Can Muslims give Zaka’h, Sadaqah to non-Muslims, Syed (descendants of the Prophet)? If not, why? There are some Hadiths forbidding giving Zaka’h to Syed people. The Hadith quoted by Shia brethren is that Abu-bakr (ra)
and Omar (ra) did not give Zaka’h (or the property which actually belonged to Prophet) to Fathima (ra) even when she was poor? Is this Hadith authentic?
It is obvious that the Prophet (pbuh), his dependents and his family enjoyed a special position in the eyes of the Muslims. This special position entailed a danger of potential imbalance in the distribution of the funds of Zaka’h and Sadaqaat1: It was likely that the Muslims, because of their special love and affection for the Prophet (pbuh) and his loved ones may give all their Zaka’h and Sadaqaat to the dependents and the family of the Prophet (pbuh), which could easily have deprived many deserving people to benefit from these funds.
In my opinion, it was primarily to avoid this potential imbalance that the Prophet (pbuh) even discouraged people from giving his dependents and family any part of the funds of Zaka’h and Sadaqaat.
As for the referred incident in which Abu Bak’r (ra) and Omar (ra) did not allow the distribution of the Prophet’s inheritance after his demise, it was because the Prophet (pbuh) had said that the wealth left behind by the prophets is not distributed among inheritors. It is, on the contrary, distributed as charity2.
As far as whether or not Zaka’h can be given to non-Muslims, please refer to one of my earlier responses on the topic titled: “Can We Give Zaka’h to non-Muslims“.
I hope this helps.
October 30, 2001