NZF receives record income and demand for help
The National Zakat Foundation (NZF) collected the highest amount of Zakat and helped a record number of people in its 11-year history due to the cost of living crisis and rising energy prices.
In its annual report, NZF said it generated a total voluntary income of £7.7m versus £6.3m in 2021. The main source of income was Zakat, amounting to £6.1m.
The group helped 17,000 Muslims in need in the UK, up from 11,100 the previous year.
"We received an unprecedented number of applications, driven by the deepening cost of living crisis and rising energy prices," said NZF in the report.
"Whilst we are all affected by the cost-of-living crisis, the poorest amongst us are particularly affected by the continuously increasing food costs and fuel bills.
Applicants comprised Muslim families and single parents in need. It also included thousands of Muslim refugees and asylum seekers who left difficult situations abroad – including Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.
"Zakat givers, organisations, and partners have enabled NZF to support many people in hardship including emerging religious leaders and other community champions who are eligible to receive Zakat," said the group.
"Recipients who have received this support and felt the power of Zakat directly often ask us to share their genuine thanks with those who make it possible, the Zakat givers who have chosen to give through NZF."
In 2022, NZF distributed over £5.5 million of Zakat, a jump from £3.8m in 2021.
Most Zakat givers made one-off payments rather than regular contributions. And 75% of that income came in Ramadan.
The group said this causes issues cause people apply for Zakat throughout the year. It means there is often a large gap in timing between Zakat income and Zakat grants across.
"Through your Zakat, Muslims seeking relief from hardships, Muslims seeking support with housing, and Muslims looking to change their situation through investing in work or educational opportunities have found help from within our community," said NZF.
"Recipients of your Zakat now feel closer to the community and stronger in faith."
The group continued to improve its Zakat distribution service, including initiating a pilot program for Zakat distribution through community partners, which then gives users access to other essential services provided by those partners.
"Initial results indicate this is a successful model for promoting community-level solidarity, ensuring recipients find a supportive community while accessing Zakat assistance. We are keen to expand this pilot in the upcoming year," said NZF.
It has built on its Zakat education with a new focus on advocacy, so NZF becomes a trusted voice that "represents the needs, struggles and contributions of the Muslim community to inform policy and shape public opinion."
These efforts have seen NZF participate in discussions with Government, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Cabinet Office.
In the coming year, it wants to increase Zakat awareness within the community, which means expanding community partnerships to distribute Zakat.
"We will continue to educate Muslims and others in the UK about Zakat and its importance in both faith development and redistribution of wealth," it added.