Does zakat have to be given to individuals residing in the same country as you?
The Quran has specified the recipients of zakat and categorised them into eight groups. (Quran 9:60) The core philosophy of zakat is to fulfil the needs of the under-privileged people living in the same society and communities in which you live. Based on this understanding, zakat should not be transferred from one region to another even if there is a greater need for the funds in other regions. Although the state takes care of its subjects in the developed countries, there are instances where certain individuals can still be classified as genuine recipients of the zakat who should be given priority over those residing in other countries. Furthermore, family members should be prioritised over others, in accordance with the general sentiment of the Quran 8:75) with regards to receiving zakat should they qualify as recipients. However, in cases of global humanitarian crisis, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to mobilise their zakat effectively.