Question # 68: Is it obligatory that the giver of Zakah tells the person to whom he gives it that it is Zakah?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: The Zakah payer does not have to inform the Zakah recipient that what he received is Zakah money; but, if the recipient’s situation is not known, then Zakah payer should tell the recipient that it is Zakah so that the latter can refuse it if he/she is not entitled to it. Also, it is recommended to give charity secretly, as it takes the payer far from ostentation unless giving charity in public exhorts other people to follow his good example.
Long Answer: According to Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Ibn ‘Uthaimin “If a person gave his Zakah to one who has a right to it, if this person who has a right to it refuses the Zakah and will not accept it, then it is an obligation upon the owner of the Zakah to inform him that it is Zakah, so that he may be informed about the matter and then if he wishes, he may refuse it, and if he wishes, he may accept it. If it is his custom to accept Zakah, then it is desirable that he may not be informed, because in informing him that it is Zakah, it may be a way of reminding him of your generosity and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has said: “O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury.” (Soorah Al-Baqarah, 2:264)” (Fatawa Arkanul-Islam)
According to Shaykh Sa’d al-Humayd “if you do not know much about [the recipient’s] situation, then you should tell him that it is Zakah so that he can refuse it if he is not entitled to it.” (Islam Q&A)
Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan states that “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) mentioned from these seven kinds of people ‘: …a person who gives to charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows what he has given in charity).”‘ There are so many ahadith narrated in this respect. [Hence,] …it is recommended to give charity secretly, for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says “… But if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you …” (Soorah AI- Baqarah, 2: 271) That is because this makes the giver far from ostentation unless giving charity in public exhorts people to follow his good example…” (‘A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence’ by Dr. Salih AI-Fawzan)
According to Muhammad M. ‘Abdul-Fattah “… [one] should not tell [the recipient] that the money he is giving to him is Zakah so that be may not break his heart and hurt his feelings. It is enough that the payer of Zakah “intends” that what he is giving to that person is part of the Zakah due on him, for actions are judged only according to intentions. He may also present that Zakah to him in the form of a gift or a present or brotherly aid while intending that it is part of the Zakah. This will be sufficient for him, and Allah knows best. (‘500 Questions and Answers on Islamic Jurisprudence’ by Muhammad M. ‘Abdul-Fattah)
According to Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America “The Zakah payer does not have to inform the Zakah recipient that what he received is Zakah money.”
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.