Your Zakat – handled with care

Trusted, compassionate and endorsed by scholars.
100% of Zakat goes directly to families in need.

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Photo: ©UNHCR

Your Zakat – handled with care

This year, many displaced families are forced to observe the month of Ramadan in extreme poverty.

They have lost everything after fleeing their homes – your kindness and compassion can help them to restore hope.

The UNHCR Refugee Zakat Fund enables those observing Ramadan to fulfil their giving obligations by supporting refugees through a compliant programme.

Every Zakat contribution is handled with care, with:

  • 100% going to displaced families
  • endorsement by scholars
  • distribution in line with Zakat categories
  • funds held in a non-interest bearing account 

UNHCR’s Zakat programme directly supports families in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Nigeria and Mauritania.

Why are refugees eligible for Zakat?

The majority of the world’s 26 million refugees fall under at least four of the eight Zakat categories mentioned in Qur’an 9:60, including:

  • Al Foqara’ – (the Poor)
  • Al Masakeen – (the Needy)
  • Al Gharimin – (the Debtors)
  • Abna’ Al Sabeel – (the Stranded Travellers)

Vulnerable displaced families are often headed by women alone, who can face cultural, legal and childcare obstacles when looking for work. Providing assistance prevents those most in need from having to resort to desperate survival strategies – such as pulling children out of school or child labour.

Cash assistance from the Refugee Zakat Fund gives families the dignity to meet their immediate needs according to their own priorities. This also means that thousands of refugees who are restricted from working in host countries avoid facing severe hardships, while being empowered to manage their own finances.

It also helps to improve social networks, by enabling refugees to repay survival loans borrowed from family or neighbours, and benefits the local economy as refugees become customers at local shops and markets.

Why are refugees eligible for Zakat?

Photo: ©UNHCR

Dedicate your Zakat today and help save lives.

UNHCR is on the ground aiding refugees families, but relies on voluntary contributions to fund its work.

Your Zakat can offer hope for a better future.

Why are refugees eligible for Zakat?

Photo: ©UNHCR

The Refugee Zakat Fund is reviewed and endorsed by scholars, including:

  • Dr Sheikh Ali Gomaa
  • Dar al-Ifta al-Missriyyah
  • The Senior Scholars’ Council of Morocco
  • Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayya
  • The Fatwa Council of Tareem
  • Dr Ahmed Al Haddad
  • The Fiqh Majlis of Canada
  • Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy
  • Canadian Council of Imams
  • International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA)
  • Muslim World League
  • International Islamic Fiqh Academy
  • Tabah Foundation

Download a full list of Fatwa (PDF 3MB)


Why was the Refugee Zakat Fund launched?

At a time when funding for humanitarian relief is under extreme pressure and needs are great, the Refugee Zakat Fund provides a much needed source of support for refugees in need.

The fund also provides an effective, compliant and trusted route for people who wish to fulfil their Zakat giving obligations through supporting vulnerable refugees and other displaced families. The fund ensures that 100% of their Zakat goes directly to displaced families.

How does UNHCR distribute Zakat?

All Zakat donations are channelled to strictly Zakat compliant programmes. This is mainly direct cash assistance for displaced families, which complements other aid provided by UNHCR.

To distribute Zakat, UNHCR follows a vulnerability assessment framework to identify eligible beneficiaries, including families comprising of widows and their children. This supports families in countries such as Jordan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Yemen.

In some cases, Zakat will be used for goods to help individuals, in line with Zakat guidelines, such as shelter provision for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

How does UK for UNHCR report how Zakat is spent?

UK for UNHCR is committed to transparency and ensuring all donors can see the impact of their donations.

Throughout the year, UNHCR publishes mid-year and annual reports on the distribution of Zakat through the Refugee Zakat Fund, as well as an annual Islamic Philanthropy Report. This shows where funds are distributed, to how many people and how they have been supported.

What is Zakat cash assistance?

The cash assistance programme is an innovative way to ensure 100% of Zakat donations go to people most in need, with no overhead costs. UNHCR operates an expansive distribution network in many countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Bangladesh and Yemen.

As well as being the most efficient form of aid, cash assistance also supports the dignity of recipients by empowering them to decide what they need most to help their family survive.

How does Zakat cash assistance help?

Zakat distributed as cash assistance provides a lifeline to help displaced families survive. The bulk is spent on rent, food, healthcare and debt repayment among other essentials.

The cash assistance programme has saved families from eviction, addressed health conditions, child labour and other exploitative work conditions, and has ensured many families can send their children to school and repay the debts that lay heavy on their shoulders.

As one example, a UNHCR survey of displaced families in Yemen found that emergency cash payments were their only means of survival amidst the ongoing conflict and economic collapse. Of those surveyed, 91% of respondents needed to spend all or part of their cash assistance to access food.

How can I learn more about the Refugee Zakat Fund?

UK for UNHCR is committed to handling every Zakat donation with care and is ready to assist with any further queries you may have about the Refugee Zakat Fund or our compliance.

For more information, please contact our Supporter Care team by emailing

Will any Zakat be spent on administration?

No, UK for UNHCR is committed to ensuring that 100% of every Zakat donation is distributed directly to eligible families in need, in line with the approved Refugee Zakat Fund.

Can I gift aid my Zakat payment?

Yes! Gift Aid is a government scheme that allows charities to reclaim tax on all eligible donations made by a UK taxpayer.

It increases the value of your donation by 25%, meaning that we can claim an extra 25p for every £1 donated.

100% of your Zakat contribution will still go directly to eligible recipients via the Refugee Zakat Fund, while Gift Aid contributions will support UK for UNHCR’s work more broadly.

Are non-Zakat donations also accepted?

The Refugee Zakat Fund is specifically for those wishing to fulfil their Zakat obligations.

However displaced families can also be supported through non-Zakat donations. To donate Sadaqah, please visit the Ramadan appeal page.

Why is UK for UNHCR running a faith based appeal?

As an areligious organisation, UK for UNHCR believes in every person’s right to practice their faith and welcomes support from all communities across the UK.

Our community fundraising appeals and public engagement campaigns, for example, include support from many faith based groups.

As Zakat is a specific religious obligation for Muslims to contribute to support people in need, the Refugee Zakat Fund enables those observing Ramadan to direct their Zakat donation to support refugees.

Why does UNHCR need to seek public donations?

UNHCR only receives around 1-2% of its annual funding from the UN centrally – the rest is funded by voluntary contributions each year. This means the protection of more than 80 million displaced people around the world relies on donations.

While some governments support through foreign aid, a significant shortfall remains as UNHCR responds to record levels of displacement, including in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen and Bangladesh.

The Refugee Zakat Fund is needed to help to close this gap and ensure vulnerable families are not left behind. In 2021, the Refugee Zakat Fund directly impacted the lives of 1.2 million displaced people in 14 countries.

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