To Whom Zakat Al-Fitr Is Paid?
By the end of Ramadan, Muslims anticipate a great reward for their devotion and dedication to their Creator, Almighty Allah. Muslims earnestly implore Allah to accept their fasting. Zakat Al-Fitr is meant to alleviate the pain of the poor and to cultivate the sense of brotherhood and solidarity among the Muslim community.
As far as Islamic Sharia is concerned, Zakat Al-Fitr can be paid to the poor or the needy or any or all of the categories of those to whom Zakat Al-Mal is given.
On this issue, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor, states,
1. The principle is that Zakat Al-Fitr can be given to any and all the eight categories to whom Zakat Al-Mal is given as mentioned in Verse 9:60. There is a view (the Malikites and Ibn Taymiyah from the Hanbalites, that it is only to the poor and needy.) In practice, in our time of famine and hunger in many parts of the Muslim world, I would say that both Zakat Al-Fitr and Zakat Al-Mal should be given, as much as possible, to the poor and needy, especially those who are under poverty and foreign military occupation.
2. I would not consider families that eat daily meals comfortably but with low-income as automatically deserving Zakat Al-Fitr or Zakat Al-Mal. But I am fully aware that there are Muslim families who deserve it in some communities on the basis of poverty. There are families who have trouble with immigrations and because of that have troubles with working and earning and with getting a welfare support from the government, too. Many of these may deserve under the title of poverty in America. We still must not deny the priority of people who are literally dying out of hunger or lack of medicine in many Muslim countries and those who are deprived of their own resources by foreign military occupation.