Indeed, [prescribed] charitable offerings are only [to be given] to the poor and the indigent, and to those who work on [administering] it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to [free] those in bondage, and to the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer. [This is] an obligation from God. And God is all-knowing, all-wise. ~ [Al-Tawbah, 9:60]
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Integrity and Transparency in Zakat Distribution
SALAM Islamic Center is honored to be a trusted distributor of Zakat.
Every year we collect tens of thousands of dollars from the community with the express purpose of helping those in need. We take this religious responsibility seriously. Our systems are designed to ensure transparency, accountability, and adherence to Islamic law principles.
Here is a summary of how we handle the Zakat funds:
- Collection: We accept Zakat from our community through different channels such as online payments, bank transfers, and direct donations at our center. We maintain a separate account exclusively for Zakat funds to ensure there is no mixing with other types of funds.
- Verification of Need: We have established a Zakat Committee which is responsible for assessing the needs of the applicants. This involves verifying their financial situation and confirming they meet the eligibility criteria to receive Zakat as set out in Islamic law. We prioritize helping the most vulnerable members of our community.
- Distribution: We distribute Zakat funds with the utmost care, ensuring that they reach the intended recipients in a dignified manner. Our distribution includes direct cash aid, food vouchers, rent and utility assistance, medical aid, educational support, and more.
- Record Keeping: Every transaction related to Zakat is recorded for audit purposes. These records include the source of funds, amount collected, the recipient’s information, and the amount disbursed. This ensures we maintain a high level of transparency and can verify that all funds are used appropriately.
- Reporting: We prepare monthly reports for the SALAM Board of Trustees which include zakat funds collected, distributed, and the balance left in the zakat account. We prepare an annual Zakat Report detailing how the funds were used. This report is shared with SALAM Members during the Annual Membership Meeting. It is also shared with our donors and the wider community to ensure complete transparency. It includes information on how many individuals and families were helped, the types of assistance provided, and the impact of the support.
We understand the significance of the task entrusted to us, and we strive to handle every Zakat dollar with the utmost respect and care. Our goal is to serve our community faithfully and help alleviate poverty and hardship in line with the teachings of Islam.
The eight (8) categories of eligible Zakat recipients are:
01 | The poor (al-fuqarâ’)
02 | The needy (al-masâkîn)
03 | Zakat-workers
04 | Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (mu’allafât al-qulûb)
Example: Reverts who face hardship after being alienated due to embracing Islam.
05 | To free those in bondage (slaves and captives)
06 | The debt-ridden, for those who obtained debt for legitimate purposes.
07 | In the cause of God
08 | The wayfarer (the stranded, or one traveling who lacks resources)
Zakat Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is eligible to receive Zakat money?
Zakat money can only be given to those who meet certain criteria, as outlined in Islamic teachings.
The poor and the indigent, and to those who work on [administering] it, and to those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to [free] those in bondage, and the debt-ridden, and for the cause of God, and to the wayfarer.
Not sure if you are eligible? Consult this FAQ or ask SALAM office.
How can I apply to receive Zakat money?
To apply for Zakat at SALAM, you must complete and submit to the SALAM office the Zakat application obtained from the office, with all supporting documents. If an application is submitted without the required documents, it is considered incomplete and will be rejected.
Submit your completed application with the required documentation in person at the SALAM Center Office 4545 College Oak Drive.
What documentation do I need to provide to receive Zakat money?
You must submit a copy of your picture ID and all those in your household, proof of your income, expenses (Rent statement, lease etc), and a bank statement/s showing the last three months.
What is the Zakat review process?
Once a completed application, including all supporting documents, is submitted, it is sent to the Zakat committee for review.
The Zakat committee will confirm eligibility, assess the need, and verify documents.
If approved, the committee will recommend an amount to be paid.
Approved applications are submitted to the Accounting office so payment can be processed.
Approved applicants will be notified when their check is ready for pick-up.
The committee meets once per week.
How is the amount of Zakat money I receive determined?
The amount of Zakat money you receive will depend on a number of factors, including your financial situation, your family size, your expenses, and the availability of funds in the Zakat Account.
Can I apply for Zakat for my family?
There is one application per household. You can assist a family member or friend in completing the application if they have difficulty doing so on their own. However, the name on the application and the recipient must be the same.
Can I apply for Zakat online?
No. All Zakat applications at SALAM must be submitted in person to the SALAM office.
SALAM Office: 4545 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, CA 95841
How long after I submit my application can I expect a response?
Response times vary based on when your application is submitted. Most applicants will be sent a response within a week. Some cases may take longer.
Is there anything I can do to appeal for more money if I receive less than I need?
Due to limited funds, most recipients receive less than they need. There is no formal appeal process.
Can I receive Zakat money more than once?
Zakat recipients can reapply every six months. To re-apply, you must complete a new application with current documents. In the new application, you must write the amount you previously received.
Do I have to pay back the Zakat money I receive?
No, Zakat money is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. However, if your financial situation improves in the future, you are encouraged to donate to SALAM to help others in need.
Can I choose how to spend the Zakat money I receive?
The Zakat money you receive should be used for the reasons listed when you applied. It is intended to be used for basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, you may be able to use the funds for other necessary expenses, such as medical bills or education costs.
Is receiving Zakat money confidential?
Yes, our process is confidential. To respect the privacy and safety of applicants, we regularly shred sensitive documents.
[2.5%] of funds in excess of your needs that are kept unused for a full year.
Zakat-ul-Mal is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is a form of mandatory charitable contribution. It is a set percentage of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth that is given to the poor and needy. It is typically 2.5% of an individual’s total savings and wealth above a minimum amount known as Nisab.
Zakat is a fundamental part of the Islamic faith and is meant to cleanse one’s wealth for Allah’s will, acknowledge that everything we own belongs to Allah, and help those in need. It is also seen as a way to help equalize wealth in society and aid social cohesion.
Zakat-ul-Mal is payable at 2.5% of your wealth. All [cash, gold, silver, property] over your needs that are kept unused for a whole year and is above the nisab.
Nisab equals 85 grams of gold. It is the minimum amount of wealth one must have before they are liable to pay Zakat-ul-Mal.