Black and blue

What would you do if the one you trust and love the most, turns his back on you?

Farhana* had been married for a few years when she sadly began to realise that the love she once shared with her husband had turned into sessions of curses followed by beatings from him. Her once protective and loving husband now beat her up on a daily basis, blaming her on little things that irritated him.

“They (your wives) are your garment, and you are a garment for them” (2:187)

Her nightmare became worse day by day. She began to be threatened by him quite frequently, with daily beatings not being uncommon. Living on the outskirts of New South Wales and only being able to speak in Arabic, the insecurity and loneliness often made her feel suicidal. She knew that she could end the marriage by filing for a divorce, but then again, what will she do next? She hardly knew anyone in her immediate community! She thought it would be uncommon for Muslim couples to go through a divorce and the fear of the local Muslim community not understanding her was something that was preventing her from taking any action.

Will the community believe her or her husband?

Better and stronger

Farhana* came to NZF around mid-January through her friend’s referral, when the abuse turned really bad. She needed temporary accommodation away from her previous home for her protection, and some basic needs to help her back on her feet. She got a divorce late January and is currently fending for herself in terms of trying to earn some money to make ends meet. Being a single woman, foreign to a country she once had high hopes in, she was falling into depression before she met the NZF team.

NZF organised for a secure temporary home for her. A caseworker was assigned Farhana to care for her until she was mentally better to look after herself. She received counselling, food vouchers and support to participate in self-building seminars to build up her confidence.

Alhamdulillah, she is now a stronger and more positive woman. After everything she went through, we can safely say that Farhana is a survivor. We pray that with her past behind her, this is now a new chapter in Farhana’s life, made possible through your help!

Local Zakat for Local Needs. Keep an eye out in your community for more people in need such as Farhana and refer them to us!

*Names and identities have been altered to protect privacy.

Read More

Have you got your Islamic Will yet?

“It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath, to not let two nights pass without including it in his Will.”
-Sahih Al-Bukhari

Wasiyyah – Islamic Wills Made Easy

We are proud to announce our collaboration with Wasiyyah, a professional service established to make the process of writing a Will that is in accordance with Islamic guidelines and the Australian legal system as simple as possible.

Wasiyyah is 100% not-for-profit and all proceeds go towards da’wah initiatives including projects run by the National Zakat Foundation.

Use the discount code NZFAU when purchasing your Will from their website (www.wasiyyah.com.au) to get $25 OFF your Islamic Will & support National Zakat Foundation’s projects.

Get your Islamic Will in just 4 simple steps:

  1. Visit http://www.wasiyyah.com.au/my-account
  2. Register an account
  3. Purchase the Will from the account page & don’t forget to include the below discount code when purchasing to get a $25 discount!

    NZFAU

  4. Answer a few simple questions & leave the rest to the team at Wasiyyah to put your Will together.

Why delay? Get your Islamic Will today! Click here to get started now.

If you have any questions, please contact the team at Wasiyyah through below details

  • Email: info@wasiyyah.com.au
  • Phone: (03) 9548 5583
  • Read More

    What is a Zakat anniversary?

    A Zakat anniversary is just like any other anniversary in the sense that it is a fixed date in the calendar to mark a significant date or milestone. More specifically, a Zakat anniversary is marked in the Islamic calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar.

    What difference does that make?

    If your Zakat anniversary is on the 1st Ramadan for example, this year that would have meant your Zakat anniversary was on 6th June 2016. Last year it would have meant your Zakat anniversary date was on 18th June 2015. So if you had stuck to the Gregorian calendar, you would have missed your actual Zakat anniversary by 12 days. If you are married and your spouse normally expects you to mark your wedding anniversary, imagine how they would feel if you remembered not just one day later but almost two weeks later?!

    Zakat is much more significant than an anniversary; it is an obligation and pillar of Islam, so knowing when your Zakat anniversary falls is essential. Being late with Zakat means being late with an act of worship and being late in giving the poor their due. On the day of your Zakat anniversary, the portion of wealth which you owe in alms no longer belongs to you, even if you are still in possession of it. To hold onto it intentionally without a valid reason therefore is not permitted in Islam. The wealth we have after all, is simply that which Allah Almighty has entrusted us with as a test and opportunity to reap His rewards.

    So, how do you know when your Zakat anniversary is?

    Every believer will have their own Zakat anniversary. To work out your date, it is exactly one lunar year after the date when your Zakatable wealth first reached or exceeded the value of the Nisab. If you cannot remember the date your wealth first reached that level, then the date should be estimated. If this is not possible, then a specific Islamic date should be selected arbitrarily and adhered to annually going forward. Paying Zakat in the month of Ramadan is not necessary and every believer will have a different Zakat anniversary or due date, although giving charity in this month guarantees greater rewards if you cannot remember or estimate when you first met the Nisab .

    Read More

    The History of Zakat

    Zakat before the advent of Islam

    The history of Zakat is the same as that of Salat (prayer). It is evident from the Qur’an that like Salat, the act of Zakat has always existed in the law of the previous prophets.

    All the followers of the religion of Ibrahim (Upon whom be peace) were fully aware of the concept of Zakat. For this very reason Surah Al-Ma’arij (70:25) describes it as “A specified right.” Because of Zakat and charity being a pre-existing Sunnah, the Prophet (peace be upon him), continued this act of worship with necessary reforms.

    The Qur’an gives examples in several verses telling us how Zakat was imposed on the previous Prophets.

    For example:
    Zakat of Prophet Isma’il (Upon whom be peace): “Also mention in the Book (the story of) Isma’il: He was (strictly) true to what he promised, and he was an apostle (and) a prophet. He used to enjoin on his people Salat and Zakat, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.”
 [Surah Mariam 19:54-55]

    Zakat of the Jews: “And (remember) when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none save Allah (only) and be good to parents and to kindred and to orphans and the needy and speak kindly to mankind; and establish Salaah and pay Zakat.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:83]

    Zakat to the progeny of Prophet Ishaaq (Upon whom be peace): and Prophet Yaqub (Upon whom be peace): “And We sent them inspiration to do good deeds and to be diligent in the Salat and pay Zakat.” [Surah Al-Anbiyaa 21:73]

    Zakat of Prophet Isa (Upon whom be peace): “He said: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and has appointed me a Prophet. And has made me blessed wheresoever I may be and has enjoined upon me Salat and Zakat so long as I remain alive.” [Surah Maryam 19:30-31]

    Zakat in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him)

    When we go back to the way Zakat was at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), in essence we are studying Zakat from its source – from its beginnings.
    In Makkah, the verses on Zakat generally pertained to voluntary payments, and it was left to the individuals faith and own conscience to decide how much to give and whom to give it to.

    Surah Al-Ma’arij (70:24-25) advises: “And in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged. For the beggar and the destitute.”

    After migration to Madina, around eighteen months after the arrival of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Madina, Zakat became a Fard, or an obligation on Muslims. Madina verses gave clear directives, ordering the payment of Zakat and since that time the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to send out Zakat workers to collect and distribute the due Zakat.

    The Qur’an does not give the definition of Zakatable wealth, except in a few cases, only the general principles are given without the details, e.g:

    1) Gold and Silver: “And there are those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. Announce unto them a most grievous penalty.” (Surah Al-Taubah 9:34)

    2) Crops and Fruits: “Eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered.” (Surah al-An’am
    6:141)

    3) Earnings of Trade: “O ye who believe, give of the good things which ye have earned.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:267)

    4) Wealth from beneath the earth: “And of that which we have produced for you from the earth.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:267)


    Furthermore, the Qur’an mentions Zakat in general and the word amwal (i.e. property or wealth or earning) is used as in the verse, “Out of their wealth take
    Sadaqah thereby purifying and sanctifying them.” (Surah Al-Taubah 9:103) and, “In their wealth and properties is the right of the poor, the beggar and he who is in deprivation.” (Surah Al-Dhariyat 51:19)

    It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that gives us, by example and by directives, details of the general Qur’anic command and converts the theoretical axioms of the Qur’an into a living reality. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the one who knows most about what Allah ordained and as such the Sunnah gives us detailed specifications of the kinds of Zakatable wealth, the minimum exempt of each of them and the applicable rates. The Sunnah also gives the details of the categories of people that should receive Zakat.


    Read More

    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.

    Read More

    Brother Mohamed – Struggling Refugee

    Imagine constantly living in fear of persecution, in fear for your life. Imagine having to flee your homeland, having to leave everything you know and love- your family, your friends, your job, your life. This is exactly the situation Brother Mohamed faced approximately 25 years ago in his home country.

    Mohamed came to Australia to seek refuge and asylum here in the late 80s. Despite initially coming to Australia for safety and to start a new life he has unfortunately fallen victim to the system. Not having the right to work or study and ineligible for government support Mohamed literally has no way to support him self. He has been homeless, in and out of detention centres and has had multiple applications for humanitarian visas rejected one after the other- and still has the possibility of being sent back to his country of origin. Essentially Mohamed has been living in a state of limbo and uncertainty ever since coming to Australia.

    With no means to support him self brother Mohamed has been left to beg for food and to live on hand outs by non-islamic organisations. For a short while Mohamed had been living in a garage let to him by a friend free of charge, however more recently he has been asked to vacate- making him back on the streets again.

    For the last 25 years Mohamed has faced numerous struggles and adversity, this has worn him down both mentally and physically. His livelihood has been stripped away from him. With no immediate improvement or progress with his situation, Mohamed’s future looks bleak however inshallah with your help we may be able to help change his story for the better.

    How NZF is currently helping Mohamed:

    The National Zakat Foundation has been able to arrange for Mohamed to have a meal a day or shop to buy him self meals at the local halal restaurants and shops in his area for the last 2 months.

    Since Mohamed is recently back on the streets again NZF is currently in the process of helping to find him suitable accommodation.

    NZF has also been networking with the client’s local ethnic community to see what else we can assist him with in the long term.

    Read More

    Sister Mary – Abused Revert

    Sent to Australia by her parents to study, Marys future was looking bright. Despite growing up in a family with a devout different faith, Mary was always aware and intrigued by Islam and eventually accepted Islam through the help of her fellow student.

    Mary knew her family back home would never accept her change in faith and attempted to keep it a secret. At first it was easy to hide, with being so far away from home. However, things became more difficult when she went back home. She found it hard to practise in secret and her family inevitably found out she was going to the Masjid and beat her until she agreed to denounce her faith.

    Mary was forced into marriage and her conversion to Islam was kept hidden from her husband because of the shame it would bring upon their name in the community. Shortly after the wedding the couple returned to Australia and continued to practise in privacy. However one day her biggest fear came true when her husband discovered her hidden copy of the Quran in their home.

    From here things took a turn for the worse, not only did he tell her family but he started beating her as punishment. She was trapped with this abusive man and felt completely isolated and helpless. Mary endured both physical and mental torture from her husband for so long that she became depressed- to the point where she contemplated suicide.

    Through her strong faith in Allah she found the courage to run away, but with no one to turn to for help she ended up on the streets homeless until a kind stranger took her in.

    What NZF is CURRENTLY assisting sister Mary with:

    The National Zakat Foundation is helping Mary with basic necessities such as food and finding her safe accommodation. The team at NZF are in the process of arranging the sister to have psychological support and counselling for the trauma she endured and are working with domestic violence groups to help her as well. She will require ongoing support from the community.

    Read More

    Sister Amira – Tortured and Abused

    In her home country Amira was forced into marriage. She was brought to Australia and promised a new life. However upon arriving she was subjected to torture and inhumane conditions.

    Amira’s  husband would beat her until she was all battered and bruised. She was kept locked in a room for days on end without any light or heating and the only time she would be allowed out was to cook and clean. She was not allowed to have contact with the outside world and was denied basic rights such as proper food, water and medical care when she became ill.

    Not only did she suffer from months of domestic violence but she also endured emotional abuse from her husbands family. She was threatened, intimated and constantly put down to make her feel worthless and inferior. Essentially Amira was brought as a slave to serve her husband and his family.

    Whilst her husband was out one day Amira managed to get a hold of the phone and make a quick plea for help to her family. The police were notified and immediately went to free Amira from the hands of her abusive husband.

    Its hard to believe that modern day slavery could happen within Australia but unfortunately it does. When our team met Amira she was extremely depressed and looked visibly malnourished.

    What NZF is CURRENTLY assisting sister Amira with:

    The National Zakat Foundation team is currently in the process of helping Amira re-establish her life by assisting her with basic necessities such as food, clothes and rent. At the moment Amira is in safe accommodation and is undergoing counselling for the trauma she went through.

    Read More

    Sister Amal – Abandoned Pregnant

    Life was going blissful for sister Amal. She married the man of her dreams and started to plan a new life with him. They came to Australia on a temporary visa, in hopes of finding work and establishing a life here. Their plans were put on hold when Amal found out she was pregnant.  All of a sudden their priorities had to change. Still struggling to find work and with no access to medicare or health insurance things started to become tough for the newlyweds but somehow they managed to get by.

    One day Amal’s life was flipped upside down, when her husband said he did not want her anymore. She was shattered, she didn’t know what to do. This man that she had loved so much and was carrying his child had abandoned her. Attempts to get the couple back together or even for him to support his baby by the local Imaam were in vain. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with her or the baby.

    Without any family or friends in Australia she was in a difficult situation. Before she knew it she was all alone and left destitute in a land still very foreign to her. Not having any money for a ticket back home and being too far along in her pregnancy to fly she was stuck in Australia. For months Amal lived in unsafe accommodation and survived on the bare minimum she could get from strangers.

    For most mothers pregnancy is a exciting time as they get to focus and prepare for bringing a new life into this world, with the help of their partners, friends and family who shower them with love and support. Whilst Amal on the other hand was worrying about how she would get through the night and how she would look after the baby once she gives birth.

    Amal didn’t have any medical care throughout her pregnancy because of her financial hardship and situation. When the NZF team met her it was obvious that she was extremely malnourished and dehydrated. She was so unwell to the point were our staff had to call an ambulance during our first meeting. Amal was understandably very scared and stressed about the situation she was in and initially refused to go on the ambulance to hospital because she didn’t have the money. As we got to know her more we found out that her only plan was to deliver the baby herself!

    How the National Zakat Foundation helped sister Amal:

    The NZF team have since provided Amal with extensive care- checking up on her well being regularly and  taking her to medical appointments after arranging the services of local Muslim GP who was willing to provide care for her.

    Through the Zakat donations from the Australian public NZF have provided assistance with living expenses support and supplies and materials for the baby.

    More recently through the communities support NZF have been able to fundraise around $5000 towards her medical costs.

    Update:

    Sister Amal was admitted into hospital to give birth however due to some complications she had to have a caesarean birth.

    Alhamdulilah she gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl! Through the will of Allah we even had the opportunity for one of the hospital staff members to give the baby the Adhaan. Allahu Akbar!

    Read More