Dec 8, 2020
In this episode we talk to Iqbal Nasim, CEO of the National
Zakat Foundation, about Islamic giving and using technology to
transform the way Zakat works. Including:
- What is Zakat and how does it fit within Islamic teaching?
- What does Islamic teaching say about how Zakat is to be given?
(i.e. are there specific causes, should it be anonymous etc?)
- Is Zakat the primary focus of giving for most Muslims, or do
many give in other ways too?
- What is Sadaqa, and how does it relate to Zakat?
- Does most Zakat from Muslims in the UK go to international
causes? Why, then, did NZF decide to focus on distributing Zakat in
- How much Zakat goes to individuals and how much to
organisations (charities, NGOs etc?) How does this reflect Islamic
- How is Zakat viewed by givers and recipients- is it seen as a
gift made through charity or a payment made as a requirement of
- Is there any stigma to being a recipient of Zakat?
- What responsibilities are there as a digital platform towards
those giving and receiving zakat? Should you aim to be a neutral
intermediary, or do you have to take a more active role in
informing donors, assessing recipients etc?
- Disintermediation through technology brings benefits in terms
of allowing more direct connection between giver and receiver, but
it may also bring challenges- e.g. in individual crowdfunding there
are growing concerns we are seeing biases and old-fashioned
distinctions between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor emerge.
Are there similar challenges when it comes to zakat? How can they
- Does the focus on giving to individuals make it harder to
address issues at a more systemic level? (i.e. because you can’t
fund campaigning or advocacy for larger-scale change)
- There is a lot of interest in the wider world of philanthropy
(particularly in an international development context) in tapping
into Zakat as a potential new source of funding for existing
causes, or aligning it with the SDGs etc. Is this feasible, or does
it misunderstand what Zakat is and the motivations behind it?