GIVE THIS RAMADAN
Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah (swt) covers you with blessing, for He sends down mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers… In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves.”
-The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh),
as narrated by Tabarani
As Muslims, giving Zakah is our responsibility, but it’s more than that. It’s also a gift of love to someone in need.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about zakah. Please remember that there are many rulings and differences of opinion regarding zakah. The following answers—derived through the consultation of a council of imams who follow the Fiqh Council of North America—are meant to provide a basic understanding of zakah. It is advised that you consult with your local imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries.
Ramadan is the month that softens our hearts. Through our worship, we become closer to Allah. And through our hunger, we understand the hunger of the poor — and we feel moved to relieve that pain.
There are so many people around the world who go to bed hungry … so many who are even forced to put their children to bed hungry. Islamic Relief staff members in dozens of countries get to know which families need help, and they’re ready to deliver food … if only someone will send it.
When you give a family a Ramadan food package, Islamic Relief staff members will use your gift to purchase food right there in the region. And then they’ll hand-deliver it to a family who really needs it.
And we deliver the kind of filling food the family relies on, like rice, beans, flour, oil and dates. By buying it locally, the program can help a struggling store owner too—it’s a winning situation for everyone involved.
Gul Nazira bibi is a widow raising five children, and her family is extremely poor. As a recent Ramadan approached, she felt despair, expecting that her family would be fasting with no breakfast and no certainty of any dinner either. Her heart was hurting. At this dark moment, she received a Ramadan package sent by an Islamic Relief donor. It was like a ray of hope and support, and she cried tears of relief.
“I was feeling that I am alone in this world… such a suffocating, lonely feeling,” she said. “When Islamic Relief helped me during Ramadan, I suddenly felt that I’m not alone anymore– that I have sons and daughters in the IR family who care for for me and my children. … That is my prayer, that Allah bless you people and may your organization remain strong and grow day by day.”
Each food packet holds about 30 pounds of food that is important to the local diet of the recipients, and is designed to help a family of five to seven people. This generally includes rice, wheat, lentils and oil, and often also sugar, canned fish and meat, and dates.
“All the time my children and I pray to Allah (swt) that may Allah help those who helped us, even more than what they did for us,” said Zakia, a widow in Afghanistan who received Ramadan food packages that freed her from the worry of finding food for her children each night. “…Their help counts a lot because they helped in the holy month of Ramadan a widow and two orphans.”
It starts with you!
- Afghanistan: $80
- Albania: $30
- Bangladesh: $40
- Bosnia & Herzegovina: $55
- Chad: $55
- Chechnya: $40
- China: $40
- Ethiopia: $30
- Haiti: $50
- India: $25
- Iraq: $20
- Jordan: $45
- Kenya: $60
- Kosovo: $20
- Lebanon: $55
- Malawi: $60
- Mali: $70
- Niger: $75
- Pakistan: $70
- Palestine: $55
- Somalia: $140
- South Africa: $50
- South Sudan: $100
- Sri Lanka: $40
- Sudan: $35
- Syria: $65
- Tunisia: $35
- Yemen: $45
- Zimbabwe: $50
Maximize your impact by inviting others to support peer-to-peer campaigns! Sign up to be a campaign fundraiser and ask your friends, family, and colleagues to join you in bringing real, lasting change to families around the world.
Sadaqah Jariyah is charity that continues to benefit people long-term and continues to earn the giver rewards even after death.
- Developing clean water systems
- Building a school or funding classes
- Home or farmland rehabilitation
Once, an IRUSA staff member was visiting a well that donors had provided. He asked community members what difference their new well made. One pointed to a new school nearby and said, “We built that school.” The IRUSA staff member asked how that was connected. This is what he was told: The women no longer had to walk long distances to a faraway well for water. Instead, they could grow crops and earn money. That money paid for the school. And the girls who also used to walk for water could now attend classes there. Subhan’Allah—this is the difference you can make, and it’ll last for generations.
This Ramadan, we are again asking you to help raise $1 MILLION for orphans around the world by sponsoring 1,000 orphans. Your donation can give a child nutritious food, warm clothing, access to education and medical care.
By empowering kids with these tools for success, YOU can make a lasting difference for an orphan.
Take advantage of this Ramadan, when deeds are multiplied, and donate today to help an orphan through our one to one sponsorship or many orphans through our orphan general fund. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The best charity is that given in Ramadan.” (At-Tirmithi)
Now with team fundraising, you can have your family and friends join our efforts and also benefit by giving this blessed month.
GIVE THIS BLESSED MONTH
Fulfill your Ramadan giving by supporting IRUSA’s humanitarian efforts. You can select from Ramadan food packages, zakat al-Fitr, Fidya / Kaffara, Sadaqah, and Zakah.
Get urgent humanitarian aid to disaster survivors quickly and efficiently. IRUSA has provided emergency relief efforts in the U.S. and in dozens of countries around the world.
Contribute on a global scale to provide support to IRUSA’s development initiatives —internationally or in the United States— where they are most-needed. You may also intend for your contribution to be classified as sadaqah.
Fulfill the charitable obligation of paying zakah, fidya, kaffara or other religious giving. You can choose to contribute to a global fund or to the country of your choice.
Offer financial support for the education, health care and livelihood of an orphan through general support or a one-to-one sponsorship. IRUSA donors support more than 13,000 orphans around the world each year.
What is zakah?
In Arabic, zakah means purification, growth and blessing. It is a charitable practice that requires all able Muslims (those who meet the requirement of zakah as dependent upon nisab and hawl—see below) to contribute a fixed portion of their wealth to help the needy—generally, 2.5% of savings—to help the needy.
What is nisab?Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have—after calculating necessary expenses—to be eligible to contribute zakah. Nisab is equivalent to the value of 3 ounces of gold. The nisab we’ve calculated for our zakah calculator is based on the most-recent report available to us (disclaimer: this number may change daily depending on fluctuations in the gold exchange rate).
What is hawl?
Hawl is defined as the completion period for a zakah asset, which is one lunar year. In other words, the wealth on which zakah should be paid must have been held for at least one full year. There are some forms of zakah that do not require hawl, such as for crops, when zakah should be paid at the time of the harvest. For clarification, it is recommended that you consult with your local imam or scholar.
Who is obligated to pay zakah?
Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab and hawl in a calendar year must pay zakah for that year. There are some conditions that may require others, a wali (guardian) of a minor for instance, to pay zakah too. As always, it is best to consult with your local imam or scholar for clarification.
Must I have the intention to pay zakah for it to be accepted?
Yes. In Islam, intention is an essential part of any act of worship, including the payment of zakah. The intention must be made at the time the zakah is paid.
What kinds of wealth are included in the calculation of zakah?
For a detailed list of wealth to include, please see IRUSA’s zakah calculator. These stipulations delineate the type of wealth that should be accounted for when calculating zakah:
- The wealth is yours and under your control. You do not need to include outstanding debts when calculating zakah.
- The wealth is subject to development and increasing.
- After calculating necessary expenses, the wealth meets the requirements of nisab.
- Personal belongings, such as clothes, primary homes, food, cars, are exempt from zakah.
When can I pay my zakah?
Zakah should be paid as soon as possible prior to or at the time that you’ve earned the requisite amount of nisab each lunar year, or one year after you last paid it. Tip: A good way to ensure zakah is made in a timely fashion is to pay your zakah during Ramadan.
Is it acceptable from a religious perspective to give zakah toward any of your funds, or does the fund have to specify zakah?
You may make your zakah contributions toward any of our funds or projects. It is your intention that counts in this case. However, if your contribution is specifically made to our zakah fund, then we will follow specific zakah guidelines.
Who can my zakah be given to?
According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be beneficiaries of zakah:
- The poor
- The needy
- The collectors of zakah
- Those who hearts are to be won over
- A mediator or someone who pays from personal monies to fix or mediate problems among the people
- In the cause of Allah (swt)
Most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive zakah. Given that, it is acceptable to give your entire zakah allotment to individuals who are in those groups.
Do I have to pay my zakah on my home?
One does not have to pay zakah on a primary place of residence. If the house qualifies as a secondary residence that sometimes get rented out, however, zakah is due on it after subtracting necessary expenses from the income generated.
Do I have to pay my zakah on jewelry?
Yes, on jewelry you do not regularly wear and that you own for investment purposes.
Do I have to pay my zakah on stocks?
Yes. You may use the current value on stocks.
What’s the difference between zakah and sadaqah?
In the language of the Holy Qur’an, zakah and sadaqah are the same. In practice, however, sadaqah is the term used to indicate voluntary charitable giving while zakah is obligatory.
What is the difference between zakah and Zakat al-Fitr?
Zakat al-Mal (commonly called “zakah“) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is about the price of one meal—estimated at $10 in 2014.
On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al-Fitr? What if I have young children?
Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of everyone in the family. There are some scholars that recommend that Zakat al-Fitr is also paid on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy, but do not view it as obligatory. Most scholars do agree, however, that Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification.
When should I pay my Zakat al-Fitr?
It should be paid before Eid prayer (or any day during Ramadan). There are some schools of thought that also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. Consult with your local imam or scholar if you need additional information.