Can I take part of my Zakah and buy some presents to some poor people in my country, because it is difficult for them to take money? Or must the Zakah be given as a money only, not other things?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad , is His slave and Messenger.
The majority of scholars are agreed that it will not be sufficient for a Zakah [obligatory charity] to be given at its cash value, and that this is a forbidden act. The Zakah has to be given from the same type of item from which it is due except if that item is from articles of merchandise, then its cash value could be given instead of it. So, if the Zakah of money, gold or silver becomes obligatory on somebody, giving its value from things other than money, gold or silver would not suffice him. The last three items are considered as one type and each one of them could be given as Zakah for any of the other ones. A person has no right to give clothes, furniture or the like instead of the things themselves. On the other hand, the person who gives Zakah on his belongings should not take it as a means to protect his property by, for instance, not giving gifts to his relatives which they are used to receiving from him. Also, poor people who need money do not usually refuse to take it if it is given to them. Your duty now is to give the Zakah to those who deserve it and to fully let them own it and buy whatever they need with it. As for gifts, then their issue is not the same as that of Zakah and they have their own rulings.
Allaah Knows best.
*Helped by fatwas of islamweb.net