National Zakat Foundation’s Strategy, Policy & Research department is responsible for forming our Zakat policies in a way that is authentic and relevant to our context. It seeks to consult with Advisers - scholars, researchers and practitioners - who are committed to ensuring that Zakat distribution in the UK is purposeful, effective and legally sound. Details of our in-house scholars working in various departments, our external Advisers and the terms of reference by which they are engaged can be found below.
A detailed publication of NZF’s Zakat distribution framework is now available for download: “Our Zakat Distribution Strategy: Juristic Evidences and Explanations.”
1. Mufti Faraz Adam – Strategy, Policy and Research
Mufti Faraz Adam spent almost a decade studying Islam at a traditional institute in the UK and South Africa. He specialised in Islamic law and Finance in South Africa under the tutelage of the world-renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai. He went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Islamic Finance, Banking and Management at Newman University in 2017. He has various Islamic finance industry qualifications such as Certified Islamic Finance Executive (CIFE™) under Ethica and the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) with Chartered Institutes of Securities and Investment. Currently, he is studying for the ACCA qualification aiming to become a qualified chartered accountant. Since 2011, he has presented insights into contemporary issues in Islamic law through his initiative www.darulfiqh.com . He founded Amanah Finance Consultancy in 2017 to further serve the Islamic Economy as a consultant.
At NZF, Mufti Faraz Adam works in the Strategy, Policy and Research Department where he coordinates research and liaises with a wide range of external Muslim scholars locally and globally to develop research, answers on contemporary issues and guidance for NZF at an operational level.
2. Mufti Billal Omarjee – Calculation and Collection Services
He was born on the French Island of Reunion where he memorised the Quran before moving to the UK at the age of 17. He completed a six year Islamic theology course at the Darul Uloom Bury in 2004 under the guidance of many prestigious scholars of fiqh and hadith. He gained a bachelor’s degree in Banking and law in London in 2011. In 2014, he spent a year specialising in Islamic Jurisprudence at the Blackburn Darul Uloom under some of the UK's senior scholars. In order to gain further expertise in the field of Islamic financial matters, he became a research assistant for the chair Mufti Zubair Butt for Al Qalam Sharia Panel. He was also the Imam of Chingford Masjid for two years before he left to join National Zakat Foundation as an expert in Zakat Services in 2017. Mufti Billal holds professional diplomas such as the post graduate diploma from the Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, London and the Certified Sukuk Professional from Al Huda CIBE.
3. Shaykh Abid Khan - Calculation and Collection Services
Shaykh Abid Khan is a graduate of Law and a teacher by profession. Having studied the Islamic sciences with teachers in the UK, Shaykh Abid decided to take his studies further and spent a number of years studying at the prestigious Al-Azhar university in Egypt from which he graduated with a BA in Islamic and Arabic studies. In addition to his BA in Islamic and Arabic Studies he also holds a Masters in Islamic Education.
Imam Abid currently serves as the Director of Education and Assistant Imam of Cheadle Mosque in Manchester as well as a Zakat consultant at National Zakat Foundation. Imam Abid is also an Instructor at a number of institutions including the European Institute of Islamic Sciences and Al-Marifah Foundation.
NZF's Strategy, Policy & Research team is supported by a number of external Advisers and our Zakat policies are formed as a result of holistic research and an ongoing consultation process. Our approach is rooted in the textual sources of our religion, with the aim of being relevant to our situation as Muslims in the United Kingdom today. Several angles are therefore considered in decision making, with both research and advisory input from a diverse range of scholars, practitioners and professionals. It is this diversity of backgrounds and expertise that supports our ability to arrive at reasonable and balanced positions. Full terms of reference by which Advisers are engaged can be found here.
Not every Adviser will necessarily agree with all of NZF’s positions and operations, nor will they always agree with each other, but their opinions are sought, carefully considered and discussed. Furthermore, NZF does not endorse any of the personal views expressed by the Advisers on any platform.
1. Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt
Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt is British born and committed the Holy Qur’an to memory at the age of 16 before going onto receiving Ijazahs in the ten variant recitals of the Holy Qur’an at the Institute of Islamic Education, Dewsbury, UK. He has studied traditional Islamic sciences, including Arabic language and literature, Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Hadith, Usul al-Hadith, Tafseer, Usul al-Tafseer, and completed the Shahaadah al-‘Aalamiyyah at Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan in 1995. In 1997 he graduated from his post graduate specialization in the issuance of fatwa – legal edicts under the instruction of the world renowned Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
Mufti Zubair holds the position of Senior Advisor on Islamic law at the Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, Bradford. He is also active in various fields including health and education where he serves as Chair, Shariah Advisor, or member of several committees. He lectures on the Ethics of Transplants and Autopsy at the University of Leeds and is a regular contributor at seminars on Islamic medical ethics.
2. Mufti Abdul Kadir Barakatulla
Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatulla is a prominent Islamic Shariah law scholar with a strong background in economics and finance. He has been trained extensively both in traditional Islamic and modern Western educational traditions in India and UK. Mufti Barkatulla is a Lecturer of Islamic Finance at Ebrahim College, London and served as a senior Imam of North Finchley London mosque for a decade. As a director of Islamic Computing Centre, Mufti published (1986) electronic databases of Qur’an, Hadith, History and Islamic Law on CD-ROMs. As one of Shari’ah Judges at the Islamic Shari’ah Council, London, Mufti acquired wide experience of dealing with socio-cultural and economic issues of Muslims living in UK and Europe. Mufti Barkatulla contributes regularly to ethnic and mainstream print and electronic media. Mufti is a member of the Sharia supervisory boards of many financial institutions including Al-Rayan bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain, Arab Banking Corporation, London and United Bank Limited, UK.
3. Mufti Ismail Desai
Mufti Ismail Ebrahim Desai currently serves as Shariah Advisor to various Islamic financial institutions and educational institutes around the world including Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance (UAE), Pegasus Agriculture (UAE), Infinity Consultants (India), HBZ Islamic Bank (RSA), PSG Investment Bank (RSA), Al-Mabroor Investments, Mettle Finance (RSA), Hejaz Financial Services (Australia), founder and executive director – Russian Islamic Finance Council (7 000 members), Lendcor (RSA), Centre for Advanced Islamic Economics (Pakistan) and a number of Islamic Banks and investment entities. Mufti Ismail has developed various Shariah auditing, governance and risk management standards for Islamic financial institutions and has issued several thousand expert legal opinions (fatwas) with a special focus on Islamic finance and economics. Mufti Ismail has attended and delivered papers at international conferences and has created the first ever Shariah Compliant models for leveraged/structured finance and currency trading. He currently holds a Master's in Islamic Finance, Master's in Islamic Theology, Banking qualification and other honorary academic qualifications. Mufti Ismail is also advisor to Global Islamic Financial Services Firm which advises global banks and financial institutions
4. Mufti Liaquat Zaman
Mufti Liaquat spent almost a decade studying the Alimiyya and Mufti course at Jami Islamiyya Binnori Town and Jamia Tayyiba in Karachi, Pakistan.
5. Shaykh Salman Younas
Shaykh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying introductory Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Shaykh Salman moved to Amman. There he spent just over half a decade studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir under such scholars as Shaykh Ahmad al-Jammal, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Salah Abu al-Hajj, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and others. He then moved to England to pursue a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with local scholars, such as Mufti Yusuf Sacha.
6. Maulana Haroon Sidat
After completing a traditional Islamic studies course (darsi nizami or ‘alimiyya program at an Islamic seminary or darul ‘ulum), Shaykh Haroon then went on to gain a BA in Economics and Social Studies at Manchester University (awarded First Class) and from there, he was employed by a leading global consultancy firm where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He is also a qualified secondary maths teacher and an Imam and currently teaches and lectures in hadith and fiqh studies. His continued involvement with community-based Islamic learning and an appetite for the academic study has led him towards a doctoral research on an important and unique topic where he is looking at the formation and training of British religious leadership.
7. Shaykh Imtiyaz Damiel
Shaykh Imtiyaz Damiel is a University Lecturer and Educational Consultant. He is the CEO and Founder of the multi-award winning Abu Hanifah Foundation based in Blackburn. He was also the winner of the 2016 British Imams & Scholars award for outstanding contribution to youth work. After studying a 5 year traditional `alimiyyah programme, he did a BA Hons degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Leeds University. He then did further graduate and post-graduate studies in Islamic Studies at King Saud University, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is currently pursuing postgraduate research in Islamic Education at Warwick University. He has delivered numerous Zakah related workshops and courses and provided Zakah consultancy to various charities.
8. Shaykh Mohammed Nizami
Shaykh Mohammed Nizami is a consulting scholar to Kingston Mosque, co-founder of Averroes, a public educator, and an advisor to various organisations and policymakers.
His main interests are in Islamic law and legal theory, practical theology, and western political theory and philosophy. He has a BA in Islamic law from Al-Azhar University, and has undertaken traditional scholarly training in Makkah and Cairo. He also holds a BSc in politics and international relations from the University of London (LSE), and an MA in political and legal theory from Warwick University.
9. Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael
Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael is the founder of The Ark Institute, a dynamic educational institution based in London. He was born in 1976 into a Dutch, atheist family. After becoming a Muslim at the age of 18, he travelled the world to seek knowledge. In 1995 in Sudan, he studied Arabic and began to memorise the Qur’an. Between 1996 and 2001, he continued his studies in Belgium and Holland with local Moroccan scholars, then went to Saudi Arabia in 2002 where he studied intensively under notable scholars, gaining ijazah (teaching license) in many disciplines.
Shaykh Sulayman also studied for over seven years in Jordan where he received ijazah from the Grand Mufti of Amman to give religious verdicts, having studied different sciences including Islamic law and jurisprudence (Shari’ah/Fiqh) and dream interpretation. He has also graduated from Rotterdam University with a BA in Theology and MSc in Islamic Counselling.
Shaykh Sulayman has received authorisation in 14 qira’at (recitations) of the Holy Qur’an. He has authored over 400 books which he intends to start publishing in the coming months and has recently completed transcribing a 700 year old manuscript at the British Library in London.
In addition to his wide catalogue of written works and extensive lecturing around the world, he has appeared on CNN and Al Jazeera, and his multi award-winning Belgian national television documentary, My Jihad, was translated into 12 languages. Shaykh Sulayman has recently been appointed Associate Muslim Chaplain at the London School of Economics.
10. Dr Musharraf Hussain
Born in 1958, he came to Britain from Pakistan in 1966 with his parents to the town of Halifax, where he memorised the glorious Quran, learnt Tajweed and basic Quranic Arabic. After completing a degree in Biochemistry at Aston University, he went on to gain a Science doctorate. He worked as a Scientist till 1990 and then decided to dedicate himself to serving the Muslim community. He read Islamic studies at a seminary in Pakistan under the guidance of Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah and then at Al-Azhar University, Cairo.
In 1995, Dr Musharraf helped to establish ‘Al Karam’ Muslim boarding school for boys in Retford, where he was the headteacher for 3 years. In 1997, he was appointed director of the Karimia Institute. He began working on a number of projects ranging from community development to raising educational achievements of Pakistani children to adult classes and interfaith work. Currently Karimia Institute runs some 20 projects and is a premier Muslim organisation in the UK.
In 2005, Dr Musharraf was awarded an honorary doctorate by Staffordshire University, for his services to the British Muslim community.
In 2009, he was awarded an OBE for his services to community relations in Britain. He is the chair of the Christian Muslim Forum, a senior trustee of Muslim Hands, trustee of National Centre for Citizenship and Law. Formerly, he was the director of Postgraduate Course in Education, and Vice-chair of Association of Muslim Schools.