A Pillar and a Promise: The Power of Zakat

Beyond being a percentage of our income, zakat is a pillar of our faith.

In the Holy Qur’an (2:110), we read, “And establish prayer and give zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves—you will find it with Allah; surely Allah sees what you do.” And it’s a promise that we must fulfill to help those in need. When you give your zakat through Islamic Relief USA, its potential grows by multiples.

During Ramadan, many Islamic Relief USA donors give zakat to support work for people who qualify under Islamic principles.

In the United States, zakat funds are distributed through partner masjids and organizations nationwide. These partners know the local residents and can confirm their eligibility. In other countries around the world, zakat funds support projects benefiting families and communities in many ways. These include:

  • Emergency food
  • Shelter for refugees
  • Job training
  • Medication and much more—all in accordance with Islamic principles.

Islamic Relief collects and distributes zakat to those who are most in need, in accordance with Islamic guidelines. Giving your zakat through IRUSA means you can help provide emergency food, shelter for refugees, job training, medication, and so much more.

According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be recipients of zakat:

  1. The poor
  2. The needy
  3. The collectors of zakat (Islamic Relief USA is an example)
  4. Those who hearts are to be won over
  5. Captives
  6. Those burdened with debt
  7. In the cause of Allah (swt)
  8. Travelers

Most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive zakat. Given that, it is acceptable to give your entire zakat allotment to individuals who are in those groups. IRUSA follows the practice agreed upon by most scholars, which states that collectors of zakat are one of the eight groups that are eligible to receive zakat. As such, IRUSA is eligible to use up to 12.5% of donations made to zakat-specific funds for core work, including administrative and operational functions.

No matter who you send your zakat to, there’s one thing in common: The people who receive it are truly grateful. It’s more than a percentage, and more than a check—it’s a link between hearts.

While many prefer to give zakat al-Mal during Ramadan, the option to give is always open. However, when it comes to zakat al-fitr, it should be given before Eid prayer.

Questions about Zakat?

Well, insha’Allah we have answers for you here. Please remember that there are many rulings and differences of opinion regarding zakat. The answers we feature—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 zakat. It is advised that you consult with your local imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries. Check out these zakat FAQs. And make sure to give your zakat al-fitr before you go to Eid prayer!