Paying Zakah to a person whose financial status is unknown
Q: Sometimes when people begin to distribute Zakah (obligatory charity),
or other citizens come claiming that they are poor people. Since it is impossible to know whether such people are truthful, is it permissible to give them Zakah?
Please advise, may Allah protect and guide you to all that pleases Him.
If such beggars are very likely to fall under the categories of Zakah deserving recipients which are mentioned in the Saying of Allah:
As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ’ (poor), and the Masâkin (needy) and those employed to collect (the funds)
and there are signs indicating their truthfulness, they are to be given Zakah. Conversely, if signs show that these beggars are untruthful, they must not be given Zakah. (Part No. 10; Page No. 12) However, if the beggar claims poverty and there are no signs to show whether they are truthful or not; they may be given Zakah as long as they are not physically able to earn a living. But if they are able, you are to tell the healthy beggars as the Prophet (peace be upon him) told two strong men who asked to receive Zakah money:
If you wish, I shall give you something, but there is no share in it for a rich person or for one who is strong and able to earn a living.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.