According to the Qur’an (9: 69) there are eight categories of people who are eligible for zakat:
- A) The poor (faqir): who are in total need of support and cannot make ends meet. Yet, they do not ask for support due to modesty and self-respect.
- B) The destitute (miskin): these are the people in total need of support. However, there is actually a difference of opinion as to whether a Faqir is more in need than a Miskin. Nevertheless, this difference does not change the fact that both categories are in need of support.
- C) Workers in zakat administration (al-‘amilina alaiha): these are the people who help collect and administrate zakat and take a wage from the zakat funds.
- D) Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (al-mu’allafati qulubuhum): these are people who have recently embraced Islam or are inclined to it or to prevent harbouring of hostilities toward Islam.
- E) Those in bondage (fi al-riqab): zakat money can be used to purchase a slave from his master in order to set him free.
- F) Those in debt (al-gharimin): people who are overwhelmed with debt and have no income or assets to pay off the debt. The debt must to be accrued through haram actions.
- G) For the cause of Allah (fi sabilillah): it is agreed that it refers to jihad.
H) Travellers (ibnus-sabil): a traveller who left home for a legitimate reason such as trading, for public service, hajj, etc., and they have no funds or no access to immediate funds.