British Muslims donate £1bn to charity, to soar over £4bn by 2051

British Muslim charitable donations exceed £1bn a year and are projected to reach over £4bn by 2051, according to a new report by the Muslim think tank Ayaan Institute.

The report says Muslim charitable giving is where “we find the greatest expression of Ummah sentiments and solidarity” and it also criticised the treatment of Islamic charities by the Charity Commission and parts of the media.

The report estimated “with some certainty” that Muslim giving will easily reach £1bn if you combine charities, mosques and other individual Muslim giving.

“We estimate that, based on a conservative income growth rate of 20 per cent every four years, the sector could be raising £4.39bn by 2051,” it said.

“Therefore, in terms of income, employment, and skills development of volunteers, the Muslim charity sector makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and civil society.”

The research focussed on the 1,026 Muslim charities whose main objective was international humanitarian work. The number of charities grew by 91% in the last 20 years.

In 2020, this sector raised £708M and spent £611M, a 37% growth in income since 2017.  

Positive Muslim contributions overshadowed

The report notes that Muslim charities have faced increased scrutiny and pressure since the global ‘war on terror’ in 2001, leading to investigations, media intrusion, and constant scrutiny of their work and activities.  

Despite this, the report highlights the resilience and commitment of the UK Muslim community and charity sector to fulfil their religious obligations towards the least well-off and persecuted.

“The positive contributions of the Muslim humanitarian sector, migrants and refugees tend to be overshadowed by the negative linking of charitable aid to crime, terrorism and extremism,” the think tank said in the report.

“However, that negativity is also often perpetuated by groups with an anti-Islam or anti-Muslim political or racist agenda. Those negative stories can lead to investigations by the Charity Commission and restrictions on charity banking services.

“Good news stories about Muslim charities and their impact on beneficiaries, or the Muslim community as generous donors involved in caring for others and acts of kindness, are rare.”

The impact of Zakat

The report could not quantify how much Zakat amounted to the total. It spoke to several charities who said the percentage of Zakat of the total donations collected varied between 5% to 40%.  

“If we assume an average of Zakat contributions at 40%, the very high end of what some charities told us, then most Muslim charity income is still not from Zakat. This is contrary to what most Muslims tend to believe,” said the report.

The charities operated across 90 countries but were focused on 10 countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Somalia, Gaza, Iraq & Gambia.

In total, 65% of the charitable projects were carried out in those 10 countries.  

Jahangir Mohammed, the Director said: “The report recommends ways for charities to be more strategic & effective. It suggests they should diversify projects also be engaged in campaigning, advocacy & anti-Islamophobia work to help advance the lives of their beneficiaries, such as global refugees & displaced people.

“Such an approach requires thinking outside the nation-state, international system, and institutional frameworks. It requires us to think and imagine Islamic Ummah as a philosophy, set of ethics, values, and practical civilisational endeavour relevant in any situation.”


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