• EN (English)
Fatwa ID: 9991
Title: Zakat-eligibility of research-based organizations
Category: Poor-due or obligatory charity (Zakaah)
Scholar: AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee
Date: 05/01/2019

Is it permissible to pay Zakat to an American non-profit organization whose purpose is to gather detailed information on the Muslim communities in the West? They do this via surveys and questionnaires and gather very detailed information which they then make available on their website and can be used for many different purposes.

The principle regarding the expenditures of Zakat is limitation to the eight categories mentioned in the verse: {Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.} [Surah Al-Tawbah 9:60] However, some past scholars believed much can fall under the term “and for the cause of Allah,” and many contemporary scholars believe it includes protecting the interests of Islam and the Muslims, da`wah, intellectual efforts, and any related projects that promote them. This was also the conclusion reached by the Islamic Fiqh Council in their 8th conference. Therefore, if the work done by this organization and others like it, which includes gathering detailed and beneficial information concerning Muslims and making them available to those involved in da`wah, think tanks, and policy makers, serves those objectives, then it is eligible to receive Zakat - according to this opinion. In conclusion, AMJA would like to remind all organizations which receive Zakat and benefit from charity of the importance of attentively adhering to the parameters set by the Shariah on receiving and spending Zakat in the correct fashion.