Who receives Zakat?
There are eight categories of Zakat recipients to whom Zakat can be distributed. These can be identified from the following verse:
“Indeed, [prescribed] charitable offerings are only [to be given] to the
 poor and
 the needy, and
 to those who work on [administering] it, and
 to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and
 to [free] those in bondage, and
 to the debt-ridden, and
 for the cause of God, and
 to the wayfarer.
[This is] an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise.”
These eight categories can be divided into three overall categories, each with distinctive direct recipients.
The poor without support for basic needs, those in emergencies, and people needing support to become financially sustainable
1) Al-Fuqara: The Poor
This refers to those who do not own any Zakatable asset nor surplus asset which equates to the Nisab.
2) Al-Masakin: The Needy
The needy are the people whose earnings do not cover their basic needs. According to some scholars, they are those whose economic status is worse than the needy. In essence, they refer to those people who do not own any Zakatable asset nor surplus which equates to the Nisab.
5) Fir-Riqab: For those in Bondage
Zakat may be allocated to help Muslims free themselves of bondage / slavery.
6) Al-Gharimin: Those in Debt
Zakat maybe given to those in debt. Those individuals whose liabilities exceed their Zakatable and surplus assets can receive Zakat to pay off debt.
8) Ibnas-Sabil: The Wayfarer
A wayfarer refers to a traveller who left his home for a lawful purpose and for whatever good reason does not possess enough money to return home, even if he is rich in his own country.
The fourth category, Al-Mu’allafate-Qulubuhum, literally translates as ‘winning hearts’. In today’s context, this can be interpreted as advocacy. This term applies to people who have embraced Islam or who are inclined to it.
The seventh category, Fi-Sabilillah, literally translates as ‘God’s cause’, protecting and maintaining the Muslim community.
Muslim jurists differ on who or what can be covered under this category, although most seem to agree that it can be used in the defence of Islam. In the wider sense, however, this channel covers promoting the Islamic value system.
In today’s context, this can be interpreted as community development, through building faith-based understanding and through support for key community institutions.
 Zakat administrators – Al-‘Amilina ‘Alayha
Should recipients be told it is Zakat?
If you give your Zakat directly to the recipient, you do not have to tell them that it is Zakat – this may cause them to be hesitant in accepting it due to the fact that they feel they are not needy enough to accept it / doubt their eligibility as a Zakat recipient – this is sometimes caused by the lack of education on Zakat.