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Founded in 2011, National Zakat Foundation is the only Zakat focused institution in the United Kingdom.
Vision and Mission
Our vision is for Islam to flourish in society as a source of prosperity and harmony for all.
Our mission is to distribute Zakat transformatively within the United Kingdom.
We believe our vision statement represents the overarching reason as to why Zakat was instituted by the All-Knowing, Most Wise, that is for Islam to flourish at an individual and communal level in society; this is to the best extent that we have been able to understand His Will with intense prayer, experience, consultation, reflection and research over the six and a half years since the organisation’s inception.
We also believe that it is only the efficiency and effectiveness with which we distribute Zakat that the overarching purpose of Zakat can be realised and our vision will, God willing, be achieved.
Based on insights derived from the Qur’an, the Prophetic example and the writings of both classical and contemporary scholars and jurists, we believe there are three essential components underlying effective and strategic Zakat distribution:
1. Central collection
2. Local distribution
3. Holistic distribution
NZF embodies all three of these characteristics and is therefore the natural choice for Zakat payers across the country who are looking to have their Zakat spent for its intended purpose.
The framework within which NZF’s Zakat Distribution department operates is detailed below. Of course, the work of this team is only possible with the support of critical, enabling functions as follows: Zakat Collection (including Education and Calculation initiatives/services), Strategy, Policy & Research, Finance, Governance, Intelligence (technology, systems, data) and Enabling Excellence (HR).
NZF accepts applications and referrals for Zakat grants under two broad areas. These come together to represent the various categories of Zakat expenditure highlighted in the Qur’an (9:60), underpinning a holistic and strategic distribution strategy. A literal translation of the verse reads as follows: “Alms (Zakat) are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free slaves and help those in debt, for God’s cause, and for travellers in need. This is ordained by God; God is all knowing and wise.”
1. Poverty Relief & Economic Empowerment
Based on the first, second, fifth, sixth and eight categories of Zakat distribution, this area of funding consists of the following:
- Poverty relief
This covers needs that an applicant has in relation to basic costs for day-to-day living, such as food, shelter, clothing and basic household furniture. Many of these cases will be emergencies where provision of temporary shelter or food is required on the same day of referral.
- Economic empowerment
Once an applicant’s immediate requirements have been met, the purpose of this stream is to advise and support them to be in a position to sustain themselves. Funding is provided on the basis of achieving a step change in increasing an applicant’s income or reducing their expenditure.
Funding areas include debt relief, support with legal fees, training that has a high certainty of resulting in employment and any other avenues that are very much expected to result in increased income or lower expenditure.
76% of total distribution (£3.04m out of a total of £4.0m) has been budgeted for Poverty Relief & Economic Empowerment in 2018. An application for funding can be submitted here: https://nzf.org.uk/Apply
2. Community Development
Based on the fourth and seventh categories of Zakat distribution, this area of funding has the following priorities:
- Social cohesion
We are looking to support individuals or organisations running projects that have an aim of positively and significantly changing perception towards Islam and Muslims in the UK through understanding and engagement. This may include: interfaith and inter-community engagement initiatives; publications or media projects on platforms including TV, press, social media and film; initiatives which are aimed at preventing unfair and inaccurate representation of Muslims and Islam.
- Islamic scholarship
We are looking to fund exceptional existing or emerging scholars with maintenance, further education and research funding. Successful applicants will be those with strong leadership and communication skills, well-grounded in the Islamic sciences and motivated solely by their commitment to God and its flourishing in society. They may be experienced specialists in certain aspects of the Islamic tradition but will be non-sectarian in their approach, possessing maturity and being proficient (or being likely to gain proficiency) in providing guidance and solutions on topical religious challenges faced by the community.
In addition, we are open to applications from Islamic educational institutions whose aim it is to train high quality emerging scholars in line with the qualities stated above.
- Religious literacy
We are looking to support nurturing, religious literacy (tarbiyah) projects which aim to empower Muslims with a contextual understanding of Islam or a particular aspect of the faith in a manner that is inspirational and relevant to them as believers living in the UK. Projects may be directed to serving a particular demographic within the community, for example young children, youth, parents, new Muslims, the elderly etc.
- Community empowerment
We are looking to fund organisations whose work includes representation or advocacy on behalf of the Muslim community or a specific demographic within it. Their work is likely to include initiatives that help further develop a legal or policy environment at a local or national level which i) helps to bring about fair treatment of Muslims as equal citizens of the UK and ii) is more conducive for Muslims to live prosperously and harmoniously in our country.
15% of total distribution (£0.6m out of £4.0m) has been budgeted for Community Development in 2018. An application for funding can be submitted here: http://go.nzf.org.uk/commdevgrants
Finally, based on the third category of Zakat expenditure and in line with previous policy, no more than 10% of Zakat distributed in a year is used to support the core costs of the organisation. This portion of funding is reserved to support the qualified and dedicated team administering Zakat to ensure funds are spent with careful analysis and to achieve maximum possible impact. For 2018, this has been budgeted at 9% (£0.36m out of £4.0m).
This framework has been assembled for 2018 onwards after years of practical experience, as well as thorough research and engagement with the works and thoughts of scholars from past and present. It is intended to reflect as closely as possible the organisation’s understanding of the Will of the Almighty with respect to the third foundation of the faith. We pray for continued guidance and success and are willing to continue adapting our approach based on our own research, as well the input from scholars across the country and the world.
Introducing the people behind the National Zakat Foundation