The obligatory alms that Muslims are required to pay as an obligatory alms tax is known by its Arabic name "zakāt." Zakat is taken from specific sources of wealth and given to specific categories of recipients. The specific sources of wealth include livestock, savings, trade goods, crops, and minerals.

The 8 categories of eligible recipients for Zakat are mentioned in the Quran: "Alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them [Zakat], those whose hearts are to be reconciled, captives, debtors, in the cause of Allah, and wayfarers...“. The majority of today's refugees and internally dispalced persons (IDPs) fall under at least four of these categories: the poor, the needy, the debtors and the wayfarers.

It is a shared responsibility to respond to the burgeoning humanitarian needs in the region, which have reached a new peak. Refugees and IDPs are entitled to receive Zakat and the Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund is a credible agent to facilitate access to the most vulnerable families in order to meet their most basic needs through innovative programmes. The Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund is Zakat compliant, backed by fatwas from leading scholars and institutions, and 100% of Zakat contributions are delivered directly to the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced families.

To provide an alternative source of funding to refugees and internally displaced people in need with a focus on families comprising widows and their children, through an effective and trusted route for people to fulfil their Zakat obligations, while ensuring 100% of their donations go to needy recipients – refugees and IDPs.

The Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund is designed to help Muslims fulfil their obligations regarding Zakat. Non-Zakat donations can be made to the same UNHCR cash assistance programmes through other pages: https://donate.unhcr.org/af/general/

The Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund assists eligible displaced families in Nigeria, with a focus on families comprising of widows and their children.

Yes, we will be looking at other refugee and internally displaced situations in the near future. More information will be made available on our website in due course.

Our focus with the Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund is ease, speed, and transparency – we feel that only digital payments provide such characteristics. You may also transfer your Zakat to our dedicated interest-free bank accounts.  


Yes, quarterly reports on collection and distribution of Zakat through the Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund are published on UNHCR’s Zakat. You can read our annual report here

Zero. The Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund is following a 100% Zakat policy. There will be no overhead or operational costs associated with donations on the Zakat page (i.e. 0%). The biometric registration of refugees by UNHCR is linked to cash assistance, which reduces overhead costs, ensures 100% accountability and the timeliness of assistance. Other overhead costs, such as bank transfer fees, will be covered from other sources of funding to UNHCR.

UNHCR follows a vulnerability assessment framework to identify eligible beneficiaries, including families comprising of widows and their children. UNHCR provides a wide range of humanitarian assistance programmes such as provision of shelter, healthcare, education, and cash assistance. In Nigeria specifically, your Zakat will provide two forms of acute assistance: 1) Core relief items including kitchen set, tarpaulin, soap etc., to IDP families in critical need. 2) Livelihoods support to help rebuild the lives of IDPs and allow them to become self-reliant again.

UNHCR does receive funding from governments, however, due to the sheer number of refugee emergencies globally, this funding doesn’t fully cover our important work in assisting vulnerable persons of concern to UNHCR. We are addressing that shortfall through alternative sources of donations and through innovative programmes such as the Refugee and IDP Zakat Fund.

UNHCR’s Zakat initiative has received five fatwas endorsing UNHCR as a legitimate recipient of Zakat funds, all from major Islamic scholars & institutions. Dar al-Ifta al-Missriyyah is one of Egypt and the world’s leading centres for Islamic legal research. It was established in 1895CE and is considered one of the earliest modern fatwa producing institutes. The Senior Scholars’ Council of Morocco is the highest official religious authority in Morocco, which includes a fatwa council. The Fatwa Council of Tarim is located in Hadramaut, Yemen. Hadramaut has been a major centre for scholarship for over a millennium and has produced many of the world’s leading scholars. Dr Sheikh Ali Gomaa is the former Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt and professor of Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah is an instructor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.

Ask your question here

  unhcr zakat faq loader