Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


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 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 contribute zakat. Nisab is equivalent to the value of 3 ounces of gold. The nisab we’ve calculated for our zakat calculator is based on the most-recent report available to us (disclaimer: this number may change daily depending on fluctuations in the gold exchange rate).

Who is obligated to pay zakat?
Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab and hawl in a calendar year must pay zakat for that year. There are some conditions that may require others, a wali (guardian) of a minor for instance, to pay zakat too. As always, it is best to consult with your local imam or scholar for clarification.

When should I pay zakat?
Zakat should be paid as soon as possible prior to or at the time that you’ve earned the requisite amount of nisab each lunar year, or one year after you last paid it. Tip: A good way to ensure zakat is made in a timely fashion is to pay your zakat 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 and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is about the price of one meal—estimated at $12 in 2018.

On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of everyone in the family. There are some scholars that recommend that Zakat al-Fitr is also paid on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy, but do not view it as obligatory. Most scholars do agree, however, that Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification.

When should I pay my Zakat al Fitr?
It should be paid before Eid prayer (or any day during Ramadan). There are some schools of thought that also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. Consult with your local imam or scholar if you need additional information.


What does Qurban or Udhiya mean?
The Arabic words Qurbani or Udhiya refer to a sacrifice done to come close to God, honouring the momentous act of submission that Prophet Ibrahim made. Every year, during Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world slaughter an animal – typically a sheep, goat, camel, or cow – to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice what he loved most 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, so that the needs of every country and the region, is served. 

What about the other countries that aren’t listed?
As part of a global family of Islamic Relief offices, Islamic Relief Australia fulfils Qurban distributions in select countries while other partners serve other selected countries. This ensures that the needs of multiple communities are met simultaneously, and that no country where we work is left out! This means that even though some countries are not listed on the Qurban options on our website, it does not mean that they are not being helped.  

Who needs to perform Qurban?
Qurban is obligatory upon every able adult who has wealth in excess to their needs. Normally, those who are eligible to pay Zakat should give a Qurban. 

The animals used are 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) 

Since 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. Animals are instead pre-allocated within each region. We ensure that the animals are healthy, free from blindness and chronic sickness or disease or from any apparent ailment, and that they are of a fit age. 

How is the price point for each region determined?
While 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 Qurbani. 

Is it obligatory to give qurbani for each member of my family?
Islamic Relief Australia recognises the various opinions in the Islamic tradition and welcomes all to fulfil this religious right in consultation with local scholars. 

Do you need the name of the people on whose behalf the sacrifice is being made?
We do not require the names, as the practice of reciting the name upon sacrificing is logistically very difficult to fulfil due to the vast requests we receive during this season. This is like the practice of offering sacrifice while on Hajj. The scholars have approved the sacrifice without the names if the intention of the person was made. 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 have made the intention that you are giving 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 because the scale of the project would make this logistically difficult. Donors can still carry out a general Qurban through the normal channels and pay the normal price. However, orphans do represent a category of high priority in all our programs and therefore they not only benefit from donors’ sponsorship, but also from receiving 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, the Qurban will still be carried out on one of the days of Eid, as Islamic Relief has already purchased the animals to be slaughtered beforehand. Qurbans are carried out based on forecasts drawn. If necessary, modifications are made, and additional funds are transferred to the relevant country. In effect, donors are paying towards Qurbans which are already allocated. 

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, Islamic Relief’s work is constantly monitored and audited. Reports are also produced each year accounting for the activities carried out in each country.

Emergency Relief

When did 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, operating in over 40 countries around the world – often in places that are hard to reach or where NGO access is severely restricted.

How does Islamic Relief respond to emergencies?
When a humanitarian crisis hits a country, whether disaster or conflict, fast delivery of the right kind of aid is needed in order to save lives.

Islamic Relief’s humanitarian mission is to effectively and efficiently respond 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, including 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 most vulnerable, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, religion, culture or nationality. Among the most affected and vulnerable are children, people with disabilities, elderly persons and women heads of households who are prioritised in receiving aid.

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, a needs assessment is carried out 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?
Usually our teams are on the ground for the long haul.

Our activities not only help meet critical survival needs in the immediate aftermath of an emergency, but also lay
the groundwork for longer-term recovery programs
that aim to 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 Area?
Islamic Relief works directly or in partnership with other international relief agencies. Aid items are usually ordered ordered through local suppliers to ensure efficiency and to keep the costs low. Depending on the security of the situation and the location, supplies are mainly transported into safe areas.

Does Islamic Relief only help Muslims?
Islamic relief is a faith-inspired Islamic organisation. Inspired by Islamic values, we believe 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 as we usually have experienced teams on the ground ready to respond in an efficient and effective manner, and serve the needs of people on the ground. 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 emergency projects overseas that regional desks. In some cases, IRAUS sends delegates to attend and observe emergency response interventions.

Children in Need

Alyateem Child Sponsorship

How does it work?
Around the world, children living in poverty are placed into orphanages even when they have a living parent or relative, because their carer fears they will be unable to provide a good life for the child. Yet in an orphanage, a child is deprived or parental love, family support and a community to belong to.

Islamic Relief’s Alyateem Child Sponsorship provides a caring and beneficial alternative. By providing a fixed and consistent funding amount on an ongoing basis, we help carers feels confident in their ability to provide the child in their care with security, ensuring children are raised within vital family structures.

By sponsoring a child, you are ensuring they are able to stay in the best place for them- their family.

Who is eligible?
‘Alyateem’ is an Islamic definition. While it is commonly translated as ‘orphan’, in Islamic tradition an Alyateem is defined as a child who has lost their breadwinning parent, as well as children who have lost both parents. Many children who are sponsored through Islamic Relief Australia live with their mother, and all children live with a family member, including aunts, uncles or grandparents.

The children who are sponsored through Islamic Relief Australia are child younger than 18, without one or both parents, or whose financially-dominant parent has abandoned the child for a minimum of four years. The orphan may be of any gender, religion or race.

How is a child selected for sponsorship?
Children are selected 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 on ensuring the children’s physical needs- such as food, water, health care, clothing and shelter- are met, as well as ensuring their education through their childhood, such as school funds, uniforms, school books and pencils.

Sponsorship money is paid to the child’s guardian every quarter. Children and their guardian are frequently monitored to ensure that they are receiving the full benefits of sponsorship. This may include health checks and education for school-aged children.

How long will the sponsorship continue?
You can sponsor a child as long as you wish, up to the age of 18. If you choose to continue sponsorship after the child reaches 18, you are free to do so. We require a minimum sponsorship time of two years because 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, IRAUS 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 and possible. In this case, there is a risk, albeit it very small, that these personal details might be obtained by the wrong person or persons, usually through illegal means, which can then pose further risks for 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, and 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, and there are potential risks within unmonitored communication that 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 all everyone in mind.

Can I include a gift to my sponsor orphan child with my letter?
Children love to receive gifts from their sponsors but as we cannot guarantee 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, could be held by customs etc.) and we not want to see your support wasted.

What if I want to send a larger gift to my sponsored Orphan?
IRAUS 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. IRAUS is committed to sustainable development solutions that support the most vulnerable and work for entire communities.

Secondly, it 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 benefit.

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, supporting projects that benefit a wider community of orphans and children in need. A gift to the community also promotes cooperation and 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. The biodata is mailed to sponsors up to two weeks after initiating sponsorship. Thereafter, progress reports are mailed to sponsors once a year. You may contact the donor care team at info@islamicrelief.org.au if you do not receive updates.

Is there any reason my sponsorship would be unexpectedly cancelled?
We may cancel a sponsorship if the income of a family is significantly raised, if the family moves without leaving contact details, if we find out the sponsorship funds have been spent inappropriately, if the child dies, or if 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 a child who is sponsored. In these cases a sponsorship will be cancelled immediately, and the sponsor will be unable to sponsor another child through Islamic Relief. The sponsor will be contacted to be made aware that their sponsorship has been cancelled and provided with the reason.


How much Zakat do I need to pay?
A percentage of 2.5% of your total wealth which have completed 1 physical year (Haul) in one’s possession.

What is my Zakat used for?
Islamic Relief ensures Zakat is used 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.

Zakat is used in accordance with religious requirements. It can be used in emergency and disaster relief, development projects including water solutions, empowerment of people with disability, poverty alleviation 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 and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is estimated at $12 in 2018. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification and exact amounts as applicable to your circumstances.

On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of everyone in the family. There are some scholars that recommend that Zakat al-Fitr is also paid on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy, but do not view it as obligatory. Most scholars do agree, however, that Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification

When should I pay my Zakat al Fitr?
It should be paid before Eid prayer (or any day during Ramadan). There are some schools of thought that also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. Consult with your local Imam or scholar if you need additional information.

How are Food Packs delivered in time?
We work up to six months in advance preparing our Ramadan programme. We organised with food suppliers, identifying people most in need and making sure the food in the pack meets nutritional needs and local cultural expectations. We deliver to 34 countries with all the different variation in each country. Delivery is at the start of Ramadan. 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. Food Packs are distributed in countries in the Middle East, East Europe, Asia and Africa.
Countries in the Middle East include: Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine (W. Bank), Palestine (Gaza), Jordan, Syria & Yemen Countries in East Europe include: Albania, Kosovo, Chechnya & Bosnia Countries in Asia include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines & Sri Lanka. Countries in Africa include: Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Mali, Chad, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Sudan & Somalia.

How does my food pack empower local communities?
Donations stir local economy because the food in each package is purchased locally. The food program is designed to complement 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 not able to fulfill his or her religious obligation to fast during the month of Ramadan or is compensating for a broken oath. Fidya and kaffara are two solutions offered that can help a Muslim compensate for not fasting or breaking other obligations – the paying of fidya or kaffara 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 to take action in your community in 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!