Are you Zakat eligible?

People often ask us how we determine who is Zakat eligible when it comes to the “Poor” and “Needy” Zakat recipient categories. At NZF, we take case assessment with utmost seriousness, completely aware of the fact that this is Zakat money that you have entrusted us with & it is a responsibility and trust put on us by Allah to ensure it is distributed to the needy.

It is important that applicants understand the scope of Zakat, and why sometimes it is not easy for us to provide Zakat even though our team genuinely does want to assist the case.

When an applicant applies for financial assistance, we perform a comprehensive assessment of their financial situation to determine whether or not they are Zakat eligible.

If it is an emergency, immediate relief funds and/or accommodation is organised to help the applicant sometimes as quick as within 1 hour.

To assess an applicants financial situation, the team will request the below documents, among other things, to assess their Zakat eligibility:

  • Current bank statement for the last 3 months
  • All income statements, including any Centrelink payments
  • All bills & expenses
  • Debt proofs
  • ID
  • Medicare
  • Without the provision of all documents, we are unable to assess the applicants case.

Following this, the team will assess whether the applicant falls into the category of “Poor” or “Needy” based on the financial situation of the applicant in relation to the local community here in Australia. Typically, any assistance required in relation to shelter, medication or food will be immediately provided.

One of our primary objectives is long term sustainability.

For example, if the applicants’ expenses are above the average expenses for someone in a similar circumstance here in Australia, we will first work with the applicant to re-organise their finances as often we have found by simply planning better, the applicant can fund their needs themselves. We have networks through which we can organise professional financial planning services if needed. This is a key principle for us to ensure that we are giving Zakat to only those who are truly eligible.

Let’s look at a few case studies to put the above into practice:

Case Study 1

Background:

  • Family of 4
  • Husband is the primary income earner
  • Family lives an average life. They have 2 cars & foxtel.

Situation: Husband meets with an accident and they now don’t have an income. They need to pay the school fees for their kids and further, one of their cars needs to be fixed.

Applicant: The sister applies to NZF for funds for School fees & repairs for the car.

Assessment: The husband is handicapped and is unlikely to return to work in the near future. Based on this, the NZF case worker assesses the need for a second car. Further she finds that by cancelling the Foxtel subscription they will save another $100 a month which can be put towards food & groceries.

Conclusion: The NZF, assists with financial planning and helps them sell their car to get the required funds. No Zakat was required.

Case Study 2

Background:

  • Family of 4
  • Husband is the primary income earner
  • Family lives an average life, with one car and sufficient income for rent & food.

Situation: Husband meets with an accident and they now don’t have an income. They need to pay the school fees for their kids and further, one of their cars needs to be fixed.

Applicant: The sister applies to NZF for funds for School fees & repairs for the car.

Assessment: The husband is injured and is currently not earning with no source of income. The wife needs a car to drop the kids at school and to do all the family shopping. They are already currently living in a 1 bedroom apartment, with minimal expenses.

Conclusion: Zakat eligible. NZF provides funds for school fees & to fix their car. NZF also provides grocery vouchers for their food and asks the sister to get in touch once in a month if the husband is still unable to work to identify a long term sustainability plan.

Case Study 3

Background:

  • Family of 5
  • Husband is the primary income earner
  • Family lives a fairly comfortable life. They have 2 cars, rent a 3 bedroom house, Foxtel, etc.

Situation: Husband meets with an accident and they now don’t have an income. The wife starts looking for work while in the mean time lives of their savings. After a few months she realizes they will need to downsize their house and sell some of the unnecessary items and reduce their expenses. She sells one car, moves into a cheaper 2 bedroom house and cancels their Foxtel connection. She has been looking for a job for the last 3 months. However, she still does not have enough funds for the school fees for the 3 kids due this month.

Applicant: The sister applies to NZF for funds for School fees for the children,

Assessment: Even though the family lived a fairly high standard of living previously, it is clear the family have done their best to reduce their expenses and change their lifestyle in a short period of time. Based on her current financial status, if NZF assists with school fees, the family would have enough funds for their day to day living for atleast 2 more months during which NZF can aid the sister with trying to get a job.

Conclusion: Zakat eligible. NZF provides funds for school fees. NZF also supports the sister to undergo some training to equip her with skills that will aid her in getting a job to support her family.

We do our best

End of the day, we do our best to fulfil this Pillar of Islam and distribute Zakat as instructed by our Creator. This is a simplified view of what our case assessment process may involve and we hope that it allows you to understand that sometimes it is not black & white and it may take our team a few days to assess your case and provide you with the appropriate assistance.