Question 14: Sometimes we give out the soul-purifying Zakaat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) to the Fuqaha` (Muslim jurists) following this Madh-hab (School of jurisprudence), and at other times to the needy.
Answer: Allaah (Exalted be He) has enjoined one sort of Zakaah (obligatory charity) to be taken from the wealthy whose property has reached the Nisaab (the minimum account on which Zakaah is due) or more. This Zakaah is taken from the wealthy to be given to the poor and the rest of the eight deserving recipients of Zakaah whom Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has specified in Soorah Al-Tawbah, saying: Al-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and the Masaakeen (needy) and those employed to collect (the funds), and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islaam), and to free the captives, and for those in debt, and for Allaah’s Cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise. So, if a Muslim has given their Zakaah to any of these categories or to the ruler, they shall have fulfilled their duty. A Muslim is also permitted to give some of their Zakaah to the ruler and the rest to some of these categories, unless the ruler demands it all. However, it is Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islaamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and groundless to enjoin the wealthy to give the Zakaah twice: once to the ruler and again to any given person like a Faqeeh (Muslim jurist). This is an unjust act that must be avoided. I have been informed that some people assign an amount of money to be taken from their wealth as a due obligation for the benefit of some shaykh belonging to a Sufi order. The amount assigned is one-fifth of one’s wealth, and such shaykhs say: This is the fifth of the booty due on people. Also, they regard the properties of Shee`ah (Shi’ites) as Ghaneemah (war-booty). Actually all these obligations are void and have nothing to do with the pure Sharee`ah (Islaamic law). As for the one-fifth which Allaah (Exalted be He) has mentioned in the Aayah (Qur’aanic verse) that reads: And know that whatever of war-booty that you may gain, verily one-fifth (1/5th) of it is assigned to Allaah, and to the Messenger, and to the near relatives [of the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم)], (and also) the orphans, Al-Masaakeen (the poor) and the wayfarerit refers to a one-fifth of the properties Muslims take from the Kaafirs (disbelievers) as a Ghaneemah after defeating them… read more here.