Frequently Asked Questions

For your convenience, Islamic Relief Australia has answered your frequently asked questions below. We consult with a council of imams for information about religious donations. If you have more detailed or specific inquiries, we advise you to consult your local imam or scholar.

Zakat FAQ

  • What is zakat?

    In Arabic, zakat means purification, growth and blessing. It is a charitable practice that requires all able Muslims (those who meet the requirement of zakat as dependent upon nisab and hawl see below) to contribute a fixed portion of their wealth – 2.5% of their savings — to help the needy.

  • What is nisab?

    Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have—after calculating necessary expenses—to be eligible to give zakat. Due to the fluctuations in gold-to-currency exchange rates, the nisab value can change each year. Currently, the nisab we’ve calculated for our zakat calculator is based on the most recent report available to us.

  • Who is obligated to pay zakat?

    Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab after one hawl (Islamic lunar year) has passed must pay zakat for that year. Some conditions may require others, for example, a wali (guardian) of a minor, to pay zakat on their behalf. As always, it is best to consult with your local imam or scholar for clarification.

  • When should I pay zakat?

    One should pay Zakat as soon as possible. You must pay it once you have earned the requisite amount of Nisab for the lunar year. Or, if you have owed zakat before, one (hawl) year after you last paid it.

    Tip: A good way to ensure you pay your zakat on time is to pay it every year during Ramadan.

  • What’s the difference between zakat al-mal and zakat al-fitr?

    Zakat al-Mal (commonly called “zakat”) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount. You can pay zakat at any time during the year.

    On the other hand, Zakat al-Fitr (or Fitrana) is due upon every member of a household with wealth excess of their needs. The head of the household pays for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of each member of the family, including themselves, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. It covers the price of one meal – estimated at $18 in 2024.

  • On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al-Fitr?

    The head of the household pays for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of everyone in the family. Some scholars recommend paying Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy. However, they do not view it as obligatory. What most scholars agree upon, though, is to pay Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please consult with your local imam or scholar if you need further clarification on this matter.

  • When should I pay my Zakat al-Fitr?

    One should pay Zakat al-Fitr before the Eid prayer. This can be on the morning of Eid al-Fitr or any day during Ramadan. Some schools of thought also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. However, on this matter, please consult with your local imam or scholar for additional information.

Qurban FAQ

  • What does Qurban (or Udhiyah) mean?

    Qurban (or Qurbani, Udhiyah) refers to a sacrifice done for the sake of God. It occurs every year on the days of Eid al-Adha. During this time, Muslims around the world slaughter an animal, typically a sheep, goat, camel, or cow, for Qurban. This ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim (AS) willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS), for the sake of Allah (SWT).

  • Why can’t I choose the country I want to give to?

    To ensure the funds are distributed to those in need in the regions where we work in, we do not provide the option of selecting a country. We predetermine the number of livestock for every country within each region. This allows our teams to best serve the needs of every country and region.

  • What about the other countries that aren’t listed?

    Even though some countries we work in are not listed on the Qurban options on our website, it does not mean they are not being helped. As part of the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) global family, Islamic Relief Australia fulfils Qurban distributions in select countries, while other IRW partners serve other selected countries. This allows us to meet the needs of multiple communities simultaneously. Therefore, no country is left out!

  • Who needs to perform Qurban?

    Giving Qurban is an important duty for every healthy Muslim adult who has wealth excess of their needs. Generally, those who need to pay zakat should give a Qurban. 

    Animals used for Qurban include livestock animals, such as sheep, goats, cows, or buffalo. 

    1 sheep or goat = 1 Qurban 
    1 cow or buffalo = 7 Qurbans (one Qurban – one-seventh of the animal) 

    The selection of animals depends on the availability and customs of each region. We do not provide the option of selecting your animal of choice at the time of donation. Instead, animals are pre-allocated.

    As per Islamic rulings, we ensure that the animals are healthy and fit for slaughter. This includes being free from blindness, chronic sickness, disease and any apparent ailment, and that they are of a fit age. 

  • How is the price point for each region determined?

    The price for livestock animals differs from country to country. We base our price on the average calculated of those countries’ prices within each region. This price includes all costs associated with fulfilling and distributing your Qurban. 

  • Is qurban required on each member of my family?

    Islamic Relief Australia recognises the various opinions in the Islamic tradition. We welcome all to fulfil this religious right and advise you to consult with your local scholars. 

  • Do you need the name of the people on whose behalf the sacrifice is being made?

    We do not require donors to give their names for Qurban. This is because the practice of reciting the name upon sacrificing is logistically very difficult to fulfil due to the vast requests we receive during this season.

    It is like the practice of offering sacrifice while on Hajj. The scholars have approved the sacrifice if the person made the intention to fulfil the sacrifice when requesting someone to do it on their behalf. As such, we encourage everyone to make their intention when donating their Qurban. 

  • If I pay for Qurban on behalf of someone else, will their name be called out at the time of the slaughter?

    No, as Islamic Relief is conducting hundreds of thousands of Qurbans around the world – this is practically not possible. It is also not necessary to give the name of the person, even if you are making a Qurban on behalf of someone else. If you made the intention to give this Qurban on behalf of a certain person that should be sufficient. 

  • How does Islamic Relief decide who is in most need when distributing Qurban meat?

    We select Qurban based on a scoring system according to need. The scoring system is based on the following objective criteria:

    • Families which live on less than the minimum income for that country – 40 points
    • Female-headed households – 20 points
    • Families with elderly persons or people with disabilities – 10 points
    • Children under five years old – 5 points
    • Pregnant women or lactating mothers – 5 points
    • Families with little or no access to the market – 5 points

    It is the policy of Islamic Relief to distribute only one Qurban meat pack to each family regardless of family size. 

  • Can I make my Qurban donation towards the orphan I’m sponsoring?

    We are not able to carry out Qurbans for specific orphans. The scale of the project would make this logistically difficult.

    However, orphans do represent a category of high priority in all our programs. Therefore, along with donors’ sponsorship, they also receive other support and aid during Ramadan and Qurban. 

  • What day will the Qurban be performed?

    The slaughter will take place on one of the days of Eid. If you give a Qurban on the second or third day of Eid, we can still carry out your Qurban on one of the days of Eid. Islamic Relief has already purchased a set amount of animals for slaughter beforehand, based on Qurban forecasts drawn before Dhul Hijjah. If necessary, we make modifications and transfer additional funds to the relevant country. In effect, donors will pay for already allocated Qurbans. 

  • How can we really be sure that the Qurbans we pay for in some of these countries are actually taking place?

    Islamic Relief has been performing Qurbans since 1986. As with our other projects, we constantly monitor and audit our Qurban programs. We produce reports each year accounting for the activities carried out in each country.

Emergencies FAQ

  • When did the Islamic Relief emergency response program start?

    Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) began its emergency program in 1985 in response to the famine in Sudan. Over the years, it has expanded its reach. Today, IRW operates on the ground in over 40 countries around the world, even in places that are hard to reach or place severe restrictions on NGO access.

  • How does Islamic Relief respond to emergencies?

    When a humanitarian crisis hits a country, Islamic Relief arrives swiftly, as fast delivery of the right kind of aid is needed to save lives.

    Our humanitarian mission is to effectively and efficiently respond to and serve disaster-affected populations in a timely manner. We achieve this through preparedness measures, the management of standby disaster response teams, and the stockpiling of goods.

    When a humanitarian crisis occurs, Islamic Relief makes a decision on if and how to respond. This decision is based on a number of factors. These include the type and level of need of those affected, access, partnerships we already have in the area affected, and overall security.

  • How do you help those affected?
    • Water supply
    • Sanitation and hygiene
    • Shelter and non-food items (NFIs)
    • Refugee/internally displaced person (IDP) camp management/temporary settlement
    • Education
    • Cash-based interventions
  • Who is the emergency aid/support delivered to?

    We deliver emergency aid and supports to the people who are most affected and vulnerable. These include children, people with disabilities, elderly persons and women heads of households. Regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or nationality, Islamic Relief will serve those in need in times they require it most.

  • How do you know what people need?

    Islamic Relief responds to an emergency in accordance with the needs of the people affected by the devastation. When disaster strikes, the relevant country office undertakes a needs assessment by meeting, interviewing and surveying households, community leaders, the line departments/agencies of the government and other organisations. Where it is unsafe to meet and interview people on the ground, we carry out a needs assessment in consultation with other organisations, such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) etc. In every emergency, we try to identify the unique needs of men, women, children, elderly persons and people with disabilities.

  • How long does Islamic Relief remain on the field after an emergency?

    Outside of very dire circumstances, our teams are on the ground for the long haul. We design our programs to provide help both during and after emergencies. Aid that not only meets critical survival needs in the immediate aftermath of an emergency but also lays the groundwork for longer-term recovery programs that rebuild lives, communities, and services.

  • How long does it take to reach the people in an emergency?

    Islamic Relief aims to reach people in an emergency in the shortest possible time, depending on the severity of the emergency and the security situation. In most cases, we already have teams on the ground that are ready to be deployed.

  • How are you getting supplies into disaster/crisis areas?

    Islamic Relief works directly or in partnership with other international relief agencies. We usually order aid items through local suppliers to ensure efficiency and to keep costs low. Depending on the security of the situation and the location, we transport and keep the supplies in safe areas that are easily accessible to our local office and areas where disasters may occur.

  • Does Islamic Relief only help Muslims?

    Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired Islamic organisation. Inspired by Islamic values. We have a duty to help those in need, regardless of race, political affiliation, gender or belief.

  • Can we send people from Australia to help in emergency?

    Generally, Islamic Relief does not encourage sending people from Australia to help in disaster situations. Within our organisation, we have experienced teams on the ground already prepared to respond efficiently and effectively and serve the needs of people. Also, we don’t want to endanger our supporters by sending them to disaster-affected or high-conflict areas.

    However, we do closely monitor the progress of all our emergency projects overseas. In some cases, Islamic Relief Australia sends delegates to attend and observe emergency response interventions.

Orphan Sponsorship FAQ

  • How does orphan sponsorship work?

    Around the world, children living in poverty are placed into orphanages even when they have a living parent or relative. This is because their carers fear they will be unable to provide them with a good life. However, when placed in an orphanage, a child is deprived of parental love, family support and a community to belong to.

    Islamic Relief’s Orphan Sponsorship Program provides a caring and beneficial alternative. By providing a fixed and consistent funding amount on an ongoing basis, we help carers feel confident in their ability to provide for their child. It also ensures security for the child and a space where they can be raised within vital family structures.

    Therefore, by sponsoring a child, you ensure they stay in the best place for them – their family.

  • Who is eligible?

    Our orphan sponsorship program supports ‘Al-Yateem’ (Alyateem) children. While commonly translated as ‘orphan’, in Islam, Alyateem refers to a child who has lost their breadwinning parent.

    Many children sponsored by our program live with their mothers, and all children live with at least one family member, including aunts, uncles or grandparents. These children are younger than 18. They are without one or both parents or have a financially-dominant parent who abandoned them for a minimum of four years. The orphan may be of any gender, religion or race.

  • How is a child selected for sponsorship?

    We select children based on four main criteria: financial need, family size, housing conditions and health. The families with the greatest need, such as larger families with dire financial situations, receive priority for sponsorship.

  • How is the sponsorship money spent?

    The sponsorship money must be spent in ways that fulfil the children’s physical needs. This means using the funds to provide provisions such as food, water, health care, clothing and shelter. The funds also ensure education for the sponsored children throughout their childhood, covering the costs of school fees, uniforms, school books and pencils.

    The child’s guardian receives the sponsorship money every quarter. We frequently monitor the children and their guardian to ensure they continue to receive the full benefits of sponsorship. This may include health checks and education progress checks (for school-aged children).

  • How long will the sponsorship continue?

    You can sponsor a child as long as you wish, up to when they reach the age of 18. If you choose to continue sponsorship after the child reaches 18, you are free to do so. The minimum time for sponsoring a child is two years. This allows us to plan ahead and maintain a consistent level of service to the orphan.

  • Can I write a letter to my orphan?

    Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence via the Islamic Relief Australia office in Sydney. Sponsors may email a letter to the Child Sponsorship Officer, or call our office to discuss further.

  • Can I directly contact my sponsored orphan via telephone, email or social media?

    Unfortunately, Islamic Relief Australia does not share such personal details with either a sponsor or an orphan child.

    We trust and respect our donors and supporters, and value enormously their generosity and charitable spirit. However, as an organisation, we have a duty of care to minimise as much risk as possible.

    In this case, there is a risk, albeit very small, that these personal details might be obtained by the wrong person or persons, usually through illegal means. This can then pose further risks for the orphan and sponsor alike.

    Ensuring the safety and protection of all children living in the communities where we work is the highest priority for Islamic Relief Australia. If unmonitored communication takes place, we cannot fully guarantee that a child will be protected from inappropriate content or suggestions.

    Similarly, Islamic Relief Australia is fully committed to ensuring our supporters’ generosity is safe and secure. There are potential risks within unmonitored communication we must avoid. For example, digital details being stolen and taken advantage of by entities such as cybercriminals acting under aliases.

    Islamic Relief Australia apologises in advance if this disappoints or offends any supporter but this position is taken with the best interests of everyone in mind.

  • Can I include a gift to my sponsor orphan child with my letter?

    Children love to receive gifts from their sponsors. However, as we cannot guarantee the safe arrival of such gifts, we only encourage small things like postcards or pictures, which we scan/digitise and transmit to our colleagues in-country.

    Please don’t send physical parcels of any size, as Islamic Relief Australia cannot send these. Islamic Relief Australia cannot guarantee such gifts will arrive or arrive intact. Sometimes items get lost in transit, frequently arrive damaged and could be held by customs and we do not want to see your support wasted.

  • What if I want to send a larger gift to my sponsored Orphan?

    Islamic Relief Australia does not encourage this for a number of reasons. Firstly, if one particular child and family receive a major gift of money or materials, then it’s likely this will only benefit that child or family, and not have a wider positive impact on the whole community. Islamic Relief is committed to sustainable development solutions that support the most vulnerable and work for entire communities.

    Secondly, it is often very expensive and time-consuming to facilitate these gifts, for both staff in Australia but even more so for our colleagues in the country. This takes away vital resources from our fieldwork, and ultimately, these expenses often outweigh the benefits.

    If you do still wish to make an extra gift of support to orphans in need, we recommend you give a monetary donation to our Children Development Fund. This allows you to support projects that benefit a wider community of orphans and children in need. A gift to the community that also promotes cooperation, harmony, and long-term benefit. For more information contact Islamic Relief Australia.

  • Can I visit my orphan?

    Following security checks, you may visit your sponsored child to witness firsthand the difference your sponsorship is making in their life. The sponsor must cover all costs of the visit.

    In line with our Child Protection Policy, visits must be facilitated by an Islamic Relief representative and will take place at an Islamic Relief Office. In addition, the visit will also be supervised by the Child Welfare officer at the country field office.

    The Islamic Relief Child Protection Policy is in place to ensure the safety and welfare of vulnerable children and their families. Please contact our office on
    1300 308 554 for further information regarding visitation to your sponsored child.

  • I have not heard about my orphan. When will I be updated?

    All sponsors receive a biography (biodata) about the child you sponsor upon confirmation of the first donation payment. We email sponsors the biodata up to two weeks after initiating sponsorship.

    Afterwards, progress reports are mailed to sponsors once a year. You may contact the donor care team at [email protected] if you do not receive updates.

  • Is there any reason my sponsorship would be unexpectedly cancelled?

    We may cancel a sponsorship for multiple reasons. Reasons can be that the income of a family is significantly raised, the family moves without leaving contact details, we find out the sponsorship funds have been spent inappropriately, the child dies, or the child becomes married (Islamic Relief stands against early marriage).

    In these cases, we will contact you to discuss the reason for cancellation and transfer your sponsorship to a different child.

    We may cancel a sponsorship if we discover a sponsor has been having inappropriate or unauthorised contact with the child they sponsor. In these cases, the sponsorship will be cancelled immediately. We will contact the sponsor to let them know of their cancelled sponsorship and that they will also be unable to sponsor another child through Islamic Relief.

Ramadan FAQ

  • How much zakat do I need to pay?

    A percentage of 2.5% of your total wealth if you are a healthy, adult Muslim who meets the nisab threshold. If you’ve paid zakat before and still meet the threshold, you pay zakat one lunar year (hawl) after you previously paid it.

  • What is my zakat used for?

    Islamic Relief ensures we use your zakat in the most transparent and effective way. All our projects are zakat-compliant and target those most in need. Islamic Relief uses zakat in the most effective way possible to relieve the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people.

    We implement zakat in accordance with religious requirements. We use zakat for emergency and disaster relief and development projects, which include water implementation. To empower people with disability. To alleviate poverty through micro-entrepreneurship as well as food security. It’s a promise that we must fulfil to help those in need. Your zakat donations through Islamic Relief bring joy to these people, who know that their brothers and sisters all over the world haven’t forgotten them.

  • What’s the difference between Zakat al Mal and Zakat al Fitr?

    Zakat al-Mal (commonly called “zakat”) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount. You can pay zakat at any time during the year.

    On the other hand, Zakat al-Fitr (or Fitrana) is due upon every member of a household with wealth excess of their needs. The head of the household pays for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of each member of the family, including themselves, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. It covers the price of one meal – estimated at $18 in 2024.

  • On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al Fitr?

    The head of the household pays for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of everyone in the family. Some scholars recommend paying Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy. However, they do not view it as obligatory. What most scholars agree upon, though, is to pay Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please consult with your local imam or scholar if you need further clarification on this matter.

  • When should I pay my Zakat al Fitr?

    One should pay Zakat al-Fitr before the Eid prayer. This can be on the morning of Eid al-Fitr or any day during Ramadan. Some schools of thought also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. However, on this matter, please consult with your local imam or scholar for additional information.

  • How are Food Packs delivered in time?

    We work up to six months in advance preparing our Ramadan program. We organise with food suppliers, identifying people most in need and making sure the food in the pack meets nutritional needs and local cultural expectations. During Ramadan, we deliver to 34 countries. You can give your donation to the food packs at any time during the Ramadan Appeal. This means that even if you donate in the last 10 days, we ensure that a family has received their food pack on time.

  • Which country does my food pack go to?

    Islamic Relief delivers Food Packs to the most needy families in developing communities. We distributed food packs in countries in the Middle East, East Europe, Asia and Africa.
    Middle East countries include: Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine (West Bank), Palestine (Gaza) and Jordan. East Europe countries include: Albania, Kosovo, Chechnya and Bosnia. Asia countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. Africa countries include: Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Mali, Chad, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Somalia.

  • How does my food pack empower local communities?

    Donations stir the local economy as we purchase the food in each package locally. The food program complements our longer-term relief and development projects that provide sustainable ways to improve living conditions.

  • What if I am/was unable to fast in Ramadan?

    In some circumstances, a Muslim is unable to fulfil his or her religious obligation to fast during the month of Ramadan or is compensating for a broken oath. Fidya(h) and Kaffarah are two solutions that allow a Muslim to compensate for not fasting or breaking other obligations. Paying these compensations also benefits members of the community who live in impoverished conditions.

  • What else can I do to help in Ramadan?

    Ramadan is a special time of heightened spiritual and social responsibility and awareness. We love to assist you in taking action in your community during Ramadan to raise awareness or funds for those around the world. You could host an Islamic Relief Iftar, give a talk at your school or university, help out with our Ramadan Specified Campaign, or discuss with our Community Engagement Team any idea of your own!

Islamic Relief is here to answer any frequently asked questions you may have