Can we still give zakat to someone if we cannot know if they are eligible or not to receive it?
January 5, 2015
Q: I want to give my zakat to relatives back in Somalia. They are calling and asking for help, telling us how hard pressed they are. I have asked my immediate family if they know whether these relatives qualify to receive zakat. They only know what they have been told by the relatives, which is that they have many difficulties and struggles. So there is no way of knowing how poor they are without asking them directly about their wealth and savings and that is rude and might cause resentment on their side. Can I still donate my zakat money to them?
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: Whilst you are not required to ask direct personal questions you should make a reasonable effort to ascertain their eligibility. If the conclusion of your reasonable effort to ascertain their eligibility is that they are indeed eligible and you give your zakat to them, your zakat will be discharged even if it later transpires that there were not actually eligible at the time.