Thanks for making that clear. I’ll see what I can do about my Zakat, InshAllah.
My follow up questions is: Can Muslims only give their Zakat to other Muslims?
This question has been the source of a lot of arguing for people close to me, InshAllah I hope you can justify the answer with Quran quotes (If not, then that’s fine as well, but if I’m going into a friendly argument, it’d be best to have my facts straight from the Holy source)
Q2) If a muslim cannot give sakat to a nonmuslim then what can we give em?
q)3) do muslims give money to nonmuslims at all. If not zakat then what??
A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
Point 1) It is the sunnah and practice for Muslims to give money and services towards the uplifting of all communities, be they non-Muslims or Muslims. (Kindly see Spanish history with respect to Muslim Moors.) With regards to money, the money Muslims can render towards non-Muslims, it can be monies from sources other than the Sacred zakah. Zakah is a command of Allah to be given in a manner that Allah prefers. Such a preference has been sanctioned from the beginning of Islam. Our money is not ours; it is a loan from Allah to be used as Allah most prefers. The khulafa-Rashideen and those who followed made this matter clear through model of example. They too gave assistance to non-Muslims (Please don’t come with a wimpy ‘times have changed’ comment.’ I know times have changed; I do drive a car, you know! or ‘the ayah 60 in Surah 9 says so!’ I know, I memorized it too! or ‘this is America;’ I know, I went through the paper work process,I also know what Muslims gave and left behind in spain!)
Point 2) Zakah can be given in any of all of the categories as outlined in the Quran. Amongst them is a category that refers to the one ‘whose heart is inclined.’ One would notice that this category is not at the onset of the ayah. Its towards the middle. Even Shawafees as a whole have let go of following this ayah sequentially and have through general consensus given preference to giving first towards the poor, orphans, etc. within the faith. Majority have taken towards this as well.
Point 3) ‘Hearts that are inclined’ means that one who is inclined toward wanting to become a Muslim. Not merely tolerant towards Muslims or merely kind towards Muslims. For if kindness or tolerance was the mere criteria, then even non-humans put up with you and I. Nor am I saying giving money to bribe a person to become a Muslim either. Thus, Zakah can be used on those non-Muslims who are inclined towards Islam and are borderline cases and on the verge of conversion. By way of example, they are nice to you, do not antagonize you, come to your prayer sessions, etc. all with regularity and a showing of good faith.
Point 4) Majority are of the opinion that since zakah is a special ‘giving’ it must be used primarily on Muslims, particularly closest is family first then outwards on the family range, neighbors, etc. etc.
Point 5) It is best for an Islamic country to make this decision. As for Muslims in the west, it would be better to give what is excess of the zakah to our neighbors who are not Muslims. Giving out of what is not zakah is not at all forbidden, so why not go for the extra added reward of sadaqah and/or lillah? Voluntary sadaqah is known to cool the wrath of Allah, and has no such restrictions as the obligatory giving of zakah.
Point 6) Many who want to give non-Muslims zakah seem too selfish in wanting to give monies that are over and above the zakah. If you give from what Allah has given you, Allah would give you more. Setting priorities would be important, attaining a proper perspective of phrases as defined by the true scholars of religion would prove beneficial.
Point 7) It is not fair to argue on matters that you know little about. Such arguments are driven by the ego and/or the dictates of the whispers of Shaytan, more so when done on matters that are sensitive to one’s faith. I do thank you for wanting clarity. May our Creator Bless you and make us all do the right thing in the right manner at the right time, Ameen.
Allah Certainly Knows Best.