Praise be to Allaah.
There are eight areas in which zakaah may be
spent. These are mentioned in the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
“As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only
for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to
collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been
inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt;
and for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujaahidoon — those fighting in a holy
battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything);
a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”
What is meant by fi sabeel-Illaah (for
Allaah’s Cause) is jihad fought so that the Word of Allaah will be supreme.
So the mujaahid should be given what he needs to cover his expenses and to
The scholars said: fi sabeel-Illaah (for
Allaah’s Cause) also includes a man who devotes all his time to seeking
Islamic knowledge, so he should be given from the zakaah funds enough to
cover his expenses for clothing, food and drink, accommodation and the books
of knowledge that he needs, because Islamic knowledge is a kind of jihad for
the sake of Allaah. Indeed, Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
There is nothing like knowledge for the one whose intention is sound.
Knowledge is the foundation of the whole
religion, and there is no religion without knowledge. Allaah revealed the
Book so that mankind may keep up justice, and learn the rulings of their
religion, and the beliefs, words and deeds that are enjoined upon them.
With regard to jihad for the sake of Allaah –
yes, it is the noblest of deeds, and is indeed the pinnacle of Islam, and
there is no doubt concerning its virtue. But knowledge has a high status in
Islam, and the fact that it is included in jihad is obvious and there is no
doubt concerning that.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 337-338.
The Standing Committee was asked:
Is it permissible to give zakaah funds to
seekers of knowledge who are in desperate need?
Yes, it is permissible to give them zakaah to
meet their needs.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/17.
It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah:
The fuqaha’ are agreed that it is permissible
to give zakaah to seekers of knowledge. This was clearly stated by the
Hanafis and Shaafa’is and Hanbalis, and this is what is understood from the
Maaliki madhhab. Some of the Hanafis were of the view that it is permissible
for a seeker of knowledge to accept zakaah even if he is rich, if he is
devoting all his time to seeking knowledge and teach others, because he is
unable to earn a living otherwise.
Al-Nawawi said: If he is able to earn a
living that suits his situation, but he is too busy acquiring Islamic
knowledge to such an extent that if he were to start earning a living he
would have to stop seeking knowledge, then it is permissible for him to
receive zakaah, because seeking knowledge is a communal obligation (fard
Ibn Taymiyah was asked about someone who did
not have enough money to buy books to study. He said: It is permissible for
him to take zakaah for what he needs to buy books of knowledge that he needs
for his religious and worldly interests.
Al-Buhooti said: Perhaps that is included in
the areas where zakaah may be given, because that comes under the heading of
what the seeker of knowledge needs, so it is like his other expenses. The
fuqaha’ said that it is permissible to give zakaah to seekers of Islamic
The Hanafis clearly stated that it is
permissible to transfer zakaah from one land to another to give it to a
seeker of knowledge.
Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/337.
And Allaah knows best.