Recent Interpretations of the Laws of Zak?t with Regard to People with Disabilities: A Comparison with Classical Fiqh


  • Vardit Rispler-Chaim University of Haifa



Islamic law, contemporary fatwas, disability, zakat


Zak?t is considered the earliest social solidarity system that does not depend on voluntary charity but on orderly periodic government support. In this article I trace interpretations of the zak?t laws on people with disabilities in the past and the present in respect of two main questions: is a disabled person subject to zak?t taxation? and does a disabled person qualify as a beneficiary of funds collected through the zak?t taxation? The main conclusions are that if and when the economic situation of people with disabilities is similar to that of the healthy, they are subject to taxation. People with disabilities become beneficiaries of zak?t funds only when they are “poor,” “needy,” and unable to support themselves, but never only because of the disability.

Author Biography

Vardit Rispler-Chaim, University of Haifa

Vardit Rispler-Chaim is Associate Professor in the Department of Arabic language and Literature, at the University of Haifa, Israel.


?Abd al-?Az?z, Am?r. 2000. Al-Tafs?r al-Sh?mil lilQur??n al-Kar?m (A thorough commentary of the noble Qur?an). Nablus: D?r al-Sal?m.

Ab? D??ud. Sunan. Accessed 3/1/2010.

?Af?na, ?us?m al-D?n. Accessed July 13, 2009.

?l al-Shaykh, ?Abd al-?Az?z b. and ?AbdAllah b. Mu?ammad. 2004. Al-Fat?w? al-Muta?alliqa bil-?ibb waA?k?m al-Mar?? (Fatwas related to medicine and the laws pertaining to sick people). Cairo: Markaz Fajr lil?ib??a.

Al-??n?, Kh?lid b. ?Abd al-Razz?q. 1999. M??r?f al-Zak?t waTaml?kuh? f ? ??aw? al-Kit?b wal-Sunna (Levying and spending zak?t funds according to the Qur?an and the Sunna). Amman: D?r Us?ma lil-Nashr wal-Tawz??.

Arabi, Oussama. 2000. “The interdiction of the spendthrift (al-saf?h): a human rights debate in classical fiqh.” Islamic law and Society 7(3): 300–324.

Ayy?b, ?asan. 2005. Fiqh al-?Ib?d?t biAdillatih? f? al-Isl?m (The law of religious duties with its references in Islam). Cairo: D?r al-Sal?m.

Dols, Michael. 1983. “The leper in medieval Islamic society.” Speculum 58(4): 891–916.

———. 1992. Majn?n: The Madman in Medieval Islamic Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ebrahim, Abul Fadl Mohsin. 2007. “HIV/AIDS: Scientific, ethical and Islamic di mensions.” In Federation of Islamic Medical Associations Year Book. Amman: Federation of Islamic Medical Associations.

———. 2008. An Introduction to Islamic Medical Jurisprudence. Durban: Islamic Medical Association of South Africa.

EI 2. “far? kif?ya”; “m?r?th”; “ni??b”; “Zak?t”.

Ghaly, Mohammed. 2010. Islam and Disability, Perspectives In Theology and Jurisprudence. London: Routledge.

Group of Muftis. “Stigmatizing AIDS patients.” 25 November 2004 Accessed May 8, 2005.

Al-?ad?th?, ?Abd Allah ?asan ?am?d. 2005. A?k?m al-Mu?sir f ? al-Fiqh al-Isl?m?. Beirut: D?r al-Kutub al-?Ilmiyya.

?amm?d, Mi?b??. 2004. “?uq?q al-mu?awwaq?n f? d??irat al-?aw..wamaw?i? ihtim?m al-mujtama?.” In al-Liw?? al-Isl?m?.

Al-?asan?, Ibn ?Ujayba. 2005. Al-Ba??r al-Mad?d f? Tafs?r al-Qur??n al-Maj?d. Beirut: D?r al-Kutub al-?Ilmiyya.

Al-?a??ab, Ab? ?AbdAllah Mu?ammad b. Mu?ammad b. ?Abd al-Ra?m?n. Maw?hib al-Jal?l f? Shar? Mukhta?ar Khal?l. In

?aww?, Sa??d. 1985. Al-As?s f? al-Tafs?r. Cairo: D?r al-Sal?m.

Al-?ill?, Jam?l al-D?n. 1983. Al-Tanq?? al-R??i? liMukhta?ar al-Shar??i?. Qom: Ma?ba?at al-Khiy?m.

Ibn Anas, M?lik. 1983. Kit?b al-Muwa??a?. Beirut: D?r al-?f?q al-Jad?da.

———. 1995. Al-Mudawwana. Beirut: D?r al-Kutub al-?Ilmiyya.

Ibn ??sh?r, Mu?ammad al-??hir. 2007. Al-Ta?r?r wal-Tanw?r. Tunis: D?r Sa?n?n lilNashr wal-Tawz??.

Ibn Jabar?n, ?AbdAllah. 1997. “La yu??? al-mu?awwaq min al-Zak?t idh? k?n ?indahu m?l” (the handicapped will not be allotted from the zak?t if he has money). In Al-Lu?lu? al-Tham?n min Fat?w? al-Mu?awwaq?n v.1: 23-24. (answered by a group of scholars, and prepared by ?Abd Allah al-Sh?yi?). Riyad: D?r al-?umay?? lilNashr wal-?ib??a.

Ibn Qud?ma, Muwwafaq al-D?n. 1972. Al-Mughn?. Beirut: D?r al-Kit?b al-?Arab?.

Ibn Kath?r, Ab? al-Fid?? Ism???l. 1986. Tafs?r al-Qur??n al-?A??m. Beirut: D?r al-Ma?rifa.

Islamic Fiqh Academy. “How to deal with AIDS victims?” Accessed 11 July 2004. Accessed May 8, 2005.

J?d al-?aqq, ?Al? J?d al-?aqq. 2005. “Zak?t m?l al-majn?n” (zak?t from the majn?n’s property). In al-Fat?w? al-Isl?miyya 3: 114–115.

Jum?a, ?Al?. 2009. “Zaw?j al-mu??q?n wal-mar?? wir?thiyyan” (The marriage of the disabled and of people suffering from genetic disorders). In al-Liw?? al-Isl?m? April 2, 2009, 9.

Kar?ma, A?mad Ma?m?d. 2007. “Yaj?z lilzawja I???? zak?t?ah? lizawjih? al-mar??” (It is permissible to the wife to give her zak?t to her sick husband). In al-Liw?? al-Isl?m? January 4, 2007, 9.

Al-Khaf?j? , Shih?b al-D?n. 1997. ?In?yat al-Q??? waKif?yat al-R??i ?al? Tafs?r al-Bay??w?. Beirut: D?r al-Kutub al-?Ilmiyya.

Kuran, Timur. 2003. “Islamic redistribution through zak?t, historical record and modern reality.” In Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts, edited by Michael Bonner, Mine Ener and Amy Singer, 275–293. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Al-Lajna al-Da?ima. 1997. “Jaw?z al-istif?da min amw?l al-zak?t f? ri??yat al-mu?awwaq?n” (it is permissible to benefit from zak?t funds in the treatment of the disabled). In Al-Lu?lu? al-Tham?n min Fat?w? al-Mu?awwaq?n 1: 46-47. (answered by a group of scholars, and prepared by ?Abd Allah al-Sh?yi?. Riyad: D?r al-?umay?? lilNashr wal-?ib??a.

Layish, Aharon. 1987. “Saudi Arabian legal reform as a mechanism to moderate Wahhabi doctrine.” American Oriental Society 107(2): 279–292.

Lev, Yaacov. 2005. Charity, Endowments, and Charitable Institutions in Medieval Islam. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Al-Lu?lu? al-Tham?n min Fat?w? al-Mu?awwaq?n. 1997. (answered by a group of scholars, and prepared by ?Abd Allah al-Sh?yi?). Riyad: D?r al-?umay?? lilNashr wal-?ib??a .

Majma? al-Fiqh al-Isl?m?. 1998. Qar?r?t waTaw?iy?t Majma? al-Fiqh al-Isl?m? 1985-1997, decisions 82 (185–186), 90 (204–206). Edited by ?Abd al-Satt?r Ab? Ghudda. Damascus: D?r al-Qalam

Mattson, Ingrid. 2003. “Status-based definitions of need in early Islamic zakat and maintenance laws.” In Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts, edited by Michael Bonner, Mine Ener, Amy Singer, 31–52. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Opwis, Felicitas. 2005. “Ma?la?a in contemporary Islamic legal theory.” Islamic law and Society 12(2): 182–223.

Palestinian Authority. 1999. “Q?n?n ?uq?q al-Mu ?awwaq?n” (The law of rights of people with disabilities), no. 4, issued in Gaza, August 9, 1999.

Pickthal, Mohammed Marmaduke. 1953. The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. New York and Toronto: The New American Library.

Al-Qara??w?, Y?suf. 1984. Mushkilat al-Faqr wakayfa ??lajah? al-Isl?m (the problem of poverty and how Islam treated it). Beirut: Mu?assasat al-Ris?la.

———. 2009. Accessed July 13, 2009.

Al-Qur?ub?, Mu?ammad b. Mu?ammmad. 1967. Al-J?mi? liA?k?m al-Qur??n. Cairo: D?r al-Kutub al-?Arabiyya.

Rispler-Chaim, Vardit. 2007. Disability in Islamic Law. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Shab?r, Mu?ammad ?Uthm?n. 1998. “al-Zak?t waRi??yat al-??j?t al-As?siyya al-Kha??a” (zak?t and taking care of basic special needs). In Ab??th Fiqhiyya f? Qa??y? al-Zak?t al-Mu???ira, edited by Mu?ammad Sulaym?n al-Ashqar, Mu?ammad Na??m Y?s?n, Mu?ammad ?Uthm?n Shab?r, ?Umar Sulaym?n al-Ashqar, v.1: 350–357. Amman: D?r al-Naf??is.

Shalt?t, Ma?m?d. 1975. Al-Fat?w?. Cairo: D?r al-Shur?q.

———. nd. “Al-Farq bayna al-zak?t wal-?ar??ib washur?? far? al-?ar??ib” (the difference between zak?t and taxes and the conditions for imposing taxes) fatw? no. 130920, see: Accessed January 4, 2010.

Shefer, Miri. 2000. “Insanity and the insane in the Ottoman empire, 15th–17th centuries.” In Being Different: Minorities, Aliens and Outsiders in History (Hebrew), edited by Shulamit Volkov, 191–204. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar center.

Shefer-Mossensohn, Miri. 2009. Ottoman Medicine: Healing and Medical Institutions, 1500–1700. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Al-Shir?z?, Ab? Is??q. 1992. Al-Muhadhdhab f? Fiqh al-Im?m al-Sh?fi??. Damascus: D?r al-Qalam, Beirut: Al-D?r al-Sh?miyya.

Shoshan, Boaz. 2003. “The state and madness in medieval Islam.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 35(2): 329–340.

Singer, Amy. 2008. Charity in Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Al-Tah?naw?, Mu?ammad ?Al? b. ?Al?. 1998. Kashsh?f I??il???t al-Fun?n, Cairo: Maktabat al-Nah?a al-Mi?riyya 1963. Reprinted Beirut: D?r al-Kutub al-?Ilmiyya, 1998.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. 1995. Edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Al-?Uthaym?n, Mu?ammad b. ??li? (d. 2001). 2006. Al-J?mi? liFat?w? al-Zak?t. Cairo: D?r al-Bay?n al-?Arab?.

———. 2007a. Al-Fat?w? al-Muhimma. Jeddah: Maktabat N?r al-Hud?.

———. 2007b. Maws??at al-A?k?m wal-Fat?w? al-Shar?iyya. Cairo: D?r al-Ghadd al-Jad?d.

Al-Ziab?r?, ??mir Sa??d. 1994. Ajwiba ?an As?ilatika f? al-Zak?t (Answers to your questions on zak?t). Beirut: D?r Ibn ?azm. Accessed July 8, 2009.

Internet sites





How to Cite

Rispler-Chaim, V. (2015). Recent Interpretations of the Laws of Zak?t with Regard to People with Disabilities: A Comparison with Classical Fiqh. Comparative Islamic Studies, 9(1), 91–112.