Charitable giving is one of the most important traditions during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims all around the world fast from dawn until sunset, partake in self-reflection and perform acts of kindness. One of the most significant acts is giving to charity, which is core to the faith. Zakat, the obligatory giving of 2.5% of one's wealth to the poor, is one of the five pillars of Islam. In addition to Zakat, Muslims also engage in Sadaqah, which is voluntary giving to charity, during Ramadan.
According to a report by the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, Muslim Americans donated $1.8 billion dollars to domestic and international causes in 2021. The report also found that the average Muslim American household donated $2,070 of Zakat funds to charity and 33% more than non-Muslim households.
“The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is an important time in the Muslim charitable calendar,“ said Shariq Siddiqui, assistant professor of philanthropic studies and director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy responsible for the report.
“It is likely that much of these $1.8 billion are donated or pledged during the month of Ramadan. It is critical that nonprofit organizations and charities find meaningful ways to engage with Muslim American donors around Ramadan.”
About 3.5 million people in the United States identify as Muslim, and Islam is the third largest religion in the country after Christianity and Judaism. Many mosques and Islamic organizations organize charitable activities during Ramadan, collecting donations and distributing food, clothing, and other basic necessities to those in need.
One of the most significant charitable activities during Ramadan is the Iftar dinner. Iftar is the meal that Muslims have at the end of the day to break their fast. Many mosques and Islamic organizations host Iftar dinners, which are open to everyone, regardless of their religion or background. These dinners provide an opportunity for people to come together, share a meal, and build community.
Another significant charitable activity during Ramadan is the donation of Eid gifts. Eid al-Fitr is the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. During this celebration, Muslims exchange gifts with each other. Many Islamic organizations collect donations to provide Eid gifts to children in need.
Through their charitable efforts, Muslims demonstrate the values of compassion and generosity that are at the heart of Islam.
Leading Zakat-Accepting Organizations in the United States
Islamic Relief USA: Islamic Relief is a global humanitarian organization that provides aid and development to communities in need around the world.
Helping Hand for Relief and Development: Helping Hand is a non-profit organization that works to alleviate suffering and poverty in the United States and around the world.
Zakat Foundation of America: Zakat Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides aid and assistance to individuals and families in need around the world.
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): ISNA is a non-profit organization that represents Muslims in the United States and Canada.
American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA): ARAHA is a non-profit organization that provides aid and development to communities in the Horn of Africa.
Life for Relief and Development: Life is a non-profit organization that provides aid and assistance to individuals and communities in need around the world.
Human Appeal USA: Human Appeal is a non-profit organization that works to alleviate poverty and suffering in the United States and around the world.
Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA): MLFA is a non-profit legal fund that provides legal assistance and support to Muslims and those targeted for their beliefs.
Transparent Hands: Transparent Hands is a non-profit organization that provides free surgical and medical treatment to patients in need in Pakistan.
Muslims Giving Back: (MGB): MGB is a non-profit organization that provides aid and support to homeless individuals and families in the United States.
Where do you give or volunteer your time during Ramadan? Tweet us with your favorite charities @give_pact.