In Islam, 3% of your income goes directly to the poor
which can include a relative.
Well, 2.5% of *some* kinds of wealth goes to the poor and other qualified recipients, but what MGhounem says about "a relative" could easily be misinterpreted. It appears that there is consensus that zakat may not be given -- on the basis of poverty -- to whomever one has an obligation to support. All include in this category parents, children, and wife. [I don't know if they include the husband, but probably not, I would think since I suspect that they would say a wife
is not obligated to support her husband.] All but the Malikis include, as well, grandparents and grandchildren. There is consensus that it is valid to give the poor-due to other deserving relatives.

If, however, a parent or child falls into one of the other categories of the legitimate recipients of zakat, such as the collectors of it, the debtors, or the traveller, etc., it becomes lawful to give it to them, though it remains preferable to give it to others and give to the needy parent or child in addition.

>It has been calculated that 3% of the wheat in the world would feed all the
>starving people.

Perhaps; it would not surprise me. But the problem is not the amount of wheat, there is plenty of wheat, but is one of *distribution.* To move a kilo of wheat from a farm in Kansas to a poor person in, say, Bangladesh would certainly cost much more than the wheat itself. If the wheat is collected and moved in large quantities, that cost would be greatly lowered, I am not sure by how much, but it would still be
very significant.

>This system of the Believer to hand the 3% directly to the poor is the

>In giving the 3% to the poor, you avoid corruption, fore as we know, money can

The brother's argument has this much to say for it: he is right about corruption. But there are two problems with his proposal, even though I personally would prefer it, were it not for these problems.

The lesser of these problems *in our time* is that it seems that certain tribes may have had an idea similar to that of the brother, and Abu Bakr fought those, considering them apostate. So if there is a khalif, it becomes obligatory to pay the zakat to the khalif.

There is no obligatory khalif in our time, that is, no single person to whom all the Muslims are obligated to give their allegiance, but it is my opinion that if one *does* give allegiance to a person in a way analogous to the allegiance to a khalif, the giving of zakat for distribution as ordered by that person becomes obligatory.

And some would argue that the giving of such allegiance is also obligatory, if any suitable recipient is available. This is a
difficult problem, though, and I am not pretending to have clear answers, only a few poorly-organized thoughts, which time will not allow me to fully present, maa shaa'a llah.

But before I turn to my *own* obligations, only a few of which are satified by what I write in this newsgroup, I will explain what I see as the second problem.

It will not reach the poor in remote areas, for the most part, unless the giver of zakat has sufficient resources not only to identify these people but to transport aid to them. For these poor, the collection of zakat by organizations is a practical necessity. Obviously, one should take care in choosing organizations, but if one has done that, any loss of the zakat becomes the full responsibility of those who misappropriate it; and Allah will provide for the poor even if thieves make off with all the zakat; whatever difficulties they face in this world, if they are among those who trust in Allah and his justice, will be more than fully balanced by the reward they receive in the next; and the thieves will find that they sold an affair of great value for a few grains of wheat.

I suspect that it was for this reason that the Prophet, SAS,
reportedly, did not question those who asked for zakat or ask for proof of their poverty, saying to them "If you like I will give it to you, for there is no share in it for one who is well provided or one who makes an earning."

AbdulraHman Lomax

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