Ummah Global Relief: Some scholars, early and contemporary, tend to expand the meaning of the term “for the sake of God,” to include good deeds in general, in accordance with the original indication of the term. Al Razi in his commentary on the Qur’an remarks that the apparent meaning of the term fi sabil Allah is not restricted to fighters. He adds, “For this reason, al Qaffal’s explanation of the verse mentions that some jurists allow spending sadaqat on all kinds of good deeds, including supplying coffins for the deceased and building fortifications and mosques, since ‘in the way of God’ covers all these.”18 But al Razi does not name these jurists, and makes no comment on his quote from al Qaffal.
Fiqh al Zakah (Vol. II), Dr. Yusuf al Qardawi- Ummah Global Relief
Ibn Qudamah attributes this opinion to Anas bin Malik and al Hasan al Basri, who say “Zakah given on bridges and highways is acceptable.”19 He concludes that this statement allows expending zakah on building and repairing bridges and roads, but Abu ‘Ubaid’s elucidation of the context of this statement gives it a different meaning. He explains that Muslim merchants used to pass through the ‘ushr officers’ booth on bridges and highways to pay dues on merchandise brought in the country (25% percent of the value of the merchandise). Abu ‘Ubaid reports that some Followers, including Ibrahim and al Sha’bi say it is permissible to count what is paid to those tax officers as obligated zakah. This is explicitly attributed to al Hasan, who, Abu ‘Ubaid argues, agrees with Anas, Ibrahim, al Shaibah, and Muhammad bin ‘Ali.20 A similar story is reported by Ibn Abi Shaibah from Anas and al Hasan, under the title of “counting what is paid to ‘ushr officers as zakah.”21 Ibn Qudamah’s understanding of the statement by Anas and al Hasan is thus incorrect, since “given on bridges” means paid at bridges and not spent on bridge construction and repair.
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