Question 6 : Assalamu alaikum, Jazak Allah Khairan for providing this forum.
I pray it is ok for me to ask a question about Zakat as well. Is it permissible for Zakat to send your money to an organisation who will convert your money to food and send it to the poor ?
Answer : Walaikumussalam Wa rahmatullah ,
I assume you mean what you wrote, ie Zakat and not Zakat ul Fitr. As for Zakat ul Fitr that of course has to be given as food. So we can send money to an organisation who buy food overseas and give it as food.
But as for Zakat of wealth, if it is some farmer’s grains produced its share being given, then it will be as given as food. But if it is Zakat on gold, silver or currency, then its zakat is best to be given in that form, ie as gold, silver and currency.
Can the Zakat distributor buy food with this Zakat money and give it as food? My understanding is that it should not be done like that, rather the currency itself should be handed over to the poor such that they know best their most immediate urgent needs and will be able to buy it, and that may not be food. Giving zakat by us purchasing food for them is denying them the right they have to spend that wealth on what Allah has given them freedom to spend on. We do not have a right to deny them this right. Hence we should not buy food and give zakat of wealth as food. One exception that comes to mind is if they did not have food even for the upcoming meal, plus if given money they did not have anywhere to buy simple basic food from, in that case we can give them zakat as food and still it will be better to ask their permission whether to buy food from their money. The money is their right, nothing can be bought from that money without their permission.
So basically my understanding is that the organisation converting monetary zakat into food and thus giving zakat as food is effectively denying them of their rights in that wealth to do as they need, and thus ought not to be done and I personally would not do that way.
Allah knows best as to what is correct that pleases Him.