Equal distribution amongst categories
Majority of the schools of Fiqh view that distribution of Zakat does not need to cover all the categories above. However, some scholars view that when there are plenty of funds and deserving people in all categories above, distribution of Zakat must serve all of these.
How much Zakat to give
There are two opinions on this matter:
- An individual should be given enough for him and his family and those under his care for a year – in accordance to their society and quality of life in that country.
- They should be given enough so as not to be in need next year.
There are two differences that arise between scholars and Muslim jurists on the above. The first view is to give the maximum, sufficient enough to satisfy the essential needs of the needy, without determining any specific amount. The second view is to give a specific amount.
According to Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the first view seems to be more consistent with the texts and objectives of Zakat. Two major opinions may be derived in this regard, i.e. to give what satisfies essential needs for the lifetime or only for one year.
Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) was once asked what to do with the Zakat collected from bedouin Arabs. He answered, “By Allah, I shall render the sadaqah to themselves, until each of them becomes the owner of a hundred camels, male or female.” (Al Mussannaf Abdur Razzaq)
In another incident, Umar (RA) declared “When you give, make [the recipient] rich.” (Al Amwal)
Intention when discharging Zakat
Our intention for distributing Zakat is a pre-requisite when discharging it. It must be remembered that Zakat is an act of worship and all acts of worship require an intention. Our intentions, as with everything in Islam, must be pure.