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How Can Zakat Help With Sustainable Development?

Our faith reminds us to care for our planet. We are reminded not to waste water during wudhu, to plant trees, and to remove debris from areas where people walk.

The world faces global challenges that the Muslim community can’t ignore. Some of these challenges include poverty, climate change, inequality, peace, and justice. Sustainable development means addressing our current needs without compromising the ability of our future generations from taking care of their own needs. 

This is nothing new in Islam. Our Islamic tradition truly believes in sustainable development. We have a history of using Zakat to empower not only our Ummah, but the whole world. Here are some ways we can make the world a better one for our future generations to inherit:

Helping the Impoverished

In Islam, one of the most basic needs that should be fulfilled is taking care of our physical necessities such as clean air, clean water, nutritious food, shelter, and clothing. As Muslims, it is a core principle of our deen (faith) to ensure basic needs are fulfilled. The Prophet Muhammad, on him be peace, said: 

“There is no right for the son of Adam other than these things: a house in which he lives, a garment to cover his nakedness, a piece of bread, and water.” 

Zakat Foundation of America leadership, staff and volunteers distribute fresh food June 2 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to honor George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer Memorial Day. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

Imagine the immense blessings we get when we give our Zakat to help with hunger relief, provide fresh safe water, and help provide shelter! The Muslim American community is blessed to have access to so many charitable Muslim organizations that help the impoverished. Zakat Foundation of America allows you to harness your Zakat to help others through our food security program, water program, emergency relief program, and more. Now, you can help the impoverished with just a click. And this isn’t the only way we have been able to help.

One of the ways Zakat Foundation was able to provide hunger relief during the pandemic was to connect with local farmers with surplus produce to create food boxes. This way, we were able to take 1 million pounds of fresh food and use it to feed so many. In places like Gaza, we work with ANERA to provide sustainable farming solutions for food-insecure families using greenhouses

Remembering to Care for the Earth

Our faith reminds us to care for our planet. We are reminded not to waste water during wudhu, to plant trees, and to remove debris from areas where people walk. Prophet Muhammad, on him be peace, said:

“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (Sadaqah) for him.”

When we are helping others, we should seek sustainable ways to do it. For example, when Zakat Foundation of America was faced with a challenge to provide electricity for schools in Pakistan, we turned to solar panels. This project allowed the schools to have a renewable and sustainable source of electricity that also reduced noise and gas pollution.

When regions are struck by climate change-induced catastrophes, we help them not only with immediate emergency relief but also with the resources to rebuild and withstand new climate conditions. We recently launched the Flood Fund Campaign to distribute hot meals, clothing, shelter, hygiene kits, bedding, and household supplies to the desperate in seven emergency flood zones

Zakat Foundation of America staff deliver food after the Aug. 4 blast in Beirut, Lebanon. They also prepared warm meals and helped clean the streets for weeks to clear rubble. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

These are just a few of the many ways that your Zakat can have a real impact on conserving our planet while helping others. To learn more about how to give Zakat, visit our Zakat Resource Center here

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