THE Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) disbursed a record amount of Zakat in 2021 compared to previous years despite uncertainties amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic. The disbursement, which enabled Muis to help more families in need, is made possible by the unwavering support of the Singapore Muslim community and their resilience in fulfilling their Zakat obligation amidst trying times.
The 2021 YED ($3.5m) is 18 percent higher than in 2020 ($3.01m) and is the highest YED amount disbursed by Muis to date.
The fund is disbursed to low-income families and is in addition to the monthly zakat financial assistance they have been receiving.
According to Head of the Muis Social Development Strategic Unit, Mr Zulfadhli Gazali, year-end expenditures is usually the highest due to consolidated or unpaid bills, loans, and other preparations such as the new school year. For beneficiaries with school-going children, this period of the year is typically the most challenging.
The number of beneficiaries to benefit from Zakat assistance also hit a record high in 2021 with a total of 7,862 households.
Mr Zulfadhli credits the mosque sector for its efforts: “Despite these unprecedented times, the mosque sector has worked hard to enhance the administration of Zakat assistance by Muis. This resulted in the highest number of Zakat beneficiaries in 2021.”
Furthermore, with cooperation from different agencies and networks like M3, a better and improved referral system was created to process and administer assistance.
“Muis relies on the strong network support from other agencies and institutions to play our role of supplementing the social service sector with Zakat assistance,” said Mr Zulfadhli.
He adds that the year-on-year increase in the number of households receiving Zakat financial assistance gives Muis validation that its approach together with the mosque sector are effective in reaching and helping more low-income families in dire need.
A new trend was also observed among Zakat beneficiaries (ZB) since the pandemic. Previously, 60 percent were long-term cases. It has since dropped to 50-55 percent, with ZBs needing short-term assistance increasing by 5-10 percent.
According to Mr Zulfadhli, more households needed short-term assistance as more become unable to work, secure a job, or are low-paid workers. This can be attributed to economic and job market uncertainty resulting from the pandemic.
Muis aims to aid its Zakat beneficiaries and their families holistically and not just financially. Many efforts were organised and carried out by the mosque sector and in collaboration with other agencies and institutions. This includes socio-religious and life skills support programmes.
To learn more about Zakat, visit www.zakat.sg.