خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَاIn Medina, the Prophet (saw) used to send su'aat (people who collected the zakat) to collect it from the Muslim tribes.
"Take alms (zakat) out of their wealth, so that thou may cleanse them and purify them thereby." (Qur'an 9:103)
أَعْلِمْهُم أَنَّ اللهَ افْتَرَضَ عَلَيْهِم صَدَقَةً تُؤْخَذُ مِنْ أَغْنِيَائِهِم، وَتُرَدُ عَلَى فُقَرَائِهِمThe instruction here is in the imperative form of (خذ) take (تؤخذ) should be collected. So the Prophet (saw) or the political ruler after him is required to take the zakat from Muslims.
"Tell them Allah has made the payment of Zakat obligatory upon them. It should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor." (Bukhari and Muslim)
ٌفَأَمَرُونِي جَمِيعًا أَنْ أَدْفَعَهَا إِلَى السُلْطَانِ ومَا اخْتَلَفَ عَلَيَّ مِنْهُم أَحد
"They all ordered me to pay it to the Sultan, and no one of them rejected that." (Nawawi, al-Majmu', Vol. 6, p. 136)
اسْتُدِلَ بِهِ عَلَى أَنَّ الإِمَامَ هُوَ الّذِي يَتَوَلَى قَبْضَ الزَكَاةِ وَصَرْفَهَا إِمَّا بِنَفْسِهِ وإمَّا بِنَائِبِهِ فَمَن امْتَنَعَ مِنْهَا أُخِذَتْ مِنْهُ قَهْرًا.Nawawi proclaimed it is prescribed (wajib) on the Imam to collect zakat:
"it is considered an evidence that the Imam is the one who is required to receive the zakat and distribute it by himself or by his representative. So whoever refused to pay his zakat (to the Imam), he is to be forced to pay it." (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, Vol. 3, p. 23, Shawkani, Nayl al-Awttar, Vol. 4, p. 124)
ْوَيَجِبُ عَلَى الإِمَامِ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ السُعَاةَ لِأَخْذِ الصَدَقَةَ لأَنَّ النَبِي صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَمَ والخُلَفَاء مِنْ بَعْدِهِ كَانُوا يَبْعَثُونَ السُعَاةَ ... فَوَجَبَ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ وَيَأْخُذ.The jurists classify money into two categories: hidden money (baatin) and apparent money (dhahir). The baatin is money no one is aware of but the owner and the dhahir is the known trade and property. Most scholars, if not all, agree on the right of the Imam to take zakat of dhahir money and distribute it. However, they disagreed on the baatin.
"It is mandatory upon the Imam to send zakat collectors, because the Prophet (saw) and the Caliphs (ra) after him used to send zakat collectors. … So it is mandatory upon him to send (collectors) and take (the zakat)." (al-Majmu', Vol. 6, p. 167)
يُسْتَحَبُ لِلإِنْسَانِ أَنْ يَلِي تَفْرِقَةَ الزَاكاةِ بِنَفْسِهِ ... سَوَاءٌ كَانَتْ الأَمْوَال ظَاهِرَةً أَوْ بَاطِنَةً. قَالَ الإِمَامُ أَحْمَد: أَحَبُ إِلَيَّ أَنْ يُخْرِجَهَا وَإِنْ دَفَعَهَا إِلَى السُلْطَانِ فَهُوَ جَائِز.It was also narrated (by as-Sha'bi and Abi Ja'far) that Ahmed said it is recommended to pay the dhahir money to the Sultan (al-Madani, Aejaz al-Masalik ala Muwatta' Malik, Vol. 10, p. 304).
"It is recommended for a man to distribute his zakat by himself … whether this zakat is of a dhahir or battin money. Imam Ahmed said: I prefer for him to distribute it by himself, but if it is permissible to pay it to the Sultan." (al-Mughni, Vol. 2, pp. 641-644)
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَاِبْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌSo such categories can't be fully acknowledged by individuals, so it is better to have a form of collective work. Thus classical scholars have consensus on the permission of having a representative to pay the zakat whether to the Imam or (disagreeable) directly to the poor. This representative could be an individual or a collective entity. This entity is to be trustworthy, non-fictional (e.g., not a limited liability company) and an identifiable entity.
"The alms (zakat) are only for the poor and the needy, and for those employed in connections therewith, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and for the freeing of slaves, and for those in debt, and for the cause of ALLAH, and for the wayfarer - an ordinance from ALLAH. And ALLAH is All-Knowing, Wise." (Qur'an 9:60)
ِلَهُ أَنْ يُوَكِلَ فِي صَرْفِ الزَكَاةِ الّتِي لَهُ تَفْرِيقُهَا بِنَفْسِهThe Hanbali jurist Ibn Qudamah (ra) said:
"He is allowed to have a representative (wakil) in distributing the zakat that he is allowed to personally distribute (i.e. battin money)." (al-Majmu', Vol. 6, p. 138)
وأَمَّا العِبَادَاتِ، فَمَا كَانَ مِنْهَا لَهُ تَعَلُقٌ بِالمَالِ، كَالزَكَاةِ والصَدَقَاتِ والمَنْذُورَاتِ والكَفْارَاتِ، جَازَ التَوْكِيلُ فِي قَبْضِهَا وتَفْرِيقِهَاImam Shirazi (ra) said:
"As for the rituals, such as zakat, alms, vows in dedication to Allah and Atonements, he is allowed to have a representative to receive and distribute it." (al-Mughni, Vol. 5, p. 206)
ْوأَمَّا حُقُوق اللهِ عزَّ وَجَلْ فَمَا كَانَ مِنْهَا عِبَادَةً لَا يَجُوزُ التَوْكِيلَ فِيهَا اِلَا فِي الزَكَاةِ والحَجWhilst some scholars of madhahib (Hanbali) stipulated that the entity must be a Muslim one, others (Hanafi, Shafi'i and some Hanbalis) said it is allowed to have a non-Muslim representative only to deliver it to the determined poor and this not Muslim is not allowed to choose the poor himself. The former is more obvious and prior.
"In terms of the rights of Almighty Allah, representation (wikalah) is not allowed in ibadah (rituals) except in zakat and hajj." (at-Tanbih fi al-Fiqh ash-Shafi'i, p. 108)
Burhanburi, a Hanafi jurist, said in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah:يَجُوزُ التَوْكِيلَ فِي دَفْعِ الزَكَاةِ وَهُوَ صَحِيحٌ لَكِنْ يُشْتَرَطُ فِيهِ أَنْ يَكُونَ ثِقَةً، نَّصَ عَلَيِهِ [يَعْنِي الإِمَامُ أَحْمَد] , وأَنْ يَكُونَ مُسْلِمًا."Representation of zakat is permitted, but the representative must be trustworthy and Muslim, as Imam Ahmed said." (Marudi, al-Insaf, Vol. 3, p. 197)
َوَلَوْ دَفَعَهَا إِلَى الذِمِي لِيَدْفَعَهَا إِلَى الفُقَرَاءِ جَازBaghawi, a Shafi'i scholar, said:
"If he gave it to a dhimmi (a non-Muslim citizen in a Muslim country) in order to deliver it to the poor is permitted." (Barnahaburi, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah, Vol. 1, p. 188)
ِويَجُوزُ أَنْ يُوَكِلَ عَبْدًا أَوْ كَافِرًا فِي إِخْرَاجِ الزَكَاة.
"It is permitted (ja'iz) to have a non-Muslim or a slave representative of distributing zakat." (Nawawi, al-Majmu', Vol. 6, p. 138)
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