I live in a non-Muslim country,

Q: Someone who resides in Saudi Arabia mails the amount of Zakah (obligatory charity) to his relatives living in Egypt. However, this amount was lost and did not reach those who deserve the Zakah. Should the Zakah be paid again or not? Is Zakat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) offered on polished or unpolished rice?

A: First, the basic principle is that Zakah should be paid in the country where the Zakah money exists. However, it is permissible to transfer the Zakah to another country (Part No. 9; Page No. 421) if there are no poor people in the country where the Zakah money exists, if the country to which the Zakah is transferred is in more need of it or if there is a poor relative of the one who is paying the Zakah in this country. The amount of Zakah that was lost before reaching those to whom it is due, should be paid again by the money owner for he is responsible [in front of Allah] until the money reaches those who deserve it. Second, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated the types of food which are given for Zakat-ul-Fitr. `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) narrated that: The Prophet (peace be upon him) has imposed Zakat- ul-Fitr in Ramadan, (and it was) either one Sa` of dates or one Sa` of barley. Moreover, Abu Sa`id Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that: During the lifetime of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) we used to pay Zakat- ul-Fitr as one Sa`of food, one Sa` of barley, one Sa`of cheese, one Sa` of dried dates or one Sa` of raisins. Thus, Zakat-ul-Fitr is given from these types of food and the like that is used as foodstuff, and it is impermissible to give something which is defective.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!