It is permissible to give a Muslim’s Zakat to poor coronavirus patients to help them pay for their treatment and other needs, said Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Haddad, Grand Mufti and Director of Ifta at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai.
The Mufti, however, said it’s not allowed to give the Zakat money to an institution such as a hospital for it to spend on equipment or spend on its employees, because Zakat is supposed to be for individual who deserve it.
Hospitals can be donated to through Sadaqah, which is voluntary charity a Muslim gives freely, without being obligated to do it.
Meanwhile, Zakat is the third pillar of Islam along with the daily five prayers, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, Hajj (pilgrimage) and belief in Allah and His Messenger Prophet Mohammed.
It is meant to be a way to fight poverty and alleviate the suffering of the needy, leading to social solidarity in general.
It is an annual obligation for all adult Muslims who earn a minimum amount of money each year, known as Nisab.
Nisab is the monetary value of 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver. Therefore, it varies depending on current prices and currencies.
A Muslim should have had the Nisab for an entire Zakat year. The Prophet said: “There is no Zakat on funds until it has completed Al Hawl.”
Al Hawl is one Hijri year, i.e. 12 lunar months (354 days).
Once a Muslim is eligible to pay Zakat, he or she must pay 2.5 percent of Nisab when Al Hawl has elapsed.
Zakat and coronavirus
The Mufti said that it is permissible to give Zakat earlier amid the spread of the coronavirus, as a public service to help the poor and needy fulfill their needs.
It is permissible to give Zakat money to any Muslim who suffered due to the coronavirus, on the condition that they be poor.
A poor person who lost his/her job due to the coronavirus and doesn’t have savings or an alternative source of income is entitled to Zakat, whether he/she was a relative, or a neighbor you did or did not know.
The Mufti stressed that relatives are more deserving of a Muslim’s Zakat, so long as they fit the criteria.