Want to know more? Search our FAQ’s.
Founded in 2011, National Zakat Foundation is the UK’s only Zakat institution.
The big picture
Our vision is for Islam to flourish in society as a source of prosperity and harmony for all. Muslims are people who choose to devote themselves to God completely. We believe the strongest foundation for happiness in this life and the next lies in this relationship of devotion (Islam) between the human and Divine. There are five core obligations or pillars: bearing witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad was final messenger of God, prayer, Zakat, fasting and pilgrimage. The overarching purpose of all the core obligations is to enable devotion to God (Islam) to flourish, individually and collectively.
National Zakat Foundation (NZF) seeks to revive and uphold the third pillar of Zakat. NZF’s mission is to distribute Zakat transformatively within the United Kingdom.
What is Zakat and who is it for?
In the Arabic language, Zakat means growth, blessings, purification and development. Zakat requires Muslims to pay 2.5% of their qualifying wealth on an annual basis. It provides an opportunity for the payer to fulfil their duty to God by making a financial commitment. It also provides an opportunity to help the poor. But it is more than this.
In the Qur’an, God says there are eight recipients of Zakat: “Indeed, Zakat expenditures are only for  the poor and  the needy, and  those who work on [administering] it and  for bringing hearts together and  to [free] those in bondage and  for those in debt and  for the cause of God and  for the stranded traveller. [This is] an obligation from God. God is All-knowing, All-Wise.” (Qur’an Ch. 9 V 60)
How can we distribute Zakat effectively?
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 – pay our Zakat together, 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 leadership, meeting needs based on the eight categories in the Qur’an (9:60)
What does NZF do?
National Zakat Foundation (NZF) awards Zakat grants in the UK. We support and empower individuals in poverty and we invest in leadership. NZF does this to enable devotion to God to flourish in society.
1. Economic Empowerment Programme
We support and empower individuals in poverty
NZF helps eligible individuals who fall within the first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth Zakat recipient categories.
Just over 80% of our Zakat distribution in 2019 is for those in poverty. NZF receives direct applications and referrals from UK Mosques, hospitals, the police and charities. We have a skilled team of caseworkers who assess each case with due diligence.
A snapshot of the problem:
- 50% of Muslim households are in poverty compared to 18% for the population overall.
- Muslim women face a triple penalty impacting on their employment prospects.
- Young Muslims are excluded, discriminated against, or failed, at every stage from education to employment.
Once we receive an application, our first aim is to help with essential costs of day-to-day living, such as food, shelter, clothing and basic household furniture. Once immediate requirements have been met, the Zakat recipient receives funding to help them permanently increase their income or reduce their spend. For example, this includes training likely to result in employment and support with legal fees for asylum.
2. Leadership Investment Programme
We support the development of emerging leaders and the building of lasting institutions
NZF supports and funds individuals, projects and organisations which fall within the fourth and seventh Zakat recipient categories. We envisage three key outcomes: better public perception of Islam and Muslims, a greater quality of religious education and literacy, as well as effective representation for Muslims in the public square. For 2019, this portion of our work is budgeted at just under 20% of Zakat distribution.
A snapshot of the problem:
- 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.
The two areas of support are:
- Development: Funding for education and training for emerging leaders, enhanced with non-financial support such as mentoring/coaching and networking opportunities. The key outcome of this strand is essential learning that will help emerging leaders become more effective and make better decisions.
- Delivery: Funding for existing leaders to deliver projects and build institutions that are critical for the future of Islam and Muslims in the UK.
3. Calculation services
NZF provides Zakat payers with many ways to help ensure they pay the right amount of Zakat. NZF offers online content, an online Zakat calculator, online/telephone support, and online/hard copy Zakat guides – including guides for missed Zakat, paying Zakat on pensions, and paying Zakat for a business.
4. Collection services
NZF provides Zakat payers with many avenues to ensure safe and secure collection. Payers can pay online, by bank transfer, by post, through Al Rayan bank branches, through mosque collections or in person at the Zakat Centre in London.
NZF is audited by a leading auditor in the non-for-profit sector and has consistently had full, clean audits. In addition, we invest in research and consult 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.
History and track record
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.
By December 2018, NZF had:
- Supported almost 10,000 individuals in poverty
- Given out over £10m of Zakat in the UK
And in 2018 alone, NZF:
- Distributed £3.3m of Zakat
- Helped 1,895 individuals in poverty
- Continued to support families affected by the Grenfell tragedy through the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit
- Supported the development of 34 emerging leaders in the UK
- Supported key institutions such as Cambridge Muslim College, Ramadan Tent Project, Abu Hanifah Foundation, Muslim Council of Britain and Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
Introducing the people behind the National Zakat Foundation