Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
I am on the board of a local Muslim charity. Very soon, the directors are meeting to discuss whether zakat contributions can be used for campaigning activity that may benefit Muslims. For example, one plan is to sue the local government here, who prevented a land sale from going ahead that would have allowed us to build a Muslim cemetery. Another plan is to join with a national Muslim organization and use zakat funds to stop the federal government from delaying immigration applications from Muslim brothers and sisters abroad.
May we and other Muslim organizations use zakat for these political or civic purposes, given that they ultimately benefit Muslims?
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب وباللہ التوفیق
An important condition for the payment of Zakat is that a poor and deserving person should be made the owner of the Zakat property. If Muslim organizations make a poor person their owner in these activities, then it is right to use it in this way, and the Zakat of those who pay Zakat will also be paid.
If zakat is given through those organizations which do not make the poor owners of that zakat fund, or if the people to whom the zakat is given are wealthy and non-deserving, then it is not permissible to use zakat in that way. Therefore Zakat will not be paid by those who pay it, rather it will result in curse on those who unjustifiably receive it.
Per your statement, since you plan to use Zakat money to prevent litigation or avoid delay in immigration applications for Muslims, it is not permissible to use Zakat money in such activities.
) لأن الزكاة يجب فيها تمليك المال. اهـ …قال في الكشف الكبير في بحث القدرة الميسرة: الزكاة لا تتأدى إلا بتمليك عين متقومة حتى لو أسكن الفقير داره سنة بنية الزكاة لا يجزئه؛ لأن المنفعة ليست بعين متقومة. اهـ. (البحر الرائق:۲؍۲۵۲ -۲۵۳،)
فقط واللہ اعلم بالصواب