In fact, it is every Muslim’s duty to help the oppressed people in Gaza and support them in their right cause. Paying zakah for the suffering Palestinians, who are facing the most brutal and barbaric aggression the world has ever known, is absolutely permissible.

The Egyptian House of Fatwa has issued the following fatwa: Jihad in the way of Almighty Allah is a religious rite that will last eternally until the Day of Judgment; it is also a right ensured by man-made laws as a means whereby to repel the aggressor and maintain the honor, life and property.

Lexically, ‘jihad’ means to exert one’s utmost capacity and effort, by word or by action. The noble Shari`ah has not restricted it to jihad with one’s self only; yet, there is jihad by word and jihad by money. The general religious texts on jihad refer to all that is within one’s capacity and ability, not merely jihad by sword. This is mentioned clearly in some texts, such as the verse in which Almighty Allah, speaking about the noble Qur’an, says: (… and strive with them thereby with a constantly great striving.) (Al-Furqan 25:52) On jihad by money, Almighty Allah says: (O you who have believed, shall I indicate to you a commerce that will deliver you from a painful torment? You believe in Allah and His Messenger, and strive in the way of Allah with your riches and yourselves. That is best for you in case you know.) (As-Saff 61:10, 11)

Accordingly, every Muslim who is unable to physically fight the aggressors who assail the honor and land of Muslims is religiously required to give as much of their wealth as they can, whether in kind or cash, to stop the aggression and solace the weak men, women and children who are subject to this aggression. This is to be carried out either as an individual duty or as desirable and commendable act, which is to be determined based on whether or not there is already adequate means and strength to repel the attacking enemy. The duty falls first on the people of the (attacked) country. If they do not have the adequate means and power, then those next to them and as far from them as the distance of Al-Qasr are required to extend as much help as possible to them until adequacy is already there. This distance is almost 83.5 km from all its sides. If this proves insufficient, another equal distance is added, and so on.

There are 8 categories of the eligible recipients of zakah, revealed in the verse in which Almighty Allah says: (The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.) (At-Tawbah 9:60)

It is permissible according to Shari`ah to give zakah to the Palestinians in Gaza who fall into the category “for the cause of Allah”, for it is a duty of Muslims as jihad of Ad-Daf` (self-defense) to repel the enemy. Whatever helps them survive, fight the enemy and repel the aggression is deemed a means of jihad, be it money, food or medicines. The means of jihad is not limited to weapons alone, yet it also includes all that has been mentioned.

The jurists hold the view that it is religiously allowed to give zakah to the one performing jihad in the cause of Allah, even if he is wealthy. Al-Khiraqi, the Hanbali erudite scholar, speaking about the categories of zakah, said, “And the portion ‘for the cause of Allah’ is for those who perform Ghazw (jihad). They are to be given money to buy riding animals and arms and whatever makes them powerful in the face of the enemy, even if they were wealthy.” Ibn Qudamah, who expounded it, said, “Malik, Ash-Shafi`i, Is-haq, Abu Thawr, Abu `Ubaid and Ibn Al-Mundhir held the same view.” (Al-Mughni, volume 6 , p. 333)

This ruling is based on a hadith reported by Malik in Al-Muwatta’ in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Charity is not permissible for a wealthy person, except for five…” And he mentioned among them the person who performs Ghazw in the cause of Allah. As for the poor and indigent among them –and they are many-, they deserve to receive zakah under this category and the category of the poor and the indigent, because both attributes -poverty and indigence in addition to jihad- apply on them.

Hence, the people in the occupied land, in general, are now worthier of the money of zakah, given their difficult circumstances and their pressing need for aid –particularly in Gaza Strip- which are known to all.