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elderly women from the phillipinnes smiling while receiving food pack from islamic relief zakat beneficiaries

Beneficiaries of Zakat

Your Zakat has supported beneficiaries all over the world. It has funded some of our crucial work with people and communities living in disaster and war zones: drought and famine-struck countries across East Africa and communities affected by conflict in Yemen.

Your generosity has enabled communities to build sustainable livelihoods in the face of climate change, and enabled better lives for vulnerable orphans and families across the globe.

What is the definition of the poor and needy?

According to the Hanafi school of thought (madhaab), the Fuqara (the poor) are those that do not own wealth to the amount of Nisab. The Masakin (the needy) are those who do not have food for the day (15 -20% of the world).The other three madhaabs view it as the opposite for the definition of Fuqara & the Masakin.

“Those in whose wealth there is a recognised right for the needy and the poor”

(Qur’an 70:24-25)

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Your Zakat has the power to save and transform lives.


can provide two families with food for a month

can provide bread to 675 people displaced by war in Syria

can supply and install 300 litre water tanks for drinking water for seven families in Gaza

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How do you assess whether someone is poor and needy?

We have delivery offices in the countries in which we work and they carry out assessments. By using selection criteria, we ensure that we are reaching the most vulnerable people.

Can I give Zakat to my family members?

Beneficiaries of Zakat can only be given to people from one of eight categories. Scholars from the Shafi and Maliki schools of thought (madhaabs) agree that you can give zakat to a family member if they’re from one of the categories. E.g. they are poor and unable to provide for themselves, and is not already dependent on you. But if he/she is one of your dependents, you are obliged to spend on them anyway and cannot give them anything from your Zakat.

Can I use my Zakat to sponsor an orphan?

If the orphan is eligible to receive zakat (E.g. they or their family own less than the nisab or do not have food for the day) then they will be eligible to receive it. Orphans would come under category 1 and 2 recipients of Zakat.

What kind of projects do Zakat funds support?

We spend Zakat funds on projects where we can guarantee the recipients are poor and needy. So, for example, we can provide food packs to destitute people so they can feed themselves and their families. But we would not use the funds on a well that would benefit the whole community. This is because we could not guarantee that only poor and needy people will get water from that well. However, we will use other funds such as Sadaqah to pay for projects that benefit whole communities.

Visit our Zakat page or watch this YouTube video series for answers on frequently asked questions around Zakat.

Follow your donations and learn more about the beneficiaries being support by Islamic Relief with your generous donations.

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We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Sheikh Saalim Al-Azhari.

Page last reviewed: 22 February 2023

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