The following was found on the Islamic Circle of North America explaining who Shar’ ia permits to receive Zakat. H/T The Counter Jihad Report. The Qur’ an specifically enumerates who may receive zakat in At-Taubah 9:60:
“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara’ (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun – those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.”
There are two things to keep in mind. First, ICNA has a ICNA Relief USA is considered fi-Sabilillah which means the zakat can be used by the entire organization. In addition, CAIR has been declared fi-Sabilillah which refers to beneficial works and projects that are of common benefit to the ummah: http://www.cair.com/Zakat.aspx. ICNA is correct that zakat can be used for jihad and interestingly, CAIR quotes At-Taubah 9:60 as well to justify its position as zakat worthy.
2. Masakeen: Persons of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
3. Aamileen: (Zakat collector) Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakat. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
4. Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
5. Ar-Riqaab: slaves whose maters have agreed to set them free on a payment of a fixed amount. Zakat may be used to purchase their freedom.
6. Ibnus-Sabeel: A traveler, who, whilst wealthy at his residence, is stranded and in need of financial assistance.
7. Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceeds his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.
8. Fi Sabeelillah: Those who are away from home in the path of Allah. Those in Jihaad, those seeking knowledge or a stranded Haji may be assist with Zakat if they are in need.
1. Zakat cannot be given to parents, grandfather, etc., or to one’s children and grandchildren. A husband and wife cannot give Zakat to each other.
2. Zakat contributions cannot be given to such institutions or organizations who do not give the rightful recipients (Masaarif) possession of Zakat, but instead use Zakat funds for construction, investment or salaries.
3. Zakat cannot be given to non-Muslims. The same ruling applies to Waajib Sadaqah, i.e., Sadaqatul Fitr, Kaffarah, Ush’r and Naz’r. Naf’l Sadaqah could be given to non-Muslims.
4. If one cannot determine whether the recipient is needy or not, then it is better to make certain before giving him Zakat. If Zakat is given without inquiry and subsequently it is known that the recipient is wealthy the Zakat is not valid. It has to be given again.
5. Zakat will not be fulfilled by purchasing books for an institution, or land purchased for public utility and made Wak’f.
6. Zakat cannot be used for the Kaf’n of a deceased person who has no heirs, because at that time he/she cannot become the owner.
7. A dead person’s debt cannot be paid from Zakat.
2. A person that does not own an amount equal to the value of Nisab is known as Faqir. This person could be given Zakat and it is permissible for him to accept it.
3. If a person owns wealth which in value exceeds the amount of Nisab, but this wealth is not intended for business nor does he require it for his daily needs, such a person is regarded as well-to-do and should not be given Zakat.
4. The books of a scholar or tools of a tradesman are among his necessities, irrespective of their value. Besides these if he does not own wealth equal to Nisab, he could be given Zakat.
5. When giving Zakat, Sadaqah, etc., one’s poor and needy relatives should be given preference. To avoid embarrassing them, it should be given to them without saying that it is Zakat or Sadaqah.
6. There is great thawab (reward) in giving Zakat to poor persons who are striving in the way of the Deen or those who are engaged in religious knowledge, or to religious institutions where poor or needy students are being cared for. Care should be taken that only such institutions are given Zakat where it is used according to the Shariah.
7. A child of a wealthy father cannot be given Zakat. When such a child becomes mature in age, and does not own wealth to the value of Nisab, he may then be given Zakat.
8. Zakat can be given to: brother, sister, nephew, niece (brothers’ and sisters’ children), uncle, aunt (both paternal and maternal), step-grandfather, step-grandmother, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.