Islam, Philanthropy and Social Justice: An Overview


Can zakat money be used to support scholarship programs for poor students – including for non-Muslims– or be used for long-term development projects? Could Muslim philanthropy organizations receive donation from a corporation, including from non-Muslims?

For most Muslims these are startling questions on how to deal with religious philanthropy. These questions come from a recent, modern period; one in which practices organized philanthropy and religious giving, and has become strongly established.

Apart from the kinds of questions posed above, there are in fact many more questions – both basic and simple – posed by Muslims living in many parts of the world on how to practice Islamic philanthropy. The article may give the readers the slight endeavour to understand the relationship between social justice and Islamic philanthropy. It also shows some aspects and factors – such as theology, politics, economy, state governance, geography, and civil society – that enrich the practice of Muslim philanthropy which have become challenges as well as potentials for social justice philanthropy.

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