Zakat is one of the five core aspects of Islam, and as a ritual act of worship, it has set conditions and criteria detailing Zakat assets, the amount, and the recipients of Zakat. There are some legitimate differences among the classical madhāhib, but there is a broad agreement on the definitions. We witness throughout the UK two methods of discharging Zakat; either the individual conducts this independently by investigating to determine the individual’s eligibility (masārif al-zakāh – eligible recipients of Zakat), or they delegate this act by deputising a registered charity or non-profit organisation. The registered charity (now termed Zakat Institution) then ensures the eligible recipients receive the Zakat.
The only direct legal/review body overseeing the work of charities is the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission’s legal responsibility is to ensure that the money charities collect is sourced, managed and expended appropriately and with due care. While this provides strong and clear regulation for some Zakat institutions (not all are registered, and some are companies), it is beyond the remit of the Charity Commission to determine the religious eligibility or processes used for Zakat by Zakat Institutions.
Moreover, the standard informal Zakat processes can be crippled by the conflict of interest among Zakat scholars and Zakat institutions.
With these issues and the growing demands of the British Muslim community for Zakat to be discharged in a valid and responsible manner, the need for Zakat Standards and Assessment and Verification tools have been developed. BBSI recognises this pressing need, and its UK Zakat Council project would facilitate the independent assessment and verification of how zakat money is sourced, managed and expended by Zakat Institutions.
The BBSI, given its diverse and ecumenical nature, recognises the importance of such an endeavour and how much the Muslim places trust in the charity sector and the religious scholarly field. It is with these sentiments we have the UK Zakat Council.
We have developed a dedicated website called ‘ZakatPedia’ where you, the donor and zakat payer can learn about Zakat and pay according to the shari’ah to your charity. The website hosts the most comprehensive Zakat Standards, which the Zakat Assessment and Verification Tool (ZAVT) is based on and from which the Zakat Assessor will assess and verify zakat projects, Insha’Allah.
The website will be launched hopefully within Ramadan 1443, Insha’Allah, and we will be working to make it fully functional in the coming months. Our work will start and continue throughout the year, Insha’Allah.
We ask you for your support and duas.