Nazila Isgandarova is DMin campaigner in Pastoral Counseling and Family Therapy, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary of Wilfrid Laurier University and PhD campaigner in Khazar University, Azerbaijan. She is besides a Religious and Religious Care Coordinator of OMC, Cummer Lodge Long Term Care Home and Chaplain at the Wenleigh Long Term Care Home in Mississauga. She besides teaches Islamic Spirituality in a Health Care Setting in the Emmanuel College of University of Toronto.


Since the mid-1990s, civil society has been doing a important part to the international development but at the same clip it became a focal point of a particular concern in development discourse policy. However, irrespective of its important influence to international development the Muslim organisations have been neglected in this discourse but has been noticeable merely after the awful event of 9/11. Since the early 1980s, Islam has become a important driver of alteration and Muslim organisations have become of import histrions in attempts to contend planetary poorness. The writer tries to foreground the turning prominence of Muslim organisations in development contexts and argues that the parts of these organisations are still inadequately understood. However, the paper besides discusses the demand to develop a countrywide umbrella organisation so that to accomplish more transperance and answerability

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On June 25, 2006, Warren Buffett gave $ 37 billion to charitable foundations, largely to the Bill & A ; Melinda Gates Foundation. It challenged the Muslims in the West in respect how they are dawdling behind in footings of charities, inspite of the fact that many Muslim states suffer bad immunisation, deficiency of HIV and anti-malarial medicine, and medical agencies to cut down cervical malignant neoplastic disease incidence and deceases, and plus, 1000000s of refugees. However, there are oil billionaires in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf provinces who could donate one million millions to alleviate the above mentioned jobs in Muslim states. Harmonizing to Forbes Magazine 2006 list of the World ‘s Richest Peoples, Saudi and Gulf billionaires are deserving at least $ 134 billion. Muslim billionaires in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon are deserving extra $ 29.4 billion. This is non taking into history Muslim billionaires and millionaires in Asia and elsewhere. Furthermore, the oil roar in the Middle East generated at least 300,000 new affluent millionaires in the part. Harmonizing to, the entire one-year sum of zakat ( Islamic charity ) aggregations from single citizens is estimated at $ 20 billion for Saudi Arabia entirely and good over $ 100 billion globally ( Feiler, 2007 ) . Many of these affluent Muslims fund some Muslim charities in the West. For case, Council on American Islam Relations ( CAIR ) launched a monolithic $ 50 million media run in 2006 which involved telecasting, wireless, and newspapers as portion of its five-year plan to make a better apprehension of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. Thus, the Western Islamic organisations which are funded by Muslim states are largely involved in Da’wa ( i.e. Islamic call, an equivalent to Christian evangelism ) , transition to Islam every bit good as in publication, broadcast medium and circulating Islamic instruction and values. And what about the parts of the Muslim charities and organziations in the West to the international development?

My first premise while reading the literature was that Western-based Islamic assistance bureaus or charities are a new phenomenon but the most of import beginning of foreign assistance in Muslim states. Yet small is known about these organisations. I hope I will be able to supply baseline information on parts of Islamic charities of the West in the Muslim universe. I will get down with tracking beginnings of support for the charities and measuring their aims and schemes in the community, so I will reexamine available grounds of their political and societal dockets. At the terminal, I will analyze the impact these organisations are holding in the Muslim society. The term West in this term paper includes the Western states such as USA, Canada. UK, Germany, etc.

My first hypothesis is that the Muslim chairities in the West map on free contributions from the Muslims in the West which accept donating as their spiritual responsibility. In this respect, they have gained a considerable outreach and go portion of the planetary development motion. However, the recent alterations in international development besides forced the Muslim charities to reexamine their rules and turned their attending towards the international development ends such as cut downing poorness, authorising Moslems in hapless states through instruction, supplying them with medical engineerings and medicines. These alterations pushed the Islamic charity organisations to reenforce planetary or cosmopolitan values through the Islamic rules. This paper attempts to analyse the ideaological footing for Islamic charities in the West and compare them with the international development ends. The findings of the paper besides contains some suggestions to the Muslim charities in the West in respect to the organisations construction and international development ends.

I. Ideological Basis for Islamic charities

Approximately 1.2 billion Moslems live in the universe today, with about 80 % life outside in the Arabic-speaking universe. An estimated 7 million Muslims reside in America, which has about 2,000 mosques, Islamic schools, and Islamic centres ( CAIR, 2006 ) . The local Islamic community organisations in the West are really active in public public assistance to convey alleviation to society.A The chief characteristic of these NGOs is that they are voluntary ( national, regional or multinational, every bit good as community-based ) . These organisations are working on the footing of the 3rd pillar of Islam, Zakat – alms-giving, which is a cardinal theological, ethical and political rule within Islamic public assistance discourse and practise.

There are two types of zakat in Islam: zakat al-fitr ( a level fee imposed on each individual at the terminal of Ramadhan ) , and, zakat al-mal ( a revenue enhancement on wealth ) . In pattern, remunerators normally give zakat al-fitr straight to donees without intervention from the province or any other 3rd party, nevertheless, in the instance of the zakat al-mal, it was the Islamic province to pull off the revenue enhancement on wealth. It still is the dominant position in political Islam, which sees the province as the lone rightful receiver of zakat. It is deposited in come-on Al mal ( Islamic exchequer ) and used to turn to specific societal jobs ( Edge, 1996 ) . Today, the Islamic establishments such as mosques, drama as a 3rd party to roll up and administer the assistance to the needy ( Noer, 1978, P. 8. ) . Zakat is normally defined as a signifier of charity, almsgiving, contribution, or part, it differs from these activities chiefly in that they are arbitrary, voluntary actions, known as sadaqa ( Weiss, 2004 ) . However, the resources of the Islamic charities are non limited with zakat and sadaqa. The other resource bases include the undermentioned: 1 ) zakat ( Islamic alms ) , 2 ) kharaj ( land revenue enhancement ) , 3 ) sadaqat id al-fitr ( an equivalent to canvass revenue enhancement, which every Muslim must pay, except the perfectly hapless, given on the decision of the fasting month of Ramadan ) , 4 ) waqf ( charitable gifts ) , 5 ) gifts and contributions, 6 ) volunteer services ( instruction, defense mechanism etc. ) and 7 ) obligatory household support ( Salih, 2000 ) . The larger Muslim commissions in the universe, including in the West comprise comparatively ample professional organisations with a scope of services within wellness, instruction and societal services.

Harmonizing to the Qur’an and Islamic tradition, rich Muslims should pay zakat with 2.5 % of their assets one time a twelvemonth ( Bamyeh, 1999 ) and Muslims started to the institutionalization of Zakat right after the decease of prophesier Muhammad. Islamic jurisprudence on footing of the Qur’an ( 2:177 ) empowers the Islamic State or Community to roll up financess and pass on the eight classs specified in the Qur’an: the hapless and the destitute, the wayfarer, the insolvent, the needy, converts, prisoners, the aggregators of zakat, and in the cause of God for the general public assistance of the community- for the instruction of the people, for public plants, and for any other demand of the Muslim community. The poetry was more emphazised by the words of the Prophet Muhammad: “ In 1s ‘s wealth there is a due ( to God and His work forces ) besides zakat. ” In this respect, charity in Islam may be in any signifier – 1 ‘s personal attempts, endowments, accomplishment, larning, belongings or ownerships.

The information demonstrates that zakat commissions in the West appear with a high grade of legitimacy. They have a strong popular support, with their local foundation and non-bureaucratic image. These organisations provide alleviation and human-centered aid to hapless communities during exigencies, natural catastrophes ( drawn-out drouth and inundations ) , famine and epidemics or are engaged in long-run development activities, including community development, agribusiness, H2O, wellness and instruction in the least-developed Muslim states. In this respect, Islam is similar to all major faiths, nevertheless, is besides different by developing a moral divinity that emphasises societal justness, and corporate duty for the public assistance of others and underscoring the significance of the socialization procedure, along with peace, justness, societal harmoniousness and corporate duty for the hapless ( Sachedina, 2007a & A ; 2007b ) . This societal divinity of Islamic charities is based on the Qur’an, which says that justness is the chief beginning of good administration and disregarding it is to disregard the chief push of the Islamic religion. The usage of the word ‘justice ‘ more than a 1000 times ” in the Qur’an increases the thought of “ good will ‘ ” and profit to Muslim society ( Richards & A ; Waterbury, 1995, P. 351 ) . Therefore, faiths other than Islam in the West are refers to a set of beliefs or patterns that spiritually link independent persons to God, for Muslims, nevertheless, Islam as a manner of life is “ a design for an ideal societyaˆ¦a design that organises all facets of societal and political life ” , for fostering a trusting and trusting society, with “ a cosmopolitan mandateaˆ¦to create an ideal society on Earth ” ( Sachedina, 2002, p. 23 ) . Furthermore, the creative activity of an ideal society has besides political intent and involves political map in the signifier of affecting people in charity work and roll uping the societal capital for the common good through the publicity of single virtuousness which means changing persons ‘ behavior to corroborate with Divine Revelation ( Fred Lawson in Richards and Waterbury, 1995, pp. 353-4 ) . Changing a behavior can besides intend to increase the degree of religionism, nevertheless, like other non-Muslim charities, it besides targets at least to raise the degree of “ sympathy ” and back up for Islamists “ from the populace ” which has so “ increase [ ed ] ” enormously over the past decennary or so ( Al-Braizat, 2002, p. 12 ) . However, the most important mark is incarnating two discourses: one reinforces planetary or cosmopolitan values and the 2nd, distributing the brotherhood of Islamic rule.

The authorities grant plans are besides another fiscal beginning of the Islamic NGOs. For illustration, in 2007, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development received a grant from the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID ) .A This grant, valued at over $ 300,000, helped the organisation to open three new clinics and three eating centres that will supply wellness and nutrition services to about 20,000 vulnerable adult females and kids in south-central Somalia ( Mercy-USA, web site ) . Canadian International Development Agency ( CIDA ) funded International Development and Relief Foundation ( IDRF ) and its spouse organisation Islamic Relief ( $ 87,000 ) in order to supply 100A impermanent fibreglass H2O armored combat vehicles with a entire capacity of 1A million liters, and put in 500A exigency latrines in cantonments for displaced people. It benefited some 20,000A people in BandaA Aceh, AcehA Besar, Pidie and AcehA Barat in northern and western AcehA Province ( CIDA, web site ) . However, zakat still remains the chief beginning of the Islamic organziations in the West.

Whatever the mark is of charity plants of the Islamic charities, they are cruicial in hapless Muslim states. First of all, charitable work is of import portion of Western Muslims ‘ individuality because it is a portion of Islamic belief of zakat. Harmonizing to Al-Qardawi, three major factors make zakat as an of import portion of Muslim individuality. These are as follows: foremost, the payment of poor-due is obligatory so that the hapless and the needy could be helped adequately and be enabled to give themselves to the worship of God ; 2nd, the payment of poor-due cleanses Moslems from their wickednesss and soil. And 3rd, God has showered a approval on the rich by allowing them wealth, and has elevated their position with excess wealth. As they lead a happy life, it behoves echt that they should pay the poor-due and be thankful to God for allowing them such premium ( Al-Gardawi, 1981 ) .

Therefore, the ideological footing for the Muslim charities in the West is the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition. It inspires the Muslims in the West to lend to the international development motion in the universe and continue their individuality in the West. However, the zakat is non the lone beginning for the activities of the Muslim alleviation organisations in the West. The authorities grant plans are besides a fiscal beginning for these organisations. Furthermore, Islamic-based charity administrations serve as a topographic point of worshipping and incorporating the Muslims to the society and the universe. They besides mediate between the Muslims ‘ traditional individuality and their new western individuality.

II. Activities of Muslim Charities towards the Global Development

Taking into history all the positives, Muslim charities are founded on the rule of Zakat ( Muslim American Zakat Foundation Mission Statement, April 2006 ) . Their work particularly becomes more critical when we take into consideration that the natural catastrophes like tsumani afflict Muslims in Asia, or approximately two-thirds of Muslims live below the poorness line. The Muslim charities in all these instances, provide exigency hard currency aid, nutrient and medical attention every bit good as educational and psychological services to Muslims. They besides launch orphan sponsorship plans, heighten their nutrient, wellness attention and instruction plans during Ramadan and times of catastrophe, and operate community development plans ( Al-Marayati, 2007 ) . For case, the mission of the Islamic Relief Foundation, which is headquartered in California, is to relieve agony, hungriness, illiteracy and diseases worldwide irrespective of colour, race or credo, and to supply assistance in a compassionate and dignified mode. Muslim Relief purposes to supply rapid alleviation in the event of homo and natural catastrophes and to set up local development undertakings to eliminate poorness, illiteracy and disease ( Islamic Relief, Mission Statement, May 1, 2006 ) . Human Concerns International ( HCI ) contributes 90 % of its financess to alleviation plans, development plans and development undertakings. HCI sponsored over 2000 kids around the Earth and has provided medical, educational and other basic demands to kids up to the age of 16 old ages and operates the plan in nine states, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Kashmir, Guyana, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Sudan. These parts provide continual fiscal aid for medical, educational, and basic demands of the kid. Since 1980 HCI has contributed over $ 40 million dollars towards easing Sustainable Development through long term development undertakings ( HCI website ) . The UK ‘s other taking Muslim alleviation bureau, Muslim Aid ( 1985 ) and Small Kindness ( 1999 ) which both were founded by the vocalist Cat Stevens, or known as Yusuf Islam after his transition, focused on alleviation assistance in the Balkans and other hapless Muslim states. Muslim Aid ‘s one-year budgets are smaller than Islamic Relief ‘s ( ?3.7m in 2000- 2001 ) allows the organisation be advanced in its undertakings but the organisation gives precedence to edifice mosques and less on widening assistance to non-Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, Palestine and Chechnya ( Benthall, 44 ) .

The assistance which the developed countires and international organisations provide is non sufficient unless the people are trained with new accomplishments. Taking this fact into consideration, the HCI raises financess to set up schools that offer free preparation in stitching, stitiching and embellishment every bit good as trainining supplies to develop adult females to a degree that they can make run uping and embellishment to gain a life. Human Appeal International ( HAI ) based in the UK besides believes that instruction is the key to eliminating poorness. The organisation financess the preparation Sessionss for a disadvantaged communities in Muslim states to develop people so they become independent and involve hapless in macro-economic development.

In many instances these establishments deliver assistance without differentiation as to spiritual belief or political association in Asia and Africa. In this respect, they comply with the international charity ordinances under the Treasury Guidelines Working Group of Charitable Sector Organizations and Advisors, Principles of International Charity 1 which was announced in March of 2005. It besides helps them to functon in the international sphere because to work with other non-members of the charities and non-Muslims, including secular persons and groups ( Cnaan, 2003, p. 26 ) . Therefore, Islamic charities execute multilayer maps, including conveying people together to discourse community jobs, happen solutions, Foster civic accomplishments, formulate homo and societal capital, roll up financess, and supply societal web programmes. As Sivan ( 1998, p. 1 ) mentioned, in this respect, they mediate between traditional Islamic values and modern norms, “ show [ ing ] that Islamic values can be to the full implemented in the modern-day universe. ” For case, HAI in the UK financess ?8 250 undertaking in Ethiopia in order to supply 10 shallow Wellss to supply safe clean imbibing H2O for the local population and their farm animal ( HAI website ) .A Muslim Relief was able to construct a significant fund-raising base overseas. Harmonizing to Benthall, the organisation has ?15.1m grosss for 2000, ?2.8m came from the US, ?2.2m from France and ?1.9m from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Mauritius and supports major exigency undertakings in Afghanistan, Palestine and Ingushetia. Non-Muslims besides benefit from these undertakings ( Benthall, p. 45 ) . However, the aid to the states with big Muslim populations is more seeable than to the states in minority Muslim populations and Muslim charities need to work hard to make non-Muslims in the stricken parts of the universe. For case, Table 1 shows that Muslim charities in the UK, USA, etc. largely concentrate in states with big Muslim populations ( Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Senegal among others ) , while others are more interested in minority Muslim populations in states where Christianity is dominant ( Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Malawi, Mozambique ) .

Table 2: Major Transnational Islamic NGOs and states of operation

Multinational Islamic NGOs in the West


Muslim African Relief Agency ( ISRA ) , ( Denmark )

Chad, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Sudan and South Africa

Muslim Aid ( UK )

Africa, Asia, Bosnia

Muslim Relief

Africa, Asia, Bosnia, Russia

The Muslim American Relief Agency ( IARA ) , ( USA )

Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda

International Muslim Relief Network ( USA )

Somalia, Sudan

Human Concern International ( Canada )

Benin, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan

Mercy International ( USA )

Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan

Muslim Relief Worldwide ( USA )

Egypt, Ghana, Sudan

Islamic Relied Worldwide

Mali, Sudan

World Ahlubait Islamic League ( UK )

Tanzania ( with strong concern involvements in the UK, USA, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, India and Pakistan )

* Note: These are inter-governmental administrations, which provide considerable stuff and ideological support to national and multinational Islamic NGOs ( Salih, 2000 ) .

One of the most of import characteristics of many Muslim charities in the West is that they are affiliated with major international and other Islamic giver organisations. In this respect, it is really positive result of the western-style Islamic NGOs that they have become portion of the planetary NGO motion. The Islamic charities in the West have really limited with Islamic Development Bank and Asian Development Bank due to the limited chances for cooperation between these Bankss and NGOs. However, the possibilities of widening cooperation with Islamic NGOs in countries such as, exchange of information, wellness undertakings wellness and adult females ‘s development activities could be among the countries where cooperation with these Bankss are largely envisaged. The Islamic charities, for case, the HCI is affiliated with many umbrella groups and organisations, such as: Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Refugees ( ACBAR ) , Middle East Working Group ( MEWG ) , Philippine Development Assistance Programme ( PDAP ) , and South Asia Partnership ( SAP ) . HCI besides works in partnership with Islamic Relief, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Hope International, etc. ( HCI website ) . HCI besides supported the $ 1.2 million dollars project to mend 10 schools in Aceh after tsunami together with Islamic Relief UK ( HCI website ) . HAI started a undertaking supplying 1 000 fishing boats in Aceh ( Indonesia ) to assist the local fishermen to return to work and get down supplying for their households once more. The Islamic Relief and Muslims Aid besides work really near with the UK authorities ‘s Charity Commission ( Bentall, p. 44 ) . This makes them to follow the criterions of answerability and continue their distinguished Islamic individuality. In this respect, Salih wrote that

As there is no differentiation between moralss and jurisprudence in Islam, there is besides no differentiation between NGOs ‘ societal, economic, political and spiritual maps aˆ¦ If Islamic philanthropicorganisations seek to go genuinely professionalised, they need to subject to the sorts of professional criterions and codifications of behavior that are progressively demanded of western NGOs and private sector companies. Should they take this path, so they will lose much of their specifically Islamic character ( Salih, 2000 ) .

Therefore, Muslim charities seek to assist those in demand. These purpose is highlighted in chairty ordinances of many states which seek to guarantee that charitable resources were devoted to proper intents in the public involvement. Therefore, the Muslim charities are driven by at least three major crises: foremost, the crisis, which refers chiefly to the economic crisis and its societal branchings ; 2nd, the support crisis emanating from civil wars, drouth and dearth aggravated by the economic crisis, and the administration crisis, including economic misdirection, corruptness, maltreatment of power, discourtesy for human and civic rights by military and one-party autocratic provinces. The major Islamic alleviation organisations are affiliated with other international organisations which makes their work more effectual. However, in order to accomplish more advancement in the charity work, the Islamic organisations besides need to develop a countrywide umbrella organisation so that to accomplish more transperance and answerability.


It is a religous and societal duty of each Muslim to be active in human-centered work and back up the development procedure in the universe. This chiefly is based on zakat rule in Islam. Besides the zakat, sadaqat id al-fitr ( an equivalent to canvass revenue enhancement, which every Muslim must pay, except the perfectly hapless, given on the decision of the fasting month of Ramadan ) , waqf ( charitable gifts ) , gifts and contributions, voluntary services ( instruction, defense mechanism etc. ) and obligatory household support are among the resources which these establishments funnction on. These recources are supposed to be the chief beginning of Islamic province gross, but in the West, the mosques and other Islamic NGOs elaborated them as a portion of the societal public assistance programme. Due to the deficiency of the research in this field, it is really hard to gauge how much Muslims donate to these establishments. Furthermore, because of the fright to acquire accused in connexion to the terrorist organisations, many Muslims do non desire their names recorded as possible givers of these NGOs.

The Islamic societal and educational organisations in the West are largely beneficent and non-profit-making organisations which are registered and regulated through multiple channels. They besides act as voluntary organisations that manage the credence, aggregation, distribution, and use of zakat ( every bit good as the voluntary signifiers of giving: infaq and sadaqah ) .

Many of Islamic organisations a work in a local country and are more orientated to their communities in utilizing zakat returns. This makes the nature of zakat organisations is fragmented, and furthermore, lack a professional direction. The united chairty foundations in the West would let to follow new ordinances which can break ease the nongovernmental zakat establishments and maximise the mobilisation of zakat financess and their immediate redistributive economic impact in the universe. The thought of set uping a united organisational setup for the countrywide zakat aggregation came into spotlight. This will convey more enthusiasm of the voluntary sector in zakat direction which so will take to clear ordinances to beef up its constructions and answerability. On the other manus, it will assist Muslims and the province to watch. Like other non-Muslim charities, the Islamic charities besides seek to increase the degree of religionism, or at least, to raise the degree of understanding and support for Islam. Islamic charities normally provide more support to the states with big Muslim populations, nevertheless, they besides need to work hard to make to non-Muslims in the stricken parts of the universe.

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