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How Muslim Individuals observe zakat, the charitable giving on the coronary heart of Islam

(The Dialog) — Zakat, one of many five pillars of Islam, is an compulsory act of giving and amongst a number of distinct types of Islamic charity. The Quran and hadiths, the phrases and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, prescribe what sort of charitable causes are eligible to obtain these funds.

Though Muslims are anticipated to provide away 2.5% of their wealth yearly, there isn’t any time of 12 months formally designated for Zakat. But, many Muslim Individuals fulfill this obligatory charitable obligation throughout Ramadan, a monthlong interval of fasting and religious development.

Muslim Individuals gave US$1.8 billion in Zakat funds in 2021, we present in new analysis relating to how and where Muslim Americans give Zakat. We – three scholars of philanthropy – surveyed a consultant pattern of 1,005 Muslim Individuals.

We estimate that Zakat accounts for round 40% of complete U.S. Muslim giving, primarily based on the outcomes of an earlier related study accomplished in 2021. Listed below are three key findings from our newest analysis about how Muslim Individuals strategy this charitable custom at present.

1. Zakat is each formal and casual

Muslims primarily assist formal charities and authorities entities, however additionally they give informally. This typically occurs both by dispatching cash to family members in different nations, in funds known as remittances, or giving cash on to individuals in want.

Some 25.3% of the cash U.S. Muslims give as Zakat goes to worldwide organizations, 21.7% helps governments and 18.3% flows to domestic-focused U.S. nonprofits. As well as, 14.7% of the cash is given informally to particular person individuals, usually family, whereas 12.7% is distributed overseas as remittances. The remainder, about 7%, helps miscellaneous different kinds of causes.

Discovering that greater than 1 in 4 Zakat {dollars} are given informally stunned us. That’s as a result of prior analysis had recommended that after 9/11, Muslims confronted legal pressure to solely fund certified charitable organizations.

The U.S. authorities claimed for years that some Muslim charities and funding networks had been financially supporting extremist organizations. This presumption cultivated a local weather of worry and suspicion and stoked heightened U.S. surveillance, in addition to waves of fear-mongering towards Muslim charities. But, regardless of these pressures to formalize charitable giving, we discover that Zakat giving continues to function considerably by means of casual means.

2. Zakat displays the ethnic and socioeconomic variety of U.S. Muslims

The almost 3.5 million Muslim Individuals comprise solely 1.1% of the nation’s population however are demographically numerous – together with African Individuals, Latinos, Arabs, Asians and whites, with nobody ethnic group comprising a majority. Some 58% of U.S. Muslims were born in other countries.

Regardless of having the identical degree of training as the final inhabitants, U.S. Muslims are however disproportionately poor.

We discovered that white Muslims gave essentially the most to charity as Zakat: a imply of $3,732. Asian Muslims had been subsequent, giving a mean of $1,089. Arabs averaged $569 in presents, and African Individuals gave a mean of $420. Folks of blended ethnicity averaged $336.

U.S. Muslims of their 40s gave a mean of $2,560 in Zakat yearly, adopted by $2,298 for these between the ages of 18 and 29. Muslim Individuals who had been of their 30s gave $1,799, these 65 and older $1,074. Apparently, we discovered that those that had been 50-64 years outdated gave the least: $474 on common.

3. Zakat consists of a variety of acts

We additionally discovered that Muslims contemplate philanthropy to encompass a variety of acts that transcend giving cash.

Along with volunteering or in-kind donations, these different types of philanthropy embody actions such as smiling, doing one thing for others out of fine intentions, serving to family, encouraging correct habits, furthering good causes, abstaining from dangerous acts and advocating on behalf of the oppressed. The Prophet Muhammad reportedly mentioned that “smiling in the face of your brother is an of act of charity.”

Many Muslims see this broad understanding of philanthropy as important to their social and civic participation. This mannequin comes from the Prophet Muhammad, who espoused giving to charity – referred to as Sadaqa in Arabic.

The following part of this analysis will analyze how race, gender and Islamic theological traditions affect Muslim American giving practices.

Micah A. Hughes has obtained funding from Islamic Reduction USA and the Mirza Household Basis for this analysis.

Rafeel Wasif has obtained funding from Islamic Reduction USA and the Mirza Household Basis for this analysis.

(Shariq Siddiqui is an assistant professor & director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at IUPUI. Micah A. Hughes is a postdoctoral analysis fellow of Muslim philanthropy at IUPUI. Rafeel Wasif is an assistant professor at Portland State College. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially mirror these of Faith Information Service.)

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