Allah Almighty mentioned in the Quran eight categories who are eligible to receive zakat. In Surah at-Tawbah we read:
۞ إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌۭ
“Alms-tax is only for the poor and the needy, for those employed to administer it, for those whose hearts are attracted ˹to the faith˺, for ˹freeing˺ slaves, for those in debt, for Allah’s cause, and for ˹needy˺ travellers. ˹This is˺ an obligation from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” 9:60
These eight categories are:
1. The poor, one who begs and asks around and whose need is so obvious to others.
2. The dignified needy, one whose need is not obvious to others but does not go around asking.
3. The zakat collectors, those who are employed to administer the zakat in collection and distribution.
4. Those whose hearts are inclined to the faith, Muslims and non-Muslims.
5. Freeing slaves.
6. Those who are in debt due to their financial commitment to others.
7. For Allah’s cause.
8. For the wayfarer and needy travelers.
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