Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
If the donation remains in the hands of the individual it was given to, then one may change one’s intention. However, if they used the money, then one cannot, as the fuqaha’ explain. [Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]
Note, too, that it is a condition for zakat that the ultimate recipient be needy individual. As such, zakat cannot be paid to support organizations, institutions, mosques, da`wah, etc, for the obvious reason that the Qur’anic texts emphatically limited the valid recipients of zakat to set categories, which share the common feature of being needy individuals.
It is a sinful innovation of our times that some interpret the category of “fisabilillah” [‘in the way of Allah’] as all types of good and even cite some Hanafi texts that seem to prove their point. They don’t. Rather, they show why modernists and others may not be trusted in their quotes. The texts of a school explain each other, and different parts of the same work condition one another: what is mean by this category, if we accept its widest definition is, “those needy individuals who are in the way of Allah, involved in all types of good.” So beware. [al-Qawl al-`Atir of Sh. Emad Abu Hijleh, & Ibn Abidin’s Hashiya]
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