Muslim Charity Donations - With My List of the Top 10 Best UK Islamic Charity Organisations

A Guide to Islamic Charity Donations, With My List of the 10 Biggest and Best UK Muslim Charity Organisations to Donate Zakat to.

Islamic Charity And My List of The 10 Best & Biggest UK Muslim Charities

A simple guide to Muslim charity with my list of the 10 best and biggest UK Islamic charities to donate zakat to.   What and when Ramadan is, the importance of charity giving in Islam, particularly zakat, who and where  I'm not a Muslim, but I always donate during Ramadan. Join me.  our UK Muslim community are.

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He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbour to his side goes hungry.” al-Sunan al-Kubrá 19049

Ramadan 2024

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is the most sacred month of the year. The dates change every year.  In 2023, it begins on 10 March and will end on 9 April.

Muslims observe the month of Ramadan, to mark that Allah, gave the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH, meaning Peace Be Upon Him) in 610.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to God.  It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate.

Eid (Eid al-Fitr) is the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.

Muslim Charity Donations During Ramadan

The latest figures I can find are a bit dated, but show just how much Muslims donate to charity during Ramadan.

  • At Christmas, the numbers donating to charity increase by about 5%, but one figure I've found suggested that Muslim giving increases by 50%+ during Ramadan.
  • In 2015, according to World Bank estimates the annual global Zakat contribution was worth between £152 billion and £763 billion.
    • To put that in context, the entire UK charity sector annual income is about £50 billion.

I can't find any figures, but it seems probable that donations peak in the last 10 days, particularly on Laylat al Qadr - see below.

Muslim Charity - The Last 10 Days Of Ramadan

Muslims believe that the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan. From what I've read there doesn't appear to be anything Sunnah (tradition - the way of the Prophet) to indicate that Islamic giving to charity in the last ten days is better.  However, the scholars stated that righteous deeds are better when done at times of virtue, and the last 10 nights of Ramadaan are better than any other, which is why many Muslims give to charity (Sadaqah or Zakat) at this time. 

Muslim Donations To Charity - Laylat al Qadr

Lailat al Qadr (the Night Of Power) takes place during Ramadan. The date of 27 Ramadan for this day is a traditional date, as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not mention when this would be, although it was suggested it was in the last 10 days of the month.  In 2024, it will fall on 6 April.  The Qur’an says in surah Al-Qadr that ‘the Night of Power is better than a thousand months’. Everything done in the name of Allah on this night has its rewards multiplied. Source: Islamic Q&A.

Islamic Charity - Zakat

Zakat, meaning to purify, is the third pillar of Islam. It denotes the amount of wealth that a Muslim is obligated to donate to underprivileged and disadvantaged people. Any Muslim, whose personal wealth exceeds the nisab (threshold of wealth) must pay Zakat, usually 2.5%, with exceptions for those who are unable to do so. Here's a video from the National Zakat Foundation that explains a bit more about it.

One aspect of zakat that I particularly admire is that it's not just about donating money, you must do so with humility.  Muslims focus on doing good, not telling people about it.

When zakat was introduced is (I think) disputed, but the first statutory collection was by Abu Bakr circa 600AD.  To put that in context, the first British charity act was the Charitable Uses Act 1601.

There are also many other forms of charity support:

  • Sadaqah - a simple charitable act.
  • Lillah - charitable giving, over and above Zakat.
  • Waqfs - charitable endowments.
  • Fidya or kaffarah - charitable giving for missing or breaking fast.
  • Qardh hasan - a benevolent interest free loan.

"On the other hand, Allah directs man to the spiritual purity through the act of giving that is represented by charity

that the pious pays as "Zakat" and "Sadakat" almsgiving, and other financial obligations."

Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah


There are 2.7m Muslims in the UK, of which 47% are UK born, 68% are ethnically Asian and 33% are aged 15 and under.

The towns with large numbers of Muslims are Bradford, Blackburn, Luton, Birmingham, London and Dewsbury. There are also high numbers in High Wycombe, Slough, Leicester, Derby, Manchester and towns in Northern England.

The largest ethnic group are of Pakistani origin, followed by those from Bangladesh, but there are also groups of Indian, Somali, Turkish, white European, Mahgrebi and Nigerian Muslims.

I've listed my top 10 best UK Islamic organisations below, but there are a huge number of Muslim charities, many very small and local.

Charity Giving By UK Muslims

Muslims are less well off than others, yet give at a higher value. Giving per head annually is £371, but many British Muslims donate single gifts of up to £30,000. They are more likely to donate during Ramadan, online and are family orientated – areas of interest include children with disabilities, disadvantaged families, homelessness, education and refugee families.

"Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and spend (in charity) out of the (substance) whereof He has made you heirs.

For, those of you who believe and spend (in charity), for them is a great Reward."

Qur’an 57:7

The UK Pakistani diaspora alone donates £1.25 billion each year to good causes in the UK and Pakistan.

UK Muslim Charities

The work of Muslim charities within the international arena is well known, but perhaps less so their work in the UK and that many Islamic non profit organisations support people of all faiths. They also work incredibly hard to ensure that the maximum amount of money goes to those in need. Many of the smaller charities operate on a purely voluntary basis and the larger ones work hard to keep their administrative costs to an absolute minimum.

I know that we all say that and I'm well aware of the fantastic work done by those in non-Muslim charities, but it is true. For example, I advised a charity start-up where the founder insisted that he personally pay all running costs, so that every penny went to those in need, and another running substantial international programmes, without a single paid member of staff.

The Bridge of Hope Report (July 2022) by the Muslim Charities Forum demonstrates the important role UK Muslim charities play in our society, their diversity in terms of the different people they serve and the different work they specialise in and the geographical coverage.  Although now a bit dated, for detail on UK Muslim philanthropy, read this March 2020 CASS report.

List of 10 Best and Biggest UK Muslim Charities & Islamic Organisations

Here's my list of the top 10 best and biggest UK Muslim charities and Islamic organisations to donate to.  However, the UK Muslim charity sector now comprises over 450 organisations, both domestically and internationally, with a combined annual income of over £700 million. You can find more on the Muslim Charities Forum website.

There are also a huge number of very small Muslim charities. They do incredible work supporting those living in poverty in their local communities and, often, those living in much greater poverty overseas.  If you don't know who they are, your local mosque almost certainly will.

  • Islamic Relief is the largest Islamic charitable organisation in the Western world and works in 40+ countries providing emergency aid, fighting poverty, and helping to provide education, development and sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable and underprivileged communities.
  • Human Appeal - provide vulnerable families with emergency relief, and we work to strengthen local communities by promoting child welfare and supporting sustainable livelihoods, including education, food and health.
  • Muslim Aid - has relief and development programmes in countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe - humanitarian, sustainable livelihoods, education and health.
  • Muslim Hands -  working in over 50 countries, they provide emergency relief, develop long-term projects aimed at eradicating the root causes of poverty and providing communities with schooling, healthcare clinics, clean drinking water, and more.
  • Penny Appeal - work in over 30 countries, including the Ukraine, Afghanistan and Palestine.  Work includes supporting orphans, wells and mosques.
  • Al Khair Foundation - provides emergency relief and developmental support in 70 of the world’s most impoverished areas, including health, food, shelter and education. Has a Ukraine appeal.
  • Ummah Welfare Trust - provides sustainable development solutions relating to shelter, education, health, and spiritual wellbeing.
  • Islamic Aid - improves the lives of people affected by poverty, war and disasters by giving food, clean water, healthcare, education and livelihoods.
  • Muslim Global Relief provides aid to the poor and needy in over 40 countries worldwide by providing clean water, care for orphans, urgent humanitarian aid, healthcare and food, and builds orphanages and mosques.
  • Orphans in Need - provides support to orphaned children around the world. They provide food, shelter, education, and medical care to orphaned children in countries such as Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Mali, Sri Lanka, Palestine, and Bangladesh.

Alternatively, this Charity Excellence Resource of 100+ fundraising platforms, includes 4 Muslim ones in a section towards the end.

My thanks to Islam Uddin for his help in making this section much better than my original.

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