There are the following duties which the zakat giver should perform:
1. One should realise the true purpose of the zakat. It consists of three things: To test one`s love towards Allah SWT by making him give out what he loves; To purify one`s soul from the destructive quality of greed; To be grateful for the blessings of property.
2. Keeping zakat a secret to avoid hypocrisy. In giving it, there is humiliation of the poor. If one is afraid of the slander that “He did not give zakat”, one may give it to the needy in public and to others secretly.
3. One should not spoil their zakat by reproaching and torment.Reproaching can be occurred when a person makes a donation to the needy. In fact, a poor man who receives his zakat will receive what Allah SWT commanded him and will do him good by purging his property from the right of others. If the zakat giver thinks deeply, his zakat is not a relationship between him and the recipient but the gratitude for the blessings of property. Therefore, a poor person should not be humiliated by poverty, because virtue is not in the presence or absence of property.
4. What he gives should be considered small, because the person who thinks his work is big means that he is proud of it. A good job will be complete with three things: considering it small, speeding it up and keeping it secret.
5. The zakat giver should give the most halal, the best and the most favourite ones from his wealth. Allah SWT is the most Pure, he does not accept anything except the pure. As for the best one, Allah SWT says: “And do not aim toward the defective while donating”. (Surah al- Baqarah, verse 267)
We should understand two things in this meaning:
The first one is to fulfill the right of Allah SWT. It is carried out by praising Him. He is the most Praiseworthy. After all, if a person serves bad food to his guests, he himself will not be satisfied! So how can he give bad ones from his property to Allah as zakat?
The second one is to fulfill his own right. One's zakat, which he gave, will come up to him on a judgment day, that`s why he should give the best of his wealth.
As for giving the most favourite one of his wealth as zakat, Allah SWT says:
“You will never attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love”. (Surah Ali’Imran, verse 92)
Abdullah Ibn Umar (R.A.) used to sacrifice any of his properties for Allah, when his love towards that property was increased. According to legend, one day he said that he wanted to eat fish. They searched and searched, in the end they found only one fish. His wife cooked it and brought. That time a poor man came. Ibn Umar (R.A.) giving him the fish said: "Take". Then his people said, "Subhanallah! Will you give him what we brought with difficulty? After all there's another thing". Then Ibn Umar (R.A.) replied: “Abdullah had fallen in love with it”.
According to legend a beggar knocked Rabi Ibn al-Haytham`s (R.A.) door. “Give him some sugar”, said the owner of the house. They asked: “Would it better to give him some bread?”. Rabi Ibn al-Haytham (R.A.) answered: “God damn you, give him some sugar! Rabi loves sugar”.ought with difficulty? After all there's another thing". Then Ibn Umar (R.A.) replied: “Abdullah had fallen in love with it”.
According to legend a beggar knocked Rabi Ibn al-Haytham`s (R.A.) door. “Give him some sugar”, said the owner of the house. They asked: “Would it better to give him some bread?”. Rabi Ibn al-Haytham (R.A.) answered: “God damn you, give him some sugar! Rabi loves sugar”.
6. The zakat giver should find a person who deserves to receive his zakat. They must have the following qualities:
The first quality: piety. It is better to give one`s zakat to the pious. By this the zakat giver increases their magnanimity towards Allah SWT. Omir Ibn Abdullah Ibn Zubair used to choose the moments when the devout worshippers prostrate down. He used to bring and put a bag of dinars and dirhams without being seen and he just used to let them feel that he had put his wallet in front of their leather overshoes. They asked him: “Can’t you simply give your alms to them?” He replied: “I do not want their faces to change when they see me or my representative”.
The second quality: to be knowledgeable. To give property to the knowledgeable is to help promote science and religion. And this is to strengthen the Sharia.
The third quality: “To be a person who believes that giving blessings is only from Allah SWT”. Such a person should not be complimented with what caused the sustenance, because it is evident that when a person who is accustomed to praise when he receives something, he defames him when he cannot get.
The fourth quality: to be the one who hides his poverty and need and does not complain openly.
To be like those people whom Allah SWT describes as follows: “…they would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint”. (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 273)
The fifth quality: They should be of those people who are married, in debt and seriously ill.
The sixth quality: They must be from close relatives, because the charity made to them is considered both charity and mercy towards family members. If anyone has two or more of these qualities, it is better to give zakat to such kind of person.
Sheikh Muhammad Sadik Muhammad Yusuf
(From the book "Salvation of the muslim")