Muslim giving explained

Na’eem Raza explains what you need to know about Muslim giving before expanding into the market.

During Ramadan Muslim donors are expected to donate around £100m to various charities and causes, with any one Muslim donor giving an average of £371 per year, according to research by JustGiving and ICM, compared to other faiths whose donations vary from £270 per person to £116.

As the number of non-Muslim charities targeting this market continues to grow, and ahead of the Institute of Fundraising’s event on how to access this market, Na’eem explains what fundraisers need to know before embarking on a campaign.

What drives Muslims to give so much to charity?

The five pillars of Islam are the obligations that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live life according to Islam. These pillars strengthen the faith and character of the individual and the community.

The five pillars consist of:
• Faith in God and His Prophet, Mohammed (peace be upon him)
• Performing ritual prayers five times each day
• Paying alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor, needy and other causes
• Fasting during the month of Ramadan
• Pilgrimage to Mecca

Islam and charity

In Islam there are two types of charitable giving: voluntary and compulsory giving.

Voluntary giving

Sadaqah (or voluntary charity) is the second main form of charity in Islam, Zakat being the first.

Charity can also be performed in other forms which are non-monetary such as voluntary work, helping others, or using one’s talents and skills for good causes. In Islam any good word or deed is regarded as an act of charity.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity; your removing of stones and thorns from people's paths is charity, (to avoid potential threat from their way) and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you".

Many Muslims in Britain fulfil their charitable responsibility to share their blessings with those who have less through Muslim charities, which were set up to meet this growing demand.

Initially, they focused on implementing humanitarian aid and development programmes in predominantly Muslim countries, but many British Muslims now feel the need to see their charity reach others of all backgrounds who are also in need in the UK and further afield. And that can be through Muslim or other charities.

Compulsory giving

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It means purification and comes from the Arabic verb zaka, which also signifies “to thrive,” “to be wholesome,” and “to be pure.”

Muslims "purify" their wealth by giving a portion of it every year in charity. All Muslims with excess wealth must pay Zakat which amounts to 2.5% of all net savings.

The duty of paying the Zakat differs from any other religions and their charity regulatory systems. Its purpose is to balance out social inequality by assisting those who are in need.

The Qur'an advises Muslims "…to perform the worship and pay the Zakat…" (chapter 2: verse 43) and warns us of the need for material sacrifice if we wish to attain God’s pleasure: "By no means shall you attain righteousness, unless you give of that which you love.” (Chapter 3: verse 92)

The nisab

To be liable for Zakat, one’s wealth must amount to more than a threshold figure, termed the “nisab”.

To determine the nisab, there are two measures – either gold or silver.

Silver: The nisab by the silver standard is 21 ounces of silver (612.36 grammes) or its equivalent in cash. This is approximately $331 (19/05/2017)

Gold: The nisab by the gold standard is 3 ounces of gold (87.48 grammes) or its cash equivalent. This is approximately $3,744 (19/05/2017) but will vary with the current market value of gold. These can change daily and are usually referred to by of online calculators on various charity websites.

There are eight categories of Zakat recipients to whom Zakat can be distributed, which are identified in the Qur’an.
These can be identified from the following verse:

“Indeed, [prescribed] charitable offerings are only [to be given] to the
[1] poor and
[2] the needy, and
[3] to those who work on [administering] it, and
[4] to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and
[5] to [free] those in bondage, and
[6] to the debt-ridden, and
[7] for the cause of God, and
[8] to the wayfarer.
[This is] an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise.”
(Qur’an, 9:60)

Na’eem Raza is CEO of Na'eem Raza Limited

The Institute of Fundraising is holding its half day event ‘The Muslim Pound’ in December where Na'eem Raza will be speaking. The event, taking place in Westminster, will give charities and fundraisers confidence in starting to look at and build a strategy for accessing the UK's most giving community not only for funds, but recruitment in HR and volunteering. Book your place here.