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Zakat is the third pillar of Islam and is paid by Muslims who meet or exceed the nisab threshold. There are many causes for which Zakat may be donated, but there are also guidelines on who is forbidden from receiving Zakat, too. 

Zakat is different to Zakat al-Fitr (Fitrana) which is a separate charitable donation made by every Muslim during Ramadhan. Zakat al-Fitr is spent on providing food provisions for those who are in need, whereas Zakat can be used for many different applications across the charity sector. 

Who Can Receive Zakat?

Zakat can be used for almost any act of charitable giving, provided it is given to a charity that is permitted to distribute Zakat and who use the funds in accordance with sharia, distributing to those who can receive Zakat. Aside from a legitimate charity, Zakat can also be given to:

  • Those who have no income or very little income which is not enough to support them
  • Those who are in situations of difficulty and need
  • Friends of the Islamic community and reverts
  • Those who are being held in captivity or who are enslaved
  • Those who are in an unmanageable amount of debt
  • Those who are travelling and do not have adequate supplies and provisions
  • Those who act in the name of Allah (SWT) and fight for Him

There are a number of guidelines surrounding giving Zakat to family members, even if they fit into the above categories. In general, the following groups cannot exchange Zakat:

  • Parents should not give Zakat to children as they have a responsibility to provide for them
  • Children should not give Zakat to parents because they have a responsibility to look after them
  • Husbands should not give Zakat to wives because they have a duty to provide for them

Depending on your school of thought, there are also rules about giving Zakat to a Syed. For clarification on this, we would recommend you speak to your local Imam. 

What Charities Can Receive Zakat?

Islamic charities are permitted to receive Zakat payments on the basis that they will ensure the Zakat will be given to someone who falls into one of the categories listed above. Donating Zakat to a non-Islamic charity runs the chance of the donation being used for a cause that isn’t acceptable under the Zakat guidelines e.g. supporting an animal charity. 

When you donate Zakat to ILM, we will ensure we use it in a way that is acceptable under the Zakat guidelines. 

Does Sponsoring an Orphaned Child Count as Zakat?

Yes, sponsoring an orphaned child counts as Zakat because they are considered as being in need, and this is the second instance under which Zakat may be given. When you sponsor an orphaned child, you need to make enough of a donation to cover what is required of you as per your Zakat calculations. Every Muslim will pay a different amount of Zakat depending on their income and assets, and as such, how much one Muslim needs to pay to sponsor an orphaned child will differ from another. 

How to Sponsor an Orphaned Child

Sponsoring an orphan through ILM for your Zakat payment can easily be done online. First, you will need to calculate your Zakat. All adult Muslims who exceed the nisab threshold for more than one lunar year are expected to donate 2.5% of their eligible wealth as Zakat. The higher a person’s wealth, the more they will pay. You can use our Zakat calculator to work out how much you need to pay and whether an orphan sponsorship is sufficient based on the amount owed. 

Our orphan child sponsorships can be paid monthly (£30) or yearly (£360). Zakat can be paid at any time of the year, although many Muslims choose to pay it during the last 10 days of Ramadhan as they believe the rewards to be greater at this time of year. 

No matter what time of the year you choose to pay your Zakat through an ILM orphan child sponsorship, your generosity will be gratefully appreciated and will be used to provide children with a safe and supportive environment.

More Information 

To find out more about sponsoring an orphan child through ILM as per your religious Zakat dues, please contact us

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