Rs xxxxx. All the contributions are collected under duress.   The very poor who deserve to receive the
benifit of zakat are asked to borrow and beg to pay because payment of zakt is a must for every muslim.


May Allah guide these leaders and instill the fear of the accountability of an Inevitable Day when they will have to stand in the Court of Allah and give a full accounting of the atrocities they commit in the name of Islam!    Had they known the punishment of the ones who misappropriate funds from the public treasury from the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws); they would have feared Allah and the accounting of a Very Severe Day!


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verses 34-35:O you who believe!  There are indeed many among the priests and the holy men who devour the wealth of others by evil means, and debar the people from the Way of Allah.   Give them the good news of a painful torment, who hoard up gold and silver and do not expend these in the Way of Allah.   The Day shall surely come when the same gold and silver shall be heated in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their bodies and their backs.  (And it will be said): “Here is that treasure you had hoarded up for yourselves!  Taste now the evil of your hoarded treasure!”


Yahya related from Malik from Abd ar-Rahman ibn Said from Amr ibn Shuayb that when the Messenger of Allah (saws), came back from Hunayn heading for al-Jiirrana, the people crowded around so much to question him that his she-camel backed into a tree, which became entangled in his cloak and pulled it off his back.   The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "Return my cloak to me.  Are you afraid that I will not distribute among you what Allah has given you as spoils.  By He in whose hand my self is!  Had Allah given you spoils equal to the number of acacia trees on the plain of Tihama, I would have distributed it among you.   You will not find me to be miserly, cowardly, or a liar."   Then the Messenger of Allah (saws) got down and stood among the people, and said,  "Hand over even the needle and thread, for stealing from the spoils is disgrace, fire, ignominy on the Day of Rising for people who do it."   Then he took a bit of camel fluff or something from the ground and said,  "By He in whose hand my self is!   What Allah has made spoils for you is not mine - even the like of this! - except for the tax of one fifth, and the tax of (even that) one fifth is returned to you."


Yahya related from Malik from Thawr ibn Zayd ad-Dili from Abu'l-Ghayth Salim, that Abu Hurayra said, "We went out with the Messenger of Allah (saws) in the year of Khaybar.  We did not capture any gold or silver except for personal effects, clothes, and baggage.   Rifaa ibn Zayd presented a black slave boy to the Messenger of Allah (saws) whose name was Midam.   The Messenger of Allah (saws) made for Wadi'l-Qura, and when he arrived there, Midam was unsaddling the camel of the Messenger of Allah (saws)  when a stray arrow struck and killed him. The people said,   'Good luck to him! The Garden!'   The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, 'No! By He in whose hand my self is!   The cloak which he took from the spoils on the Day of Khaybar before they were distributed will blaze with fire on him.'  


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.308         Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr

There was a man who looked after the family and the belongings of the Prophet (saws) and he was called Karkara.   The man died and Allah's Apostle (saws) said, "He is in the (Hell) Fire."   The people then went to look at him and found in his place, a cloak he had stolen from the war booty.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.



Your Brother in Islam,





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