What makes an organization Zakat-Eligible?

Do you know what makes a charity eligible to receive Zakat? If not, understand the ‘zakat-eligible’ criteria before giving your Zakat!

Do you know what makes a charity eligible to receive Zakat? If not, understand the ‘zakat-eligible’ criteria before giving your Zakat!

Paying zakat is one of the most important services a Muslim performs for the poor and vulnerable.

Muslims must ensure their zakat goes to the right places, and knowing the rules of zakat and zakat-eligible organizations solves this problem. 

What is Zakat?

Zakat is a yearly charity that Muslims are obligated to pay on their money, assets or harvest. Zakat is calculated at 2.5% of one’s wealth, given their wealth reaches a minimum threshold, or nisab. 

Examples of wealth eligible for zakat include money, stocks, cryptocurrency, gold, retirement accounts and more. When Muslims prepare to pay their zakat, they often use a zakat calculator to ensure their numbers are accurate across all categories of wealth. 

Their zakat is then paid to one or more of the eight categories of the needy described in Quran 9:60, identifying them as: the poor, the indigent, those administering zakat distribution, those whose hearts need reconciliation, those in bondage, those in debt, those serving God’s cause, those wandering in poverty. 

Zakat is typically given through a facilitating organization that meets the criteria of being zakat-eligible. Some organizations, like Zakat Foundation of America, have zakat-eligible programs and sadaqah-eligible programs. It’s important to distinguish which program falls under which category, and to ask when uncertain.

What Makes an Organization Zakat-Eligible?

Zakat-eligible organizations must meet the criteria set by the Quran and hadith for three phases of zakat distribution: assessment, collection and distribution.

Put simply, an organization must be able to verify the accuracy of the zakat being given, collect the zakat in an ethical way and distribute the zakat to one or more of the eight categories of the needy (described above). 

It is up to Muslims to learn about their zakat obligations and which organizations meet the three zakat distribution criteria. Diligently questioning zakat collection representatives and learning how one’s zakat will be distributed is crucial and will help one give their zakat correctly.

How Does the Zakat Foundation of America Meet Zakat-Eligible Criteria?

Founded in 2001 with the explicit purpose of creating a global zakat-distributing organization, the Zakat Foundation of America meets all three criteria for being zakat-eligible:

  1. Assessment: Through our Zakat Resource Center, we provide Muslims with multiple means to learn the fundamentals of zakat and calculate how much they’re required to give. This ensures the zakat we receive is accurate and Islamically compliant.

  2. Collection: We collect your zakat and use 100% of it for zakat-eligible causes. We also average only 11 cents per donation dollar for administrative zakat costs, which is within the allowed limit of 12.5% for zakat collectors.

  3. Distribution: We send your zakat directly to widows, orphans, refugees, victims of war and natural disasters and more, who follow the categories of the needy described in the Quran. 

We have received Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating for transparency, accountability and wise use of donor funds and are honored to be your trusted source for zakat. 

Visit our Zakat Resource Center to learn more about giving your zakat and use our zakat calculator.

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