Date : 02-04-2015

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia on giving the Zakaah of cash in the form of food parcels?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and righteous companions.

Zakahh(obligatory charity) is the third pillar of Islam, and Islam has legislated it to protect the weak categories of society, such as the poor and needy. It is taken from the rich and given to its eligible recipients. Allah's Apostle said to Mu'adh when he sent him to Yemen, "You will go to the people of the Scripture. So, when you reach there, invite them to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Apostle. And if they obey you in that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in each day and night. And if they obey you in that tell them that Allah has made it obligatory on them to pay the Zakat which will be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor among them. If they obey you in that, then avoid taking the best of their possessions, and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”{Bukhari&Muslim}.

Allah has made Zakahh obligatory on all types of wealth such as gold, silver, cash, cattle, crops, fruits, items of merchandise and the like.

The Zakaah on each item must be given from its kind, except that due on items of merchandise, which must be given in their value, and this is in accordance with the opinion of the majority of Muslim jurists. However, the Hanafite scholars permit giving the Zakaah due on cash in its value because it is more beneficial to the poor. Therefore, they allowed giving the Zakaah in the form of food parcels to be distributed amongst the poor. Still, if the Zakaah was given in the form of cooked food and offered to the poor, then it isn`t acceptable, and the Zakaah remains due on the giver, before Allah.

Consequently, it is permissible to authorize Takyat Um Ali(charitable organization) to give the Zakaah as food parcels to be distributed amongst the poor and needy, and this is the opinion of the Hanafite scholars. And Allah knows best.