Paying zakaah in the form of goods instead of cash – https://islamqa.info/en/79337
The basic principle is that zakaah must given in the form of the wealth on which zakaah is being paid, so zakaah on cash must be given in cash, and zakaah on an’aam animals must be given in animals, and zakaah on crops must be given in crops, except zakaah on trade goods which may be given from the value of the goods or from the trade goods themselves. This has been explained in the answer to question no. 22449.
The scholars differed as to whether it is permissible to pay zakaah in a form of wealth other than that on which zakaah is being paid, which is known to the scholars as paying the value of zakaah. The correct view is that it is not permissible to pay the value of zakaah (in another form of wealth).
But, because there is such a strong difference of scholarly opinion concerning this issue, we hope that there is no sin on you for giving the value of zakaah in past years, but you have to give it in the same form as the wealth on which zakaah is being paid in future years.
The basic principle is that Zakat must be paid in the form of the wealth on which it’s being paid. So cash for cash, animals for animals, crops for crops etc.
Is exceptional cases where the person receiving it is not mature or mentally unsound and can’t handle money, then Zakat may be given in the form of essential goods that they may need.
If you wish to gift clothes or food to someone, you may still do so but not from Zakat money.
Whatever you have done in the past due to lack of clarity in this matter, is acceptable InshaAllah but from now on please make sure you follow the rule.
Zakat is not normal charity or social work our welfare spending. Zakat is subject to specific rules which are the responsibility of the payer to follow. If you give your Zakat amount to someone else to disburse and they don’t follow the rules and give it to people who are not eligible to receive Zakat, your liability with Allah remains and you’re answerable for not paying Zakat. So please make sure because it’s your responsibility.
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ صَلاَتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Tawba 9: 103. Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your duas are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاء وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Tawba 9: 60. As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara (poor who ask), and Al-Masakeen (the poor who don’t ask) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (struggle in the path of Allahﷻ), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.
The amount of Nisab is calculated as follows: Silver 52 1/2 Tolas (634 grams – Price Rs. 40/gram), or Gold, 7 1/2 Tolas (87.48 grams – Price Rs. 2840/gram), then you are eligible to pay Zakat. Thus, the Nisab for cash would be calculated in accordance to whether that cash amount is above the value of 634 grams of silver or 87.48 grams of gold. (If you have gold and silver which is less than the mentioned weight, however, when they are combined, and its dollar value equals the amount of Nisab, then too you are obligated to pay Zakat.)