Research Outline

Shari'ah Donations


To determine a donor profile and to provide estimates on total donated to Shari'ah organizations. Additional details surrounding motivations, interests, pains, and/or the tools used to donate would be preferable.

Early Findings

As there are not specifics surrounding donations to Shari'ah specific organizations, as a proxy these findings will focus on donations in general as a part of zakat, which calls for anyone practicing Muslim as a religion to donate 2.5% of their wealth once a year to help the poor and needy. Of note, most data in these findings will be estimates and predictions, as John Canady, of the National Philanthropic Trust U.K., states certain religious obligations within Islamic teachings stress the importance of being "private and not boastful about your philanthropy."


  • According to VOA, Islamic Relief USA received $19.3 million in zakat contributions in 2017.
  • Belkacem Nahi, regional manager for Islamic Relief USA, states that zakat contributions range anywhere from "$25 to a $1 million, depending on the person’s wealth. People who give extra zakat will receive more of a reward from God, while helping those in need.
  • There are "Islamic regulations in place for determining how much zakat a person should give" and as such many Muslim organizations offer zakat calculators on their websites.



The Islaminc Research and Training Institute (IRTI) released a study in 2017 examining the motivations of Islamic donors. Highlights from this study are provided below:
  • 64 % of donors pay zakat because it purifies their wealth.
  • Benevolence and concern for the poor and the needy motivates 63% of donors.
  • Interestingly, though privacy in donations is touted in may other sources, this study found that "37% (of respondents) feel that zakat organizations must acknowledge his/her contribution through a letter or a note or some other form of recognition."
  • 40-41% of respondents feel that the central government should collect and distribute zakat.
  • While 67% of respondents state they have a fair knowledge of how to estimate their zakat liability, 27% need professional advice and assistance.
  • Individual zakat donors place a lot of value on audit with 58% opting for mandatory and independent financial audit and 65% for Shari’ah audit.
This study further segments donors into three clusters. Characteristics of those cluster groups are included below:


  • Conformist, frugal
  • Responsible,
  • Accountable
  • Religious/dutiful
  • God’s servants
  • Traditionalist — parsimonious,
  • Traditionalist — conservative
  • Institutionalist
  • Purist
  • Knowledgeable,
  • Individualist — anarchist


  • Greed-buster
  • Traditionalist,
  • Shari’ah-conformist
  • Control-freak
  • Informationseeker
  • Shari’ah-conformist
  • Recognition- seeker
  • Propagator-of-faith
  • Reformist
  • Change-agent
  • God’s-pleasureseeker


  • Tax-saver
  • Skeptical
  • Indolent-apathetic
  • Tax-saver
  • Cautious
  • Compliance-freak
  • Localist
  • Reckoner
  • Law-abiding


  • No data was uncovered that illuminated any details surrounding specific donations to Shari'ah organizations, as such donations (especially zakat) has been focused on.
  • As there is limited information on these types of donations, it is not suggested that attempts be made to create either a demographic or psychographic profile.
  • We were not provided a geographic focus for this project, so we assumed a broad approach and looked both at the US and globally to provide insights. If a more targeted approach is desired, for example, the United States, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.