Is it permissible to pay Zakah

Q 1: Zakah (obligatory charity) on wealth: 1. The Nisab (the minimum amount on which Zakah is due) of gold and silver is not seen as being stable now. Is the Nisab calculated according to the price of gold and silver? Scholars have different views as to whether the rates of gold and silver should be calculated in paper currency, i.e. banknotes, and the most exact and useful way to calculate the Nisab? 2. Who are the people in Sri Lanka who belong to the eight categories of people stated in the Qur'an as having a right to Zakah? 3. Should Zakah be distributed equally to all the categories? For example, if there are six categories of people deserving Zakah, and there are 600 rupees, should we divide this money equally so each category can have 100 rupees? 4. Is it permissible to distribute a larger share to one category and not the others? For instance, if there are many poor and needy people, can we give them the biggest share and give smaller shares to the other categories? 5. Is it obligatory to give Zakah to all the categories? 6. Can we give Zakah to some categories and overlook the others based on the available money of Zakah? 7. Is it obligatory to give Zakah to at least three people from each category? 8. Or may we give an adequate sum of money to one person of a given category to enable them to gain more benefit from the money, by using it in business, for example, and so on? 9. Is it permissible to buy a piece of land, build a house, engage in business with the Zakah money, or spend it on work-based equipment? 10. Is it permissible to give Zakah to educational institutions and Masjids (mosques)? (Part No. 10; Page No. 53

A: The Nisab of gold is fixed at 20 gold Mithqals (1 Mithqal = 4.25 grams), and the Nisab of silver is 200 dirhams (a dirham of silver equals 2.975 grams of silver). According to the Saudi currency, the Nisab of silver is therefore 56 silver Saudi riyals. 2. According to the soundest view of scholars, it is not obligatory to distribute Zakah to all the eight categories mentioned in the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) about Zakah distribution in Surah Al-Tawbah. It is permissible to give Zakah to some of the eight categories, because they are only mentioned in the Ayah to explain to whom should we give Zakah, not to make them all obligatory. 3. The poor and needy should be given what suffices them for one year or what makes their income sufficient for one year. The same applies to the other categories. So those employed to administer Zakah should be paid their wages from it. Also, Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum (those whose hearts are inclined to Islam) should be given money from Zakah to increase their affinity to Islam or acceptance of it. Likewise, a Mukatab (a slave with an agreement to buy their freedom) deserves to be given from Zakah to help towards their freedom. Also, the Mujahid (one striving/fighting in the Cause of Allah) deserves to be given what will serve their purpose. Similarly, the wayfarers deserve to be given what will help them to get home. 4. It is not permissible to spend Zakah on categories other than those mentioned in the Ayah. Thus, it should not be used for any of the purposes mentioned in the question; (Part No. 10; Page No. 54) such as for building houses, buying lands, trading, and so on.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.