By Muhi Khwaja, American Muslim Community Foundation, Co-Founder and Director of Development & Philanthropy
Each and every person can be a philanthropist, and I believe philanthropy is more about generosity than it is about wealth. As a Muslim, I am invited by my faith to give of what I love. In Ramadan, all around the world, Muslims join in fasting and charitable giving through acts known as zakat and sadaqa. There is a hadith or saying in our tradition by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) that: “The best charity that is given is during Ramadan.”
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and in 2021 falls between April 12 and May 12. Billions of Muslims increase their spiritual worship and inward reflection towards God. It’s also the busiest time for Muslim nonprofits.
As Muslims around the world celebrate a second Ramadan amid the pandemic which has changed both gathering practices as well as revealed a widening wealth gap, I am reflecting on the generosity within our communities. According to a survey conducted by the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research last year, 57% of respondents intended to donate more to relief organizations, 35% intended to donate more to educational organizations, and 39% intended to donate more to the mosque compared to Ramadan in 2019.
Dr. Shariq Siddiqui, assistant professor at Indiana University and Director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative, claims that nearly 80 to 90 percent of annual budgets for Muslim-led organizations are raised in the month before, the month of, and the month after Ramadan.