Prima facie, this meta-category equates to emergency funds for those stranded in a foreign land, having lost the means to return home. Ibn al-Humam (d.861 AH) discusses how a resident who is stranded also all falls under the purview of this meta-category. The ibn al-Sabil is therefore a person who is stranded in a temporary emergency. They are not in their optimal state. This sudden state has left them at the mercy of some. Zakat is an emergency response to aid such a person. Zakat is used to empower such an individual and get them to their optimal state again. Of course, it is important that we highlight how this serves the collective. Aiding travellers back to their domicile helps them to return to contributing to their societies and uplifting their communities. Additionally, it serves to undermine destitution where stranded individuals require far more resources from the community in the long run. Where we consider this meta-category to represent emergency funds, including for those domicile within the country, it is reasonable to assert that the communal benefit comes in the shape of returning the state of citizens back to normality where markets function normally, society recovers from the instability, and public revenue continues to be generated.
Reviewed on 22/11/2021