The Zakat industry has the potential to play a much greater role and to transform the lives of 68.5 million refugees and other displaced persons around the world, of which 40.8 million are Muslim.
This inaugural report by UNHCR, The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in partnership with DinarStandard, has estimated that the current Zakat given worldwide stands at $76 billion, which is modest in context of $1.7 trillion in wealth held by high-net-worth individuals in the Middle East, and separately, $2.5 trillion in assets held globally by the Islamic finance Industry.
UNHCR projects that $208.6 million in Zakat funds will be required, and can be distributed through its existing cash program, to assist the most vulnerable refugee and IDP families across several countries, spanning Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt and Mauritania.
Islamic jurisprudence is clear that Zakat giving has a much larger role to play in drastically improving the lives of the today’s displaced population, in particular the world’s rapidly growing refugee population, which has expanded from 16 to 25.4 million in the last decade.
Zakat giving can also play a significant role in meeting wider social needs. At its pinnacle, the Zakat industry could fully alleviate the $21.9 billion identified by UNOCHA as required to address humanitarian needs globally in 2019, of which $7.9 billion is required by UNHCR to address the needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
Wealth X. “High Net Worth Handbook”. 2019.
Thomson Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard. “State of the Global Islamic Economy Report”. 2018.
Tabah Foundation. “UNHCR Zakat Collection and Distribution Report”. 2017.
UNHCR. “Global Trends: Forced Displacement”. Reports from 2007 to 2017.