By Ebadur Rahman, MuslimGiving
Ramadan begins on 5 May this year. It’s a time to practice self-restraint, tolerance and patience. But it’s also a very generous time, with many Muslims choosing Ramadan as the time to calculate and pay their Zakat.
Charitable donations by Muslims across the world is estimated to be over £1 trillion per year in Zakat alone. Such generosity means following the principles of safer giving is vital to making sure Zakat goes to those who truly need it.
Importance of Zakat
Zakat is a religious obligation for Muslims, and one of the five pillars of Islam. We pay Zakat to ‘purify’ our wealth. It’s an obligatory act, which means all Muslims must pay Zakat if they meet certain conditions. Zakat is calculated based on the total savings of each Muslim during one lunar (Islamic) year, and should equal 2.5% of a person's wealth.
To pay Zakat, each Muslim must possess a minimum “Zakatable” amount of wealth, at the beginning and the end of their one lunar year. Items like gold, silver, paper currency held in cash or in their bank account, crops and herded animals are all considered when calculating Zakat.
Give safely during Ramadan
As the Holy Qur’an says, money from Zakat must only go to specific causes, such a helping the poor. If we’re not careful, money we think is being collected for Zakat might be going to the wrong places. To make sure it’s collected properly you can:
- Check the charity you’re donating to. If collecting in England and Wales, are they registered with the Charity Commission? Check the Commission’s Register of Charities to see if the charity is registered. You can also check if it’s signed up to high fundraising standards, by checking the Fundraising Regulator’s Directory to see if it’s listed.
- Check who is collecting your Zakat. Are they collecting on behalf of the charity, or do they work for an independent fundraising company? Speak to the charity they are collecting for, to check they’re legitimate. If they’re collecting on the street, they should wear an ID badge to prove they’re genuine. If the collector is at your mosque, speak to the Imam about who they’re collecting for and whether they’ve checked the charity is legitimate.
- Check how your Zakat has been used. The charity should be able to tell you how the money or goods were used. Ask for information, such as impact reports, that show your Zakat was used for the right cause.
- Is a fundraising platform involved? If so, see what kind of checks they do before listing charities on their website. At MuslimGiving, we only accept charities registered in the UK. Money raised is only sent to charity bank accounts after due diligence is done and the charity has been verified by our payment processors.
The reward for obligatory acts are multiplied in Ramadan, so Muslims are the most generous during this time. Zakat is collected in many different ways, whether in cash or through a fundraising platform. Whatever the method, it’s worth taking time to check all is well before you donate.
For more information on how to give safely, take a look at guidance from the Fundraising Regulator. You can also find information about donating to charity via MuslimGiving on our website: www.muslimgiving.org