Ramadan Deal: Feed your Faith; Spare your Waist!


                                             Image Courtesy www.thefitnessgrail.wordpress.com

As I was sitting in my lounge, penning down my grocery shopping list for the weekend, I realised that the month of Ramadan was not too far and probably in a week or two I’d have to make a more comprehensive list of grocery supplies for the Holy month. My ever wandering mind drifted back to those good old days in Pakistan where we enjoyed the blessings of Ramadan with our loved ones- mum waking us up for Sehri, being constantly aware of “no backbiting” in office, Taraweeh, those deliciously mouth-watering Iftar by mum! Oh and how can I forget those Iftar trips to various restaurants!

The Drop-Dead deals

The Iftar trips had started some 12-13 years back for me when the Pizza Hut- all you can eat banners- had taken Karachi by storm. I think that Ramadan, I visited Pizza Hut twice for the “all you can eat” deal, and now when I think back to that day- I laugh at myself! All I had that day were perhaps three slices of Pizza, some salad, and perhaps, two glasses of cold drink. And, I hardly got a place to offer my Maghrib prayers that day. So much for the tempting all you can eat!

The magic in 99

And then, it started to become a habit, more of a hobby, to explore the “all you can eat” deals of various restaurants. It wasn’t just me- school, college, and even at work, there were always discussions about where we would go out for Iftar. Just like branded lawns, this started to become a trend. And, the prices kept going up Rs. 299 then Rs. 499, and now perhaps, as high as Rs. 1499 with each restaurant, offering a different variety in its so-called “all you can eat”. And, we kept encouraging these restaurants to keep hiking their prices. Trust me- when I say that there may be over a hundred restaurant offering Iftar deals in Karachi alone, but still they are met with an unlimited demand. What we fail to realise is that no matter how much we eat at these Iftar buffets, the restaurant still manages to earn more than 100% profit on it.

Go on a diet and donate!

However, thinking rationally- if on an average I am spending Rs. 1000 per visit, and I am going out thrice, that means I’ve thrown away money that could have fed a poor family of four for not three days, but for a whole month!

Looking at the value for money, we get at these Iftar expeditions; I’d say they are a bit too extravagant. Moreover, in order to try out each delicacy offered at these buffets, we tend to waste a lot of food as well. Spending so much, and then ending up wasting food too; isn’t that quite contrary to the purpose of Ramadan and fasting?

Allah (swt) has said in the Quran: “…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-A’raf 7:31)

And again,

“And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaytan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra 17:2 -27)

Need I say more? Let’s imagine that perhaps if each of us decides to forgo at least one such Iftar trips this Ramadan, and I mean just one (I know it’s pretty hard to give up on the whole institution of “Iftar deals”), and donate the amount you would have spent on that lavish meal to someone who needs it.

Surely, our religion has made Zakat obligatory for this very purpose; however, modesty and helping the needy has always been encouraged by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Quran. Moreover, if spending Rs. 1000 to help someone could save you from some accountability on that day, I believe it’s not a bad deal!

Hence, this Ramadan let’s change the trend! Let us not be too extravagant in our behaviour. Re-think the restaurant trips, and strive to bring a change. Who knows giving up one such trip, and feeding a hungry stomach might bring so many Duas, happiness and abundance to you. Insha’Allah.

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Al-Muminun

pearls4Concentration in prayers is a constant struggle. As much as we would like Khushu in our prayer, it is not there. In Surah Al-Muminun, it appears, “Successful indeed are the believers.Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-2)

Attaining humble submission

It can be attained by turning away from the futile and unnecessary (as we read in the verse after). The futile and unnecessary are time wasters. Someone was asked, “Why do you take off your shoes before entering the House of God?” He replied, “My shoes are the Dunya that I am leaving behind. I don’t need it when I am engaged with my Lord.” We need to empty our heads from the unnecessary concerns and gossips before we get on the prayer rug. Getting rid of such thoughts is impossible, unless we cleanse ourselves. Therefore, Zakat was mentioned next.

Zakat as purification

One needs to purify his wealth, as well as, his thoughts. With evil thoughts in our mind, we get on the prayer mat; going through our conversations with other people or plotting our next rebuttals. We need to work on our temper and control our tongues. Let’s not utter words that will haunt us later. May He make us of those who work on their bad qualities. Ameen.

Purpose of giving Zakat

Allah (swt) commands us to give Zakat so as to replace materialism with generosity. This is how we can get rid of the futile.

Don’t even go near fornication

Then we are advised to stay away from adultery and immorality. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e. his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari). Whenever a person falters, he should turn to Allah (swt) in sincere repentance. Chastity of the private parts and the tongue is a trust; whoever loses that trust will lose peace from his life.

Your spouse is entrusted upon you

Therefore, the next trait of the successful ones mentioned is, “Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants.” (Al-Muminun 23:8). Spouses are a trust to one another. The verses of God-consciousness (Taqwa) are recited in the Nikah sermon. And wherever Quran mentions the rights of husband and wife, it is followed by a reminder of the Hereafter. Let us not break our trusts and promises; whether they be with other people or Allah (swt).

When a person prays only when he wants to pray and neglects it at other times, he cannot be humble in his prayers. Therefore, it is said, And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). (Al-Muminun 23:9)

Stories of the successful ones

After describing the qualities required to attain success, Allah (swt) narrates the stories of successful people – the prophets and the messengers. He says, “Then We sent Our Messengers in succession, every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him, so We made them follow one another (to destruction), and We made them as Ahadeeth (the true stories for mankind to learn a lesson from them). So away with a people who believe not.” (Al-Muminun 23:44)

Denial leads to destruction

Whether one openly denies the messenger or shows a hypocritical behaviour; such that we declare that we are the nation of Muhammad (sa), but take his Sunnah as a burden. Then we should know that we are inviting destruction. Allah (swt) loosens the rope up to a certain limit and then pulls it. Let’s return to Him before the rope is pulled.

Pray before you are prayed upon

The doors of repentance are opened until death. When death approaches and then man says, “I now seek forgiveness for my sins!” it would not be accepted from him. Allah (swt) says, “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back,So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (Al-Muminun 23:99-100). There are no second chances. This life is our only chance to build our relationship with Allah (swt) and strengthen it.

Allah (swt) questions man about his purpose of creation, “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Al-Muminun 23:115) Allah (swt) did not create man for nothing. We have been informed of our purpose of creation and we will be questioned about our time here. Let’s not waste this chance.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

The Story of Orange Tree

orange treeWhen you do something solely to please the Lord, you don’t keep a count or tabs or wonder about success. You just keep on doing what you are doing, hoping He accepts it. This may be one of the reasons why I never wrote about the Orange Tree Foundation or got worried about its publicity or growing in numbers or size.

But living so far away from it, I feel it’s time I introduce the world to this baby of ours and talk about it and give it the recognition it deserves. Normally, when someone asks me, “So what exactly is Orange Tree?” My typical answer is the one I had learnt by heart over the years…” It’s a mother and child education program starting from the Montessori level. It provides equal educational opportunities to students. We give the students Montessori for a year along with regular classes to mothers for a year; after which they get admitted into mainstream schools of Karachi and the Orange Tree sponsors their education as well as provides them with reinforcement classes of what they are studying in school.”

It’s a mother and child education program starting from the Montessori level. It provides equal educational opportunities to students.

But today, I’d like to share a bit more than what I used to explain as to who we are to people. If I rewind everything back to 2011, there used to be a very small organization run by a few college students known as Jaag Meray Taalib e Ilm. They weren’t much of Taalibe Ilms since they spent most of their time in protests or in student empowering conferences or events that would just somehow help them feel that they are contributing towards the betterment of Pakistan, towards fighting the education emergency in the country. They used to call themselves ‘the crazy ones…who change things.’

They were looking for something long term, something definite and something that would contribute as a solution rather than a short term band-aid for this problem called education crisis in Pakistan. But they had no money in their pockets and no plan in mind. It was in the summer of 2011 that they met Omer Mateen Allahwala, the current General Secretary of Orange Tree Foundation. He questioned them about their aims, asked them what they wished to do and perhaps might have seen a few twinkling eyes who really thought they could change the world with their grand ideas about changing the country in a prosperous manner. He explained to them that they needed a proper plan and since they seem determined he was willing to join hands with them and help them find what they really want to do. He only insisted on one thing: whether it is improving one life or one hundred lives, you need to know who you are pleasing, your ego or your God.

After a few meetings cum mentoring sessions with him, he introduced them to the power house of a woman called Sabina Khatri (founder of the Kiran School System). It took her two hours talking about her school in Lyari and the problems she faced there to move that particular group to jitters and goose bumps. Something had to be done. She challenged those college kids if they really were determined enough to go to Lyari with her then and there and see for themselves to get a bit more inspired or see the picture clearly. It was decided that a few classes would have to be bunked for that day and off they went in a car driven by Sabina Khatri to Lyari and that day was probably a decisive day for all the members of the Orange Tree who went with her. “We are opening a similar school system…just need a name and place and teachers and a lot of other things that we had not even started to sort out in our heads.”

Three years down the road, we now have 48-forty eight students and their mothers; two apartments in the same building and countless fundraisers and exhibitions of our mothers’ handicrafts around the city;

The name Orange Tree was decided via a vote on a BBM group and then started the hunt for an apartment. It was decided that it would be in Khadda Market, close to the accommodations of most of the team members since safety of the team could not be compromised by the elders on the team. And it was easier to get volunteers to come to that side instead of an area far away.  Within a month a beautiful 2-two room apartment was taken on rent; painting and setting up started. Every team member did their bit, some got a stove, some got their mother’s old crockery, some got their own mothers to teach and some raised donations to buy paint, furniture and what not. We were definitely opening a school.

Our first round of admissions was extremely difficult for us, for we did not know how to shortlist. Saying no to any parent was just impossible for us. Eventually we decided upon the kind of families we needed in order to support a student for a long term program. We also approached a lot of big factory/company owners to spread the word among their employees.

The criterion was simple:

Parents need to be passionate and committed to the cause of education

The student’s family should be Karachi based

The father must be employed and earning a minimum of Rs. 10,000

Both parents should have primary education

The child must be between 2.5-3 years of age at the time of admission

We needed committed parents who would not run off in the middle of the program at the smallest of problems. And we aimed at white collar employees who knew the worth of good education since they saw their employers achieve success with it but could not afford to put their children in good schools.

We admitted 12-twelve students in the first year; again we were not going for numbers, just aiming to do the best for these children. With a few family friends and mentors helping us out, we began our journey. Some of us quit our full time jobs, some adjusted Orange Tree timings with their work timings and some gave up their careers altogether to give time to Orange Tree. With regular classes for mothers which included subjects like Grooming, Art, Computers, English, Quran, Hadeeth, Hygiene and General Knowledge; the mothers were tested on their classes every month and had exams twice a year. Two of our team members enrolled into the London Montessori Institute to become better teachers and were guided by a Montessori Directress with twelve years of experience. The first batch was admitted into various schools in Karachi including St. Michael’s, Reflections, DHA Public School and Army Public School.

Three years down the road, we now have 48-forty eight students and their mothers; two apartments in the same building and countless fundraisers and exhibitions of our mothers’ handicrafts around the city; putting in efforts to improve the registered non-profit organization called Orange Tree Foundation. Our mission statement speaks of enabling moral, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment and of creating opportunities to improve the quality of life. With the vision to please the One and Only, we hope we can do justice with our work at this school and bring the best of opportunities for the students studying there.

For those who wish to help us, we are open for admissions and are always looking for volunteers. With limited seats each year, we need to make sure that the parents of our admitted students stay committed for at least 16 years (the child’s graduation). Parents who are committed to the cause of their child’s education and determined to strive for the best- are the ones who can face the fierce competition; let alone the adjustment that they will have to do once their children are admitted into mainstream schools.

For those who wish to help us, we are open for admissions and are always looking for volunteers.

We would appreciate if we could get help in identifying such families for admission. Hence we request you on this platform to come forward and help us find such families. Alhamdulillah, we also have a Mufti on board who is qualified from Dar ul Ifta, Darul Uloom Karachi to assist us in selecting families who are eligible for Sadaqah and Zakat.

We also accept donations, both Zakat and Sadaqah. Both accounts are separately maintained and audited. We can be contacted on teamorangetree@gmail.com or 03312325828 or find us on Facebook.

Account details are as follows:

Orange Tree Foundation

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited

26th Street Branch (025)

Swift Code for international transfers: DUIBPKKA

Account No: 0167172002-Sadaqah

Account No: 0167172003-Zakat

Alhuda International Welfare Foundation – Ramadan Ration Support


And they give food out of His love to the needy, the orphan, and the captive.”
(Al Qur’an)

Al Huda International organizes distribution of ration in the blessed month of Ramadan every year to assist our needy brothers and sisters. This year we are aiming to reach out to more than 7,500  families, In sha’Allah.


About 7000 bags were distributed in different areas of Pakistan in 2013.



Every Al Huda branch prepares the list of needy across the country.



The beneficiaries of Ramadan ration include widows, orphans and elderly of poor families.



Al Huda Social Welfare Team monitors the entire process and takes feedback from the beneficiaries after distribution.

Alhamdulillah with your generous support we were able to reach more than 60 thousand individuals in 2013

We hope that you will join hands with Al Huda and bring smiles to many faces this Ramadan!



Cost of One Ration Package
Pakistani Rupees Rs. 3,000
British Pounds  £20
US & Canadian Dollars $35
UAE Dirham AED DH 130


Bank Details

A/C Title:         Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation

A/C No:            0162922001 (Rupees)

Branch Code:   040

Swift Code:      DUIBPKKA
Bank:                Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan (Ltd), I-8 Markaz, Islamabad, Punjab, Pakistan

After depositing the money in the bank please inform through email: swd.isb@alhudapk.com


“Sina” – Health, Education and Welfare Trust

sina1) Can you tell us more about your projects, especially the clinics in slum areas, reconstructing homes in Sujawal and formal schooling?

“Sina” Health, Education & Welfare Trust is a not-for-profit organization, focusing on providing primary healthcare in to less-privileged communities. Our vision is that quality healthcare should be accessible for all. To achieve this, we build clinics in the heart of deserving communities and provide both curative and preventive care. “Sina” was founded in 2007, and as of 2013, “Sina” has seven clinics in the urban slums of Karachi. Over 80% of “Sina’s” patients are women and children who benefit from quality healthcare provided at their doorstep at a very affordable cost of Rs 350+ per patient, a fee of Rs 5-30 per patient with free medicines, test and follow up care.

2) Why was “Sina” born? What was your basic aim and vision?

Named after Ibn Sina (Avicenna), we started our first clinic in 1998, when Dr. Asif Imam returned to Pakistan, after practicing medicine in the USA for over two decades. The vision guiding this beginning was simple – to provide quality primary healthcare to those in need, regardless of financial means available. The clinics gradually grew with “Sina” Trust formally coming into being in 2007.

3) How is it different from similar work that others are doing in the same field (healthcare and education)?

Whilst we have achieved a key milestone of treating 100,000+ patients last year, “Sina’s”s greatest asset is its quality management system. This system is unique, as it has adapted quality international healthcare protocols, used in developed healthcare systems for application in low-income settings. Simply put, this is the foundation, on which we believe a scalable quality primary healthcare system can be created for catering to the needs of less-privileged communities across Pakistan. Our aim, therefore, is to take this system of quality primary healthcare across Pakistan. We are embarking on this journey of growth to play our part in bringing quality healthcare to deserving communities across Pakistan.

4) Can you tell us about your team members?

The “Sina” Board of Trustees include highly committed professionals, who have joined hands to provide quality healthcare to those in need. Our trustees include Dr. Asif Imam (Allergist & Immunologist), Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood (Pediatrician), Mohammad Fazil Bharucha (Lawyer), Sohail Ahmed (Industrialist) and Jalauddin Idrus (Educationist/ Social Worker). Our CEO Riaz Ahmed Kamlani has held positions of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President at The Citizens Foundation prior to joining “Sina”.

5) How can others help you in your work? Would you need human resource or financial assistance?

Our focus is to help save children from critical illness and help women look after their health. It costs only Rs. 350 to treat one patient and that is our greatest need. A majority of our patients are Zakaat eligible, based on Zakaat eligibility evaluation conducted under the guidance of our Shariah Advisor. We, therefore, encourage individuals to help treat as many patients as they can through Zakat and other contributions.

Our future aim is to take this system of quality primary healthcare across Pakistan, Insha’Allah. For this, we would continue to be in need of both financial and volunteer time contributions. We would, therefore, invite you to support us in bringing quality healthcare to those in need.

6) Would you like to share with us any of “Sina’s” success stories?

Two-year-old Sahil was born blind because of bilateral congenital cataracts. While being treated for the flu at “Sina” clinic, he was diagnosed and referred to an ophthalmology hospital and recommended for surgery. With a diagnoses of severe anemia combined with an intolerance for oral iron supplements, our experts initiated a blood transfusion process prior to surgery which was successful. Today, for the first time, Sahil can experience the joy of seeing with both eyes.


Name of Organization: “Sina Health, Education & Welfare Trust”

Drive: Zakat Collection

Contact person / phone number / email address: Anita Shaikh (Manager Resource Development & Marketing at “Sina Health, Education & Welfare Trust”)

03008287620/ anita.shaikh@sina.pk

The Zakat funds are used to treat Zakat eligible patients at the SINA clinics. About 70% of our patients are Zakat eligible, as we build clinics in the heart of deserving communities.

Treatment includes:

  • Consultation – qualified, registered and trained physicians
  • Medicines – in-house pharmacy at every clinic
  • Investigations – blood tests & urine tests, etc., through a collection unit located within every clinic
  • Treatments – stitching, wound dressing, nebulization, IV maintenance, etc.
  • Referral – specialists through SINA’s network

The cost of this whole treatment is Rs. 300 and we charge our Zakat patients Rs. 5 – the rest of the deficit is covered via donations.

Ihsaas Trust

ihsaasOur Reason for Being

Every human being wants to be self-sufficient, relying solely upon his Creator and not be dependent on others.

However, to a very large segment of the population of Pakistan, the idea of being self-sufficient seems like a faraway dream. Due to extreme financial hardship, coupled with multiple debts and an ever-deteriorating economy, many people who want to be self-reliant are never able to pull themselves out of the poverty quagmire. This is why we formed Ihsaas Trust.

The word ‘Ihsaas’ means to feel or be sensitive to what others are feeling; and this realization is precisely what brought together the founders of Ihsaas Trust. We not only want to feel what our fellow under-privileged brothers and sisters are feeling, we don’t just want to give them financial aid, but we want to go one step further and financially empower them so that they can become self-sufficient and provide for themselves and their families.

Ihsaas trust is a completely non-profit initiative.

Our Unique Mission

We at Ihsaas Trust, while realizing that we have a duty towards our fellow men, also realize that this is just a small part of our duty to the Almighty, to whom we are ultimately answerable. Thus, we also ensure that all of our services are in line with Allah’s (swt) Law, i.e. the Shariah of Islam. This makes our mission unique as we realize that helping the creation must also be done in accordance with the laws of the Creator.

We need donations for the following:

  1. Sadaqah for Micro-finance Cases
  2. Zakat Disbursement
  3. Ramadan Iftar Program

1. Sadaqah for Microfinance Cases

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Simply put, this is Islamic Finance. We provide financial services for low-income population and they all are in accordance with Islamic financing principles. All our transactions are monitored and audited by the Shariah Advisory. With proper accounts and audit department, every case is verified by checking the applicant’s experience, overall project feasibility and Shariah compliance. Our dedicated staff ensures timely repayments and motivates the applicants to implement Islamic principles and manners with their clients and their families.

We have an average ticket size of Rs. 80,000 with almost 100% repayment success rate. Your donations can help us reach more and more people, reducing the unemployment and helping our brothers and sisters to stand on their own feet and rely totally on Allah (swt).

2. Zakat Disbursements

We collect Zakat and utilize it for helping our applicants in times of dire need. Our applicants who are mostly orphans, widows and people who are disabled, under medical treatment, under loan or in need of education.

Every case is verified and endorsed by the Shariah Advisory; all our cases need urgent help and every Rupee you contribute will help them in their cause.   

3. Ramadan Iftar Program

Giving Iftar (fast-breaking) meal is very rewarding (Thawab). If a person, while walking on the road, gives only a date or an olive to a fasting person, the reward for giving Iftar meal is attained. Our Prophet (sa) said: “If a person gives Iftar to a fasting person in this month (Ramadan), his sins will be forgiven. And he will be given as many rewards as that of a fasting person.” Some of the blessed companions said that they were not rich enough to give Iftar meal to a fasting person. Prophet (sa) declared:  “The reward will be given even to a person who gives a date for Iftar or who provides water to break the fast or who offers a little milk.” (Bayhaqi)

Ihsaas Trust arranges Iftars for many Masajid every year in areas where the poverty level is more than the rest of the city. We provide quality food with a Tarbiyah Session prior to the Iftar. The objective is to bring people closer to Allah (swt) in the month of Ramadan. A donation from you goes a long way in this effort. This year too we are planning for Iftar in 7 – 10 Masajid. Please, contribute for the sake of Allah (swt).

The daily cost of Iftar per person along with dinner is Rs. 185 or $2. We provide them with fruits, juice, Iftari items and proper food for the day.

How to Donate

To donate, please, deposit the amount in the respective accounts mentioned below (as per your interest) and email the deposit slip to this address: donations@ihsaas.pk

Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Sadaqah

Bank Name:         Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:                Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100892545


Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Zakat

Bank Name:         Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:                Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100892552


Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Microfinance

Bank Name:        Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:               Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100841841

Who is the Most Deserving of Zakah?

Vol 5 - Issue 2 Who is the most deserving of Zakat

Piping-hot Nihari at Suhr, crispy Pakoras at Iftar, touching recitation of the Quran during Taraweeh prayers and the excitement surrounding the preparations for Eid are some of the sights and sounds associated with Ramadan. In-between the prayers, fasting and recitation of the Quran, we must also remember an obligatory duty that we have to perform – paying Zakah (obligatory charity). Contrary to popular perception, Zakah can be paid throughout the year. However, most people wait until Ramadan to dispense with this duty, so as to gain the blessings of the month.

Different Forms of Charity

We can gain the blessings of Allah (swt) by giving other forms of charity as well. In the Quran, there are five words used for charity:

  1. Zakah (or Zakat-ul-mal): obligatory charity paid on wealth that exceeds the prescribed limit. The amount differs according to the type of property – on gold and silver, for instance, one has to pay at the rate of 2.5%;
  2. Sadaqah: voluntary charity;
  3. Khairat: good deeds;
  4. Ihsan: kindness and consideration;
  5. Infaq Fi Sabil Allah: spending for the sake of Allah (swt).


In addition to the above, there is what we refer to as Zakat-ul-fitr or Sadaqat-ul-fitr, which is paid onlyin Ramadan or before the Eid-ul Fitr prayer. On the other hand, Sadaqah (translated as voluntary charity) does not have to be restricted to certain people, as is the case with Zakah. Moreover, the word ‘Sadaqah’ also has also a wider meaning. The Prophet (sa) said: “Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.” (At-Tirmdhi)

Imposition of Zakah

The word ‘Zakah’ means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth.’ The Quran points out the due recipients of Zakah. It is stated in Bukhari that during the lifetime of the Prophet (sa), some greedy people expected him to give them a share of the alms. However, the Prophet (sa) ignored them, so they defamed him. Upon that Allah (swt) revealed:

“And of them are some who accuse you (O Muhammad (sa)) in the matter of (the distribution of) the alms. If they are given part thereof, they are pleased, but if they are not given thereof, behold! They are enraged!

“Would that they were content with what Allah and His Messenger (sa) gave them and had said: ‘Allah is Sufficient for us. Allah will give us of His bounty, and so will His Messenger (sa) (from alms). We implore Allah (to enrich us).’

“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara (poor) and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun – those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveler who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” (At-Taubah 9:58-60)

The revelation of the above verses clearly pointed out the recipients of Zakah, thereby putting an end to all unlawful claims on this type of charity.

Recipients of Zakah

According to the above verse, eight categories of people are entitled to receive Zakah:

  1. The poor (Faqeer): the person who does not have anything.
  2. The needy (Miskeen): a person who has something, but it is not enough for meeting his needs.

Dr. Monzer Kahf, a scholar in Islamic economics, suggests that we may resort to the following four criteria to help select between the poor and the needy:

a. The degree of need: a starving person must be given priority.

b. The person’s relation to the payer of Zakah: a relative is preferred over a non-relative. The Prophet (sa) is reported to have said: “Charity given to the poor is charity, and charity given to a relative is charity and maintaining of family ties.” (Ahmad, An-Nasai)

c. The degree of religiosity of the receiver: this is within the spirit of the advice of the Prophet (sa): “And let your food not be eaten except by a pious person.” (At-Tirmdhi as narrated by Abi Saeed)

d. Availability of other sources for a specific poor/needy person.

Moreover, according to general scholarly consensus, one cannot give Zakah to one’s dependents (parents, wives and children). A wife can, however, pay Zakah to her husband, if he is in genuine need, as we learn from a Hadeeth narrated by Zaynab (rta), wife of Abdullah, and reported by Bukhari and Muslim.

  1. The collectors of funds: those, who are appointed by the Imam (leader) to collect the Zakah. They are to be given an amount that matches their efforts, even if they are rich.
  2. Attracting the hearts of those, who have been inclined (towards Islam): this refers to those, whose hearts the Prophet (sa) wanted to soften, so that they would become Muslims, or so that he could ward off their evil, or those, whose resolve he wanted to strengthen and help them to be steadfast in Islam. These are the three types of people, whose hearts were to be softened.

According to Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee: “The majority of scholars are of the view that non-Muslims should not be given from the money of Zakah, except those, whose hearts are inclined to Islam, though there is a difference over whether such stipulation is still relevant or not and the permissibility of giving them of the Zakah money is haunted with controversy.”

  1. The captives: this refers to slaves, who had drawn up a written contract with their masters to purchase their freedom; or the amount needed to purchase their freedom, without a prior contract.
  2. The debtors: it refers to the debtors, who are unable to pay off their loans.
  3. For Allah’s (swt) cause: it refers to the soldiers, who are devoted to waging war for the sake of Allah (swt) and making the word of Islam prevail.

A number of modern jurists, such as Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida, Maulana Mawdudi, Amin Ahsan Islahi, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and some Fatwah organizations in Kuwait and Egypt, are of the opinion that the phrase, “in the cause of Allah” covers a broad category, and it should not be restricted to Jihad only; rather, it should be applied to all those situations, where there is a need to serve Islam and Muslims. They say that the expression, “for the poor and needy” can also mean “for the benefit of the poor and needy.” Such scholars consider it permissible to use Zakah money to finance Dawah and public welfare programmes, such as building mosques and schools, Dawah institutes, activities concerning Dawah objectives, etc.

  1. The Wayfarer: this means a travelling stranger, who is cut off from his wealth; he may be given whatever he needs, even if he is rich in his own land.

Ultimate Purpose: Allah’s (swt) Pleasure

Any believer would wish to see that his hard-earned money reaches the deserving, light up a sad face or fulfill a need. No matter how hard we all try to do just that, we must remember that our intention should be to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure and reward. Therefore, we must pray to Allah (swt) with great sincerity that He may accept our efforts and clarify our intentions. After all, it is not Allah (swt), Who needs our wealth; rather, we need Him.