Zakat can easily be described as the “forgotten pillar” of Islam. We know that it is an annual donation of 2.5% of one’s annual savings, but beyond this many of us are left stumped at the details.

At National Zakat Foundation, we strive to revive this fallen pillar in the local context. And what better time that Ramadan to highlight the importance of this central pillar of our faith?

Ramadan 2018 saw the NZF outreach team hold various Zakat Q&A workshops around Australia, with keen attendees wanting to know more about their obligations. Attendees were also able to benefit from one-on-one assistance with their own personal Zakat calculation.

However, education and collection is only half of our job. This Ramadan NZF also pursued an extensive and multifaceted distribution programme. NZF is committed to serving local need, through social welfare programs based in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

We see hundreds of clients every month, with cases ranging from refugee support to domestic violence to medical emergencies. Many of the clients have no one else in Australia they can turn to for help.

During the blessed month of Ramadan, NZF once again partnered in what is fast becoming our most popular Ramadan project, our Annual Toy Drive. Hundreds of toys were collected from the Muslim community, from individuals and schools, and then personally delivered to very grateful families at hospitals, community centres and special needs kindergartens across Australia.

We also partnered with ABW Foods Australia to distribute our Ramadan Hampers. During the week before Ramadan, our dedicated young volunteers in Melbourne and Sydney spent their evenings putting together the boxes of Ramadan necessities such as rice, dates, milk, honey, tea and extra treats. Our team then got to work with distributing these hampers far and wide, from single-parent families in Punchbowl to refugees in Wollongong. The extent of positive feedback indicated that something as basic as a box of food is not taken for granted by those in need.

Our Ramadan programme culminated with Zakat al-Fitr distribution. Alhamdulillah, through your generous donations, NZF was able to collect and distribute $80,000 of Zakat al-Fitr to families and individuals who otherwise would have had very little to celebrate on Eid day.

Our effort during this blessed month revealed the depth of need in the Australian Muslim community and the work that still needs to be done. Prophet Muhammad (s) is reported to have said, “The similitude of believers in regards to mutual love and affection is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches…” (Muslim).

In Islam, we do not believe that becoming wealthy makes us better than those who are not. Our wealth only makes us more responsible for our community. This is the role of Zakat: it is a way to transform our community and the lives of those who need it most.

We are so grateful for your support in our endeavour to serve and empower the local community this Ramadan. We look forward to more projects with your help, Insha’Allah.