Give zakah individually or collectively.
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:
As salam mu allai kum,
I have a question. Should Zakah be given collectively or should it be given individually. By collectively I mean by telling that, all the people should give the Zakah to one organisation and from there the money should be distributed based on the need and requirement.
Please answer my question ASAP. Please answer the question in the light of authentic Hadith.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Give zakah individually or collectively
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 none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
In the times of the Prophet (saws) and the era of the Rightly Guided Khalifahs, there was a Central Treasury or Bait-ul-maal established by the Islamic Government; and the zakah collectors appointed by the central government, would collect the zakah from the believers and deposit the zakah in the Central Treasury or Bait-ul-Maal. The Islamic Government would then distribute this zakah funds collected to the poor and needy believers of the society.
Unfortunately we live in an age today where an Islamic Khilafah is not established, and only a few Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, etc. have some sort of an ad-hoc system of collecting and distributing zakah on a central basis.
Thus although ideally it would be best and closest to the Sunnah for the zakah to be collected and distributed centrally by the Islamic State; in the absence of an Islamic State, the only available option left for the believers is to fulfill this obligatory duty unto their Lord and pay their zakah dues on an individual basis.
If one lives in an area or nation where some pious and trustworthy brothers have developed an organization which collects and distributes zakah voluntarily, there is absolutely no harm if one gives their zakah dues to them and they distribute it to the deserving believers of the society.
What is of absolute paramount importance is that each believer who is eligible to pay zakah fulfills this obligatory duty unto their Lord, regardless of whether it is done centrally or individually.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,