The expression “in the cause of Allah” or fi Sabil Allah was generally interpreted “Jihad fi Sabil Allah” and so many jurists restricted this Zakah expense for this purpose.
However, many jurists and Islamic Councils of this century believe that the phrase ‘in the cause of Allah’ covers a broad category. It is a general term, and it should be applied in all those situations where there is a need to serve Islam and Muslims. Those scholars consider using the Zakah money to finance the Da’wah, education, and public welfare programs permissible. They say that the expression ‘for the poor and needy’ can also mean ‘for the benefit of the poor and needy.’
The modern jurists also argue that in the past Muslim governments used to build Mosques and schools and used to finance public welfare projects. Now many governments are negligent in this matter. Muslims in the West are living in areas where there are even no Muslim governments. The concept of the broad meaning of ‘fi Sabil Allah’ mentioned here helped the Islamic cause in many non-muslim lands where it has made it possible for the Muslim community to establish Islamic institutions and noble educational projects.
While giving the bulk of Zakat money should always be focused on and granted to the poor and needy, Giving portions of Zakah monies to fund Islamic Da’wah projects, education and developments is Islamically acceptable.
While making a donation to IAR, you may select the box “mark my donation as Zakat” or give to the “fi sabeelilah” fund and it will be restricted under this door of Zakat.
Allah Knows Best