Is it permissible to use Zakat funds to pay for the utilities of a building serving the poor?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
The fundamental principle of Zakāt is Tamlīk. Tamlīk refers to the transferral of ownership of a tangible item unconditionally from the Zakāt payer to the recipient. The needy person must receive an item of monetary value in his ownership.
When providing a service, Tamlīk does not take place. Hence, Zakāt funds cannot be used to pay for utility bills of a property caring for the poor and needy.
You can avail of this great reward by forwarding Sadaqah funds. To look after and support the poor is a great service which the Ummah really needs today.
And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best
Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi