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Frequently Asked Questions

What is National Zakat Foundation?

National Zakat Foundation (NZF) awards Zakat grants in the UK. NZF supports and empowers individuals in poverty and invests in community development. NZF does this to enable devotion to God to flourish in society as a source of prosperity and harmony for all.

Since it was founded in 2011 through to April 2018, National Zakat Foundation (NZF):

  • Supported almost 9,000 individuals in poverty
  • Given out £8.7m of Zakat in the UK

And in 2017 alone, NZF:

  • Helped 3,727 individuals in poverty
  • Distributed £3.6m of Zakat
  • Supported families in Grenfell tragedy, and co-ordinated the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit for survivors’ ongoing needs
  • Nurtured 27 emerging leaders in the UK
  • Explained calculation in over 200 workshops

National Zakat Foundation (NZF) seeks to revive and uphold the third pillar. It is UK’s only Zakat institution. NZF’s mission is to distribute Zakat transformatively within the United Kingdom.

NZF distributes over 75% of Zakat to support and empower individuals in poverty.  These people include some of the most vulnerable members of the community such as: the homeless, refugees, asylum seekers and the elderly.

NZF invests in community development by distributing a critical but smaller portion for better public perception, religious scholarship and literacy, and effective representation.  

More information can be found in About Us.

To achieve the transformative impact of Zakat distribution, NZF has developed a range of products and services to support Zakat payers. This includes Calculation resources and many ways to pay Zakat.

Why do we need another charity organisation?

In 2011, heart-breaking stories of Muslim women facing the effects of poverty came to our attention. That was the start of National Zakat foundation, and the beginning of an operation to give Zakat out locally.

We understand that the overarching purpose of Zakat can only be fully achieved when we distribute Zakat in an effective way. Based on insights from the Qur’an, the Prophetic example and the writings of both classical and contemporary scholars and jurists, that means we need to:

  • Pool our Zakat – co-ordinate where it is given, based on an understanding of our individual and collective challenges and opportunities
  • Focus our Zakat locally –distribute Zakat in the society where we know the needs and culture best, and for which we are most accountable to God
  • Balance our Zakat – use Zakat to support and empower people in poverty and to invest in community development, meeting needs based on the eight categories in the Qur’an (Ch. 9 V 60)

NZF is the only institution which takes a strategic approach, fulfilling these three criteria. 

The Strategy, Policy and research Team consults a wide range of expert advisers – scholars, researchers and practitioners – who are committed to ensuring our Zakat distribution in the UK is legally sound, purposeful and effective. 

Why do we need to distribute Zakat in the UK when we have an established welfare system?

Zakat is a core obligation that requires Muslims to make an annual payment of 2.5% of their qualifying wealth for poverty alleviation, economic empowerment and community development. The overarching purpose of Zakat is to enable devotion to God to flourish, individually and collectively.

There are two aspects which work together to achieve the purpose:

Individual poverty relief and empowerment. (76% of NZF’s work)

  • 50% of Muslim households are in poverty compared to 18% for the population overall.

Under the welfare system, application procedures for housing and other benefits are time consuming and applicants can encounter delays before any benefit is forthcoming - NZF aims to provide assistance during this crucial time so that applicants (often with children) can live in safety and with dignity whilst other options are being explored. NZF also supplements benefits for those for whom it is not enough to sustain themselves and their family. And NZF provides funding to help recipients permanently increase their income or reduce their spend. Through NZF’s support, those most in need improve their situation, feel a sense of belonging, and can strive to become Zakat payers themselves.

Community Development

  • Almost half of British people think that Islam is not compatible with the British way of life
  • Muslims growing up in an increasingly secular Britain, especially the young, are drifting away – identifying as Muslims culturally but less committed to the essence of Islam
  • National organisations representing Muslims and Muslim organisations, as well as advocacy groups, are underfunded and therefore have less credibility and influence

There is a great need to invest in better public perception of Islam and Muslims as well as religious scholarship and literacy and effective representation to enable devotion to God to flourish, individually and collectively.

What type of assistance does National Zakat Foundation (NZF) give for individuals in poverty?

Since it was founded in 2011 through to April 2018, NZF has supported almost 9,000 individuals in poverty. NZF distributes Zakat to individuals who are eligible to receive it. Through our Zakat fund for individuals in poverty, NZF aims to provide for the basic necessities of life. Examples of the type of items NZF pays for includes:

  • Food vouchers
  • Emergency accommodation
  • Rent deposits
  • Baby items such as nappies and milk
  • Personal items e.g. clothing and toiletries
  • Essential travel
  • Basic furniture

Full details are here:

Giving your Zakat to the National Zakat Foundation

I usually give my Zakat abroad, why should I give it here in the UK?

Because if Zakat is given within the UK via a pooling mechanism for the Zakat causes specified in the Qur’an – supporting and empowering individuals in poverty and investing in community development - then the overarching purpose of Zakat is more likely to be achieved. The overarching purpose of Zakat, like all the other pillars, is to enable devotion to God to flourish, individually and collectively.

Because the situation for Islam and Muslims in the UK is critical. It is common for people growing up in secular Britain, especially the young, to drift away, to identify as Muslims culturally but to be less spiritually committed to Islam. 50% of Muslim households are in poverty compared to 18% for the population overall. Within the UK, young Muslims are excluded, discriminated against, or failed, at all stages of their transition from education to employment.

And because we have the power to change the situation with our Zakat.

Can I still give my Zakat abroad? Is it wrong if I do?

If the purpose of Zakat is solely to help the poor and needy, then it makes sense to give Zakat abroad due to the greater extent of absolute poverty abroad.

However, all acts of worship, including Zakat, are to bring us closer to God – as individuals and collectively.

We understand we can best achieve this purpose of Zakat both for individuals and collectively if: Zakat is pooled, focused within the UK and balanced across individuals in poverty and community development - and we have therefore organised NZF in this way.

Many scholars recommend that Zakat should be given locally. This is based in part on the instruction that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave to his companion, Mu'adh, who was sent to spread the message of Islam in Yemen, "O Mu'adh! Inform them that Allah makes Zakat obligatory for them. (It is) to be taken from their rich and given to their poor." [Bukhari] There is a strong emphasis on distributing locally in the Sunnah and narrations of the Tabi’in. Islamic scholar Ingrid Mattson explains: “The local nature of Zakat distribution is emphasized repeatedly by early Muslim scholars, who discuss extensively the purpose and benefits of local distribution”.

NZF recommends you give Sadaqah to support causes in any other country, or any cause in this country which does not fall under the categories of Zakat mentioned in the Qur’an.

What will National Zakat Foundation use my Zakat for?

Your Zakat will be used to fund individuals and projects for which it is permissible to use Zakat funds, as determined by our in-house scholars who work closely with a range of external scholars. Within these limits, NZF has set strict eligibility criteria for individuals and projects. Expenditure that cannot be funded through Zakat funds will be funded through general donations (Sadaqah) and Gift Aid.

Currently, 76% of Zakat collected is distributed to individuals in poverty. This is due to the particularly high level of poverty and deprivation within the UK Muslim community and our expertise in faith-based direct service provision. NZF also distributes a small but important portion to invest in community development.

Meet the Team

Introducing the people behind the National Zakat Foundation

How Can You Help?

Find out how your donations help us make a real difference to someone in need. Read our case studies here.