Fatwa from Dar al-Ifta al-Missriyyah

Dar al-Ifta al-Missriyyah is one of Egypt’s centers for Islamic legal research. It was established in 1895 CE and is considered one of the earliest modern fatwa producing institutes. Dar al-Ifta’s fatwa begins by covering several preparatory issues – giving definitions, arguments for various opinions, and their preferences – and closes with their answer to Habib Ali al-Jifri’s specific question. During the preparatory points, Dar al-Ifta affirms their preferences that it is permissible to transport zakat to another land and to give zakat to a single individual. They observe that Islamic law sometimes makes distinctions between natural persons and legal persons. They argue that UNHCR is a legal person and that the opinions that place additional restrictions on distributing zakat through non-Muslims apply to natural persons – not legal persons. Dar al-Ifta considers it permissible to give zakat to refugees provided that they fall within one of the eight categories. Concerning the specific question: Dar al-Ifta concludes that it is permissible for an individual to appoint UNHCR as his agent for distributing and delivering zakat to refugees and displaced peoples –  provided that the recipients fulfill the necessary conditions (i.e., that they are Muslims who are poor, needy or one of the other categories of individuals that Islamic Law considers legal recipients of zakat). UNHCR cannot take any portion of the zakat in exchange for the services they provide. Additionally, safeguards must be put in place to ensure that UNHCR complies with all of the above. Each page of the fatwa is stamped and signed by Majdī Muḥammad ʿĀshūr and Aḥmad Mumdūḥ; the final page of the fatwa is signed by Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Allam.

Fatwa - Dar al-Ifta