Should Zakah be given to the Red Crescent Society?

Fatwa no. 19551 All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets.Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has been briefed on what has come to His Eminence, the public Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) from Chair of Saudi Red Crescent, Dr. `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Suwailim which has been transferred to the committee from Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars no. 1739 dated 24/3/1418A.H. The questioner asked: Your Eminence knows that the association of the Saudi Red Crescent is a charitable organization according to its principal regulations, sanctioned and stamped by the royal decree no. M14 dated 12/4/1386 A.H. It has been called: the Association of Aid Charity whose services were limited to the pilgrims of the Holy House of Allah. However, now its services are covering the whole Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia). Its branches are 152 centers which provide aid to the sick and the injured of car accidents and hospitalize the sick people who are in need of the hospital facilities and contribute to dealing with catastrophe and relief programs. (Part No. 8; Page No. 434) Benevolent people and lovers of righteous deeds in our country are numerous and ask about the possibility of donating some of their Zakah (obligatory charity) to the association to contribute to the injured rescue efforts. It may also be included in one of the types of Zakah mentioned in the Holy Book of Allah. Therefore, I beg Your Eminence, and you are known for charitable contributions and initiatives, to look into the possibility whether it is the association's right to take the Zakah money and spend it only on aid and relief programs. I also look forward to the contribution of the benevolent and righteous people to the association's activities which willingly implement the saying of Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He): ...if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. I pray to Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) to reward you and put this in your record of righteous deeds.

A: It is not permissible to spend Zakah except on the eight categories which Allah (Exalted be He) mentioned in His Holy Book. Allah (Exalted be He) says: As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ’ (poor), and the Masâkin (needy) and those employed to collect (the funds), and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islâm), and to free the captives, and for those in debt, and for Allâh’s Cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything) Your association is not included in these categories, because the injured include rich people and non-Muslims and the equipment and medicines are not included in these categories, (Part No. 8; Page No. 435) because their uses are for the injured in general and not limited to the poor.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.