Q. “Can you tell precisely who is entitled to receive zakah? Can we spend the zakah money for the following purposes:
(a) In building a religious school which is a profit making concern for the operator?
(b) In buying a computer or an airconditioner for a religious or a social body?”
A. Zakah should always be given to a poor person who does not own the nisab. The nisab is 613.35 grams of silver. Any person whose surplus belongings do not reach the value of 613.35 grams silver can receive zakah. Zakah can be paid in cash or in kind, but in both cases the ownership of the property given in zakah must be transferred to a particular real person (and not a fictitious person) who is entitled to receive zakah. So, the construction of the building of a charitable institute is not a valid way of the disbursement of the zakah money, becuase in this case the property is not transferred to a particular real person. Likewise the donation of a computer or an airconditioner for a religious or a social organization cannot be made out of the zakah money. However, if these things are given to a poor person (entitled to receive zakah) by making him the owner of a computer, or of the building, the obligation of zakah is discharged.