Zakat and Sadaqah for Refugees
For millions Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan is a time of reflection, gratitude and patience. For 30 days, Muslims are required to fast — no food or water — from sunrise to sunset, as they continue with day-to-day life.
This year, Ramadan comes amidst many uncertainties, with the spread of COVID-19 affecting every one of us. And for refugee families who are observing the holy month far from their homes, the COVID-19 pandemic adds yet another burden to their daily lives.
Every Sadaqah and Zakat donation means the difference between a hungry child and a table of food at iftar; between a family on the streets and a mother able to provide warmth and shelter to her children; between an orphan alone and a gift for every child at Eid. Every gift is the difference between hope and despair for a refugee family in need. From Syria to Iraq, Yemen to the Rohingya, your support allows us to reach those who have nowhere else to turn.
UNHCR has a 70-year track record in assisting refugees throughout the world, regardless of their background or plight. Through its Zakat initiative, UNHCR has become the first major agency of its type to provide an efficient, trusted route for people to fulfil their giving obligations.
UNHCR implements a wide range of humanitarian assistance programmes including the provision of shelter, healthcare, education, and cash assistance; the latter has been identified as the best fit for Zakat funds. All Zakat funds received by UNHCR are strictly dedicated to compliant cash assistance programmes, which complements other aid provided by UNHCR.
The traditions of Prophet Muhammed ﷺ emphasize the importance of charity. As the third pillar of Islam, Zakat is mandatory for adult Muslims who fall over the threshold of Nisab.
This lunar year, dedicate your Zakat to refugees. Use our trusted Zakat calculator to quickly determine how much you should give. Calculate your Zakat based on currency, including gold, silver, cash or stocks.
Why should I give my Sadaqah to UNHCR?
Your Sadaqah is an act of solidarity with a community that is in need of our collective support. UNHCR recognizes the long Islamic tradition of according asylum-seekers with dignity and respect. This tradition was established long before modern refugee and international law. The Holy Qur’an instructs Muslims to give protection to those who need it.
“And (remember) when We made the house a place of return for mankind and a place of security.” – [Al-Baqara:125]
UNHCR will act as an intermediary or agent to deliver aid to the most vulnerable families in order to meet their most basic needs
- UNHCR is the only international agency mandated to protect the world’s 25.9 million refugees
- UNHCR leads the international action to protect people forced to flee from conflict
- UNHCR is present in 134 countries and can deploy assistance within 72 hours of a refugee emergency
Stories of Ramadan
A Ramadan Story: Koddafa
A Ramadan Story: Narun
A Ramadan Story: Amal
A Ramadan Story: Mohamed
A Ramadan Story: Fatima
A Ramadan Story: Ghasibeh
“I feel sad for my grandchildren. They live a sad life. They live without a mother or a father.”
For the past five years, 75-year-old Syrian refugee Ghasibeh has lived in Irbid, a city in northern Jordan with her five grandchildren. Ghasibeh is the sole caretaker for her grandchildren who were orphaned when their parents were killed in an airstrike in Syria. She is also a widow and lost her husband in the war in Syria.
Ghasibeh is left to raise and provide for her grandchildren. Unable to work due to her late age, Ghasibeh must find a way to put food on table and a roof over their heads.
Cash assistance is an efficient and secure way of helping refugee families rebuild their lives after they’ve lost everything in the brutal war. It helps refugees meet their basic needs like being able to afford rent, utilities, food and health care.
Fortunately, Ghasibeh has received cash assistance from UNHCR since arriving in Jordan in 2015. Cash assistance offers refugees like Ghasibeh a lifeline to provide for her orphaned grandchildren.
What do refugees use cash assistance for?
- Pay their rent
- Put food on the table
- Buy fuel and winter clothes
- Send their children to school
- Cover their medical costs
- Repay their debts
What does cash assistance mean?
- By ensuring their basic needs, cash assistance helps prevent thousands of refugees who are restricted from working in their host country from facing severe hardship and resorting to desperate survival strategies such as pulling children out of school, child labour and begging, resorting to survival sex, early marriage or returning to war zones.
- It helps refugees to improve their social networks by allowing them to repay loans from family, neighbours, and landlords and thereby reduces household tensions.
- It provides support to those most in need. In the case of Syria, this often means the single mothers who face cultural, legal and childcare obstacles when trying to find work, or the families taking care of orphaned children, in already difficult circumstances.
- It benefits the local economy as refugees become customers at local shops and markets.
How does the cash assistance program work?
- Refugees who register with UNHCR have their irises scanned, acting as a unique form of identification. Based on this assessment UNHCR identifies families in need of cash assistance. Once identified, families, can withdraw their cash assistance using more than 100 ATMs that are equipped with iris scan technology, thus ensuring full transparency and preventing fraud.
How does UNHCR make sure that cash assistance sent to families is well spent?
- UNHCR continuously monitors cash recipients, assessing their vulnerabilities and quality of living and follow up with the families through home visits. UNHCR was one of the first UN agencies to employ cash-based assistance in the mid-80s and has developed in-depth expertise in this field. Over the years, we have seen its remarkable effect on the life of refugees and forcibly displaced people