8 December 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 the UK?
  • How much Zakat goes to individuals and how much to organisations (charities, NGOs etc?) How does this reflect Islamic teaching?
  • 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 justice?
  • 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 be mitigated?
  • 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?

About the Giving Thought podcast

The Giving Thought podcast is an exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society. Launched in 2017 it is recognised as an insightful and influential source of philanthropic debate.  Rhodri Davies director of our Giving Thought Think Tank hosts the podcast, discussing contemporary issues and interviewing sector experts. Episodes are also available free on iTunes and Libsyn.

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