Zakaat to NGOs/NPOs

If you thought this blog would soon become something like Bridget Jones Diaries…then…you were wrong! 😀 Tou khair, I am fine now, Alhamdulillah.

So, this is not a post that I was planning to write. Instead I wanted to continue with the ‘Iqra’ wali discussion but I just had to say this after the zakaat thing was brought up during that discussion.

I know we should be talking about zakaat near ramadan cuz thats wen a lot of people give away their zakaat but then there are others like me who would just give away zakaat wenever possible. In addition to that, ramadan is too far away. Ill forget talking about it by then 😛

People usually give away zakaat in terms of cash.  Many people just hand in the money to some NGO/NPO and with this they think their task has been completed. Just wanted to share my own experience here which might help you people in making better decisions in finding the right person/proceudre to give away zakaat.

I have worked for nearly 6 months voluntarily at two different NGOs (one of them run by a popular singer, both of them claiming to improve the standard of education for the lesser priviliged). Now, with what I have seen, I do not think it is actually a very good idea to just hand in the money to them and then completely forget about it. Why? Well, lemme tell you something which I have seen being done. There’s a school in Shehdadpur where the students/teachers have no access to water (forget about clean water, there’s no water at all). The website of that particular NGO was asking for donations to be able to overcome this problem. Money did flow in (a lot through credit card transactions, something i need to talk about later in the post). Sadly, the school in Shedadpur still has no access to water because the money that was generated was instead used to get a new air-conditioning system in the CEO’s office, a new mineral water dispenser and also a coffee machine. The CEO also ordered an HRM system to be made by one of the leading software houses, something which I offered to make for free! With this I am not saying that you should not give your donations to these NGOs, I am just trying to say that you need to be sure where that money would be used. You could perhaps sponsor a child at SOS (ensuring that you do go to SOS yourself every now and then and meet the child personally), buy an ambulance for Sahara Trust or make a science lab for The Citizen’s Foundation but please just dont consider your job done simply by giving away the money! Further, if you think that is way too much for you, then you could perhaps help a relative, again by buying something yourself rather than just handing in money.

Now, coming back to paying your zakaat through credit card just by a click of a button. Im sorry to say but the use of credit card itself is prohibited in Islam. You are paying your zakaat, which is one of the basic five pillars of Islam and you are also paying interest on that transaction, for which the Prophet (SAW) is known to have said that taking/giving interest is like waging a war against Him and Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) keep us away from this laanat as much possible although it seems quite unlikely in today’s age…a topic which I would definitely like to talk about later in one of my posts.

EDIT: Please read this to view the continuation of the discussion that started in the comment section of this post

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46 thoughts on “Zakaat to NGOs/NPOs

  1. Thank Allah, A sane post after a long time!!!
    Haha just being my usual sardonic saracastic self.

    Now the novelty of being in a new country is starting to wear off, well anyway here are my two ccents (NOT Zakat).

    Zakaat has a very important attribute attached with it, The payer needs to know the final destination of his or her zakaat, otherwise, if he does and the wrong people end up with it, it gets null and void. So people blindly paying zakaat is just like people paying almost no zzakaat. Plus when the payee gets the zakaat he oor she also needs to know that the funds he or she is gettong are someones zakaat. It is really a complex set of actions rather than just calculating and going to a bank to pay.

    And lady I know realize that you were a bit more fun when you were either not engaged or you were not fine! I cant judge the exact cause of the two since both happened nearly around the same time. So you tell me which is which. Hehe

  2. The protection is gone now!!! lol
    Good continuation from the previous (unprotected) post. I agree about giving Zakaat blindly to NGO’s is wrong ‘coz one should know how their zakaat is being utilized.
    For my own zakaat I do something a little different, I prefer supporting a few kids directly for their education expenses. Its gives one more satisfaction etc…

    About paying Zakkat on credit card. Well since I have done this a few times so I think I should clear the misconception about it. Interest free credits are quite common in U.K and it is one of the best type of small interest free loans avaiable. What you can do is you use your credit card and no interest is charged on your purchases until the interest free period is over. I have a few credit cards which are interest free for a specified number of months so what I have done is if I didnt have cash to pay my Zakaat off then I have paid it on my credit and then cleared the credit card before the interest period kicked in.
    So Karachiwali, those people who paid Zakaat on credit card might have done what I did. Technically, no interest being charged so its all nice and clean….

  3. Now for zakat, u have rightly said that we should know where our zakat is being utilized.

    as for credit card ash has raised the point that i was about to raise. Using cc u get an interest free loan too….it works like this. u get a monthly bill for all the purchases u have done. if u pay those within due date then there is “no” interest….

    we can have debate on this if it is allowed or not.

  4. @ Saad
    we most probably are!

    @ Safi
    khair, i think we have just gotten too lazy. bojh ki terah religion practice kertey hain sab. zakaat deni hai, bas hand in the cash to just any one without investigating whether the person we are giving it to is actually ‘eligible’ or not or whether the NGO that we give our money to would be using it the right way or not.

    @ Ash
    well that was all a lil too personal so had to password protect them 🙂
    anyway, coming back to the zakaat thing. even i help certain students with their fees and all but i make sure that i pay the fees myself cuz i once just handed in the cash to a student who i ‘thought’ was worthy of zakaat. that money was instead used for something else. When i found out, i felt really sad. After that, I started to investigate a lot ensuring that the kid is eligible and I pay the fees myself
    As for credit card and short term loan, zakaat is on our savings and we dont have to pay it by taking loans (short term or long term). In addition to that, although there is no definite quranic ayah about it, but I have reservations about saving too much anyway! (Islam faqiri ka dars deta hai, I myself am not practicing that but I cannot deny that either) Will get back to that later.

    @ Awais
    as for the credit card thing, how many people really pay all their bills on time? (im not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, its just a generic observation) i mean why would people use a credit card with a Rs. 5 lakh limit and pay everything on time? Im sure you know of how badly a lot of muslims are suffering because of this system even in countries like Pakistan where credit card is a relatively new concept.

  5. its interest(ribba) and not the use of credit cards that is not permitted in Islam.

    Agree with your post though. I applaud you and other people like you for making the effort to atleast raise a voice against these sort of things. Instead of just complaining and keeping these matters for drawing room discussions (as has become of our nation)

  6. @Karachiwali

    It’s your blog so you do as you please. 🙂

    I didn’t say I take short term or long term loans. I said a few times I have used my credit card to pay some part of Zakat off. Indeed, Zakat is taken off from one’s saving but there can be times when someone doesn’t have enough money to his/her disposal to pay things off. This is when people like me access other means. At least this way Zakat is not being delayed and one is not paying any interest what so ever.

    About Islam’s teaching about living a simple life well I don’t have much knowledge on that saying but the way I see it people are rich and poor with their own faith. Some people have it and some people don’t. This is how it is and it is basically TOUGH.

    The most one can do is try to take care of people who are less fortunate. “Faqiri ka daras” doesn’t mean that if 40% live in rented houses then the other 60% should do the same. Allah has given some people everything and he has kept some people away from the luxurious of life. This is where the point comes of thanking Allah, sharing the luxurious one has and making sure that one is not undermining the less fortunate people. Above all this as a son, father, husband and a brother it is my duty to provide the best to my family at all times.

    Today by the grace of Allah I have more than most people have at my age. (Alhamdulillah) It is come from nothing else but the grace of Allah, Dua of my parents and my hard work and if I am doing what needs to be done for the less fortunate then it is fine because I am not forgetting Haqooq al Ebad.

    Balance is a must for all trades

  7. I agree, credit cards are our curse. Now me talking about singapore is a cliche by now, but here is a great system where debit and cash cards are used almost everywhere from buses to internet, from bank to supermarkets, virtually everywhere. It is much more secure and hassle free than credit catds as you dont need to worry about paying any bills and running over the limit.

    Such a system should be employed in Pakistan as well. But again there are so many things wrong there that we need a complete overhaul of the wwhole system. But its like say billi ke gulle main ghunti kis ne bandhni hai? Who is going to do this? Who has the guts and time to fix up our country!

  8. @Awais: I know that you know (:S) a lot about banking. So you should also know that by using a credit card, you are supporting a system based on interest. It doesn’t matter if you pay the bills on time. As for the debate thing… BRING IT ON!!!

    @saifullahhussaini: Plz billi ko beech mein mat lao. But I know what you mean and I agree.

  9. @SAWJ:

    Go jump off a tall building, Oh no! jump of the first storey! I want you to live and feel the pain after the fall. Hell Yaaa! I m a goddamn Sadist!

    PS: and dont fall head first!

  10. @ Omer
    first of all, welcome to the blog and liking the post 🙂
    secondly, i know that credit card itself is not haram, it leads many people spending a lot more than they can afford, leading them to pay compound interest…which is haram for sure.

    @ Ash
    good for you that you are doing well in your life Masha Allah

    @ Safi
    exactly, debit cards are a lotttt better than using credit cards! and yea a complete overhaul is what is needed for our country, but who’s gonna come and make changes for us? We have to start making changes ourselves. Small changes can make huge differences 🙂

    @ farooq
    lol…ill just summarize it:
    do not give away zakat unless you are sure u are giving it to the right person and that it will used properly

    @ talha
    yea, even i am all ready for a debate!

    @ SAWJ
    ab comments bhi summarize karoon?

    @ SAWJ and Safi
    wait, wait, wait! can we fight later (although i was actually missing that 😛 )

  11. @talha…come on dude…i am basically creating a problem for a system rather than supporting it. U might ask how….Interest is the key on which banking is and i am using there resources without paying them interest….what u think?

    This is a grey area of paying zakat via cc where u don’t pay interest on it. I think we should avoid this any other grey area when ever and where ever we can.

  12. @ Safi
    lol…well, im sure you know the reaction of calling a female anything that can make her feel old 😛

    @ Awais
    exactly my point..avoid using the credit card as much as possible. It should only be the last option

  13. Yeah, when you have to pay for your TEOFL & GRE scores. Yaar I had a scene with UBL way back when. I hated banks since then. Most organizations give back to the society, banks dont! Plus as any economist would tell you, banks are the reason why there is really inflation and thus the so called financial cycle! So since credit cards are the baby of banks….. You get my drift.

  14. @ Safi
    i faced pretty much quite similar wen i had to pay for gre and toefl too 😛 and i have always hated banks altho my dad was a banker and i am getting married to a banker too

    @ talha
    hmmm…majboori was wat i meant

  15. Havent read the comments but these are my two cents on this.

    Zakat is a very important issue islamically and so is the use of riba [interest]. If Zakat was paid properly and in an islamic manner, then we’d have a perfect society. It is because people are not honest and/or do not understand the value of zakat that we have some of the problems we do.
    would
    Secondly, i really, really feel bad for those people who eat up the zakat that is being paid for the poor. SubhanAllah. I would not want to be in their shoes on the day of judgement for they are eating up the money that is meant to be for the poor.

    Thirdly, I just did the tafseer of the verses of riba in my tafseer/quran class a couple of weeks back. And lets just say, a person would be blind and stupid to accept the invitation of war with Allah and his Messenger. There is no ease for the one who deals in riba in this dunya or the hereafter.

  16. i gave an exam in islamic finance last week. Taking this course i realized that the newly created islamic banking is not islamic at all, they pretty much just give new names to interest and what not… 😀

  17. Well a lot can be said in this regard but before saying anything I must say that I’m not a scholar on this but I believe that IF we are transecting in the rest of the matters in life through credit cards then why not zakat… at least its a positive act… and if you go with your own point of view then we all must say no to every type of such money transferring which involves interests…

  18. Good post. I actually read it poori.. =D

    My two cents – I’d rather buy stuff and take the pain of finding the ‘mustahiq’ people instead of handing over the money to someone. I’ve been doing that. It’s hard to trust people in Pakistan.

  19. @ farooq
    islamic banking is just a way of attracting the naive, religious people towards the same faulty system

    @ Afaque
    first of all, welcome to the blog
    secondly, i never said that the use of credit card can be justified…we must avoid it as much as we can.

    @ Ammar
    thank you 🙂
    anyway, buying the stuff and looking for a truly deserving person should be the right way of giving away zakaat. Why look for shortcuts!

  20. How is this for a solutions! Use the Goddamn debit cards, open the friggin current accounts, or invest in legit businesses! That is if you want an Islamic solution!

    Now if you want a Goddamn Riba Free solution, open a friggin account in a Riba free (so called Islamic) banks! and still use debit or cash cards…
    And if you want a permenant solution why not look away from the west for a little why and towards some other mommy daddy of yours and really evaluate it! There a whole gradient of solutions available. I have been in singapore for only two weeks and I m awed by their system here!
    Credit cards are so rare here and very low interest rates, I went to china a while and the pretty much had a zero interest system!!!!

    @kw: I wanted to spruce it up with something other than Goddamn and friggin but I remembered it was a goddamn lady’s blog! Please make this blog an R rated blog instead of PG 13, Ok r is too excessive, make it PG 17!

  21. thank you safi for starting the kabaddi formally 😛
    and no, the rating of this blog wil remain Universal as it is right now.
    as for the rest of your comment, will get back to it later insha Allah

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