What is Zakat?

Zakat, which in Arabic means purification, is a mandatory giving required of Muslims who are financially able to give at least 2.5% of their wealth to those in need. It is taken from specific sources of wealth - including livestock, savings, trade goods, crops and minerals - and given to specific categories of recipients. 

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam - along with prayer (salat), fasting (sawn), pilgrimage (hajj) and the profession of faith (shahada)- and is an integral part of the Muslim faith.

Who is eligible to receive Zakat?

According to the Qur’an there are eight categories of people who are eligible to receive Zakat: The majority of today's refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) fall under at least four of these categories: the poor, the needy, the debtors and the wayfarers.

Who is eligible to receive Zakat

The majority of today's refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) fall under at least four of these categories: the poor, the needy, the debtors and the wayfarers.

What is the Refugee Zakat Fund?

In 2019, the UN Refugee Agency established the Refugee Zakat Fund to provide an alternative source of funding to refugee families displaced by war and persecution, through an effective and trusted route for people to fulfill their Zakat obligations.

USA for UNHCR is authorized to receive and distribute Zakat through the Refugee Zakat Fund. 100 percent of Zakat contributions will be delivered directly to the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced families in Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Bangladesh, with a focus on families comprising widows and their children.

UNHCR Zakat Fund is trusted and follows a 100% distribution policy

Fatwas authorizing the Refugee Zakat Fund

Why should people direct their Zakat to USA for UNHCR?

Zakat funds have the potential to transform the lives of 79.5 million refugees and other displaced people around the world - of which at least 40.8 million are Muslim. Through the Refugee Zakat Fund, USA for UNHCR can direct Zakat funds to meet the most critical needs of refugees and displaced persons around the world. The Refugee Zakat Fund is backed by five fatwas from leading scholars and institutions and follows a 100 percent distribution policy.

When should I pay Zakat?

Zakat should begin when a person’s wealth reaches Nisab - a threshold that is equivalent to the value of 3 oz. of gold  - and can be paid anytime during the year.

How do I calculate my Zakat?

You can use USA for UNHCR’s calculator to determine how much Zakat you need to give based on currency, and assets like gold, silver, cash or stocks.

Zakat stories 

How your Zakat can help refugees

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Continuing his father’s tradition helps this refugee celebrate Ramadan in America

Other Zakat stories >

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