Zakat, an Arabic term signifying ‘purification’ or ‘growth,’ embodies a fundamental principle of Islam. It stands as one of the five pillars of the faith, obligating every financially capable Muslim to give back a portion of their accumulated wealth annually. Unlike Sadaqah, which remains voluntary, Zakat is a mandated act of worship through charitable contribution.

Key Features of Zakat:

  • Third Pillar of Islam
  • Requires Muslims, both men and women, to allocate 2.5% of their wealth exceeding the minimum threshold (“nisab”) for basic needs
  • Applicable to Zakatable assets held for a full lunar year or 12 months

Who Qualifies for Zakat?

The Quran (9:60) delineates eight categories eligible to receive Zakat, prioritising assistance to the impoverished, destitute, and those facing adversity. These include:

  • The Destitute (“miskeen”) unable to fulfil basic needs
  • Poor individuals (“fuqara”) who maintain dignity by refraining from seeking aid
  • Zakat collectors (“amilna alayha”) responsible for its distribution
  • Muslim converts (“mu’allafatu ‘l qulub”) in need of support
  • Those seeking liberation from enslavement (“fi’r riqab”), encompassing modern forms of exploitation
  • Debt-burdened individuals (“al gharimin”)
  • Those dedicated to promoting good and the Islamic value system (“fi sabillah”)
  • Wayfarers (“Ibnus sabil”) stranded travellers, including refugees

It’s important to note that Zakat cannot be allocated to the affluent, those capable but unwilling to work, the giver’s relatives, or descendants of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

ISRA UK policy on distributing Zakat.

100% of Zakat is spent on Zakat-eligible projects and associated costs to help those identified as in need. Zakat funds will be used to support individuals, collectives, and specific groups that ISRA UK works with who can show immediate or eventual alleviation from hardship and/or poverty. 

Those receiving help will be notified that the help they receive is in part or full being provided by Zakat.

These include international aid projects that are Zakat eligible (e.g. orphan sponsorship, emergency appeal, etc.

Zakat is not used to cover any of ISRA UK’s organisational costs that are not directly linked to the administration of Zakat and is only used to fund the specified projects.

Receiving Zakat donation.

Zakat donations to ISRA UK can be received in several ways. These include the website (www., bank accounts, cash/cheque–in person at our offices, online portals, JustGiving, etc).

The donor must clearly specify that the amount is a zakat payment. The website and online portals have dedicated Zakat causes/projects; however, when donating Zakat via cash/cheque/bank transfer, the onus is on the donor to clearly reference and stipulate that the amount is for Zakat purposes.

 Gift aid can also be claimed on zakat payments if the zakat donor is eligible and willing to complete a gift aid declaration. This element will be treated as a general donation and allocated to any area of ISRA UK’s work, which can include zakat-eligible project(s) or beneficiaries.

Zakat Distribution

  • Zakat is not used to cover any of ISRA UK’s organisational costs that are not directly linked to the administration of Zakat and is only used to fund the specified projects.
  • Zakat should be distributed within one year of collection.
  • Zakat does not necessarily have to be paid in cash.
  • Zakat can be distributed in kind if the value covers the Zakat liability.
  • The Zakat payment should be unconditional.
  • A service cannot be stipulated in lieu of a Zakat payment.
  • The Zakat payment can only be made to service users of ISRA UK projects and third-party partner organisations that have specifically set up Zakat services.
  • Zakat will be distributed locally and internationally.
ISRA-UK distributing charity in Yemen.

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