Charity-giving by British Muslims has only continued to increase, in the face of growing government targeting of Muslim communities, and a raised level of suspicion cast on innocent people in the wake of the so-called War on Terror, finds the Ayaan Institute. The latest paper by the thinktank is indicative of the sheer strength and fortitude of the Muslim population in the UK.
Jointly penned by the Founding Director of Ayaan Institute, Jahangir Mohammed, and Beatrice Bianchi, who is a research associate at the organisation, the 61-page report is titled Aiding the Ummah: Analysing the Muslim Humanitarian Charity Sector in the UK.
The welcome research paper delves into a number of areas within the British Muslim charity sector. Sections are dedicated to the concept of Islamic welfare, the ten and twenty largest Muslim charities by income, and the various kinds of aid that are offered by these entities.
Moreover, Mohammed and Bianchi offer a number of key recommendations to ensure that the sector continues to thrive in the coming years.
Churches → Quakers → Jews → Muslims
Touching on the British history of almsgiving and the role played by Jewish communities, the Quaker movement, and churches, the report states,
“Britain has a great tradition of charitable giving and civil society activism. Historically, before the advent of state provision of education and welfare, it was the work of Churches, the Quaker movement, and philanthropists that provided services to meet people’s needs, tackling poverty and poor work conditions.
“It was those involved in such services who were the main advocates for social and political reform in society.
“The Jewish community in the UK also has a rich tradition and history of self-help and meeting all the welfare needs of its community long before the establishment of a welfare state.”
In revealing that, as of 2020, there was an incredible total of 1,026 Muslim humanitarian charities, the authors note that charitable work is “a major source of employment and volunteering” for British Muslims.
The report adds:
“…the Muslim commitment to meeting welfare needs and establishing charities is in line with the Islamic faith, but also with British history and tradition.
“In fact, helping the less fortunate and those in need is very much part of the natural fitrah (instinct) that Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) has placed in the hearts of all human beings.
“This is precisely why it has been made a fundamental pillar of the Islamic faith.”
“An Ummah of refugees”
Due to the challenging conditions faced by various Muslim communities in the past two decades, through internal and external conflicts, refugee numbers have sadly spiralled into the tens of millions.
Indeed, the report cites a study by the Brown University in America that estimates 37 million people, most of whom are Muslim, have been displaced since the beginning of the so-called War on Terror in 2001.
In fact, the situation is so dire in some parts of the world, second and third-generation children are being born in a number of refugee camps.
Common recipients and types of charity
According to the report, between the years 2019 and 2021, Muslim charities in Britain were responsible for delivering on an inspiring total of 3,171 projects in 90 different countries.
Notably, of these, 65 per cent or 2,074 took place in the following ten countries or regions:
- The Gambia
- Palestine (and Gaza specifically) 
Gaps in some types of charity
Building on analysis from the 2019 – 2021 data, the report finds that although major relief programmes were usually around food, medical aid, education, winter support, development, water security, orphans, and emergency relief, there was a concerning lack of charitable work aimed at women, children, and refugees. 
Based on the 2019-21 data, just one per cent was directed at children, two-and-a- half per cent towards women, and only five per cent towards refugees.
Emphasis on Islamic values
Impressively, the report makes numerous mentions of the values that are based on the foundational elements of the Qur’ān and Sunnah.
Throughout the piece, the authors cite various verses of the Qur’ān and iconic Prophetic narrations such as that found in al-Bukhāri and Muslim, which states,
“None of you will believe, until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
As the authors state,
“The Qur’an, Seerah, and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) provide an approach to Islamic welfare that can operate within or outside of an Islamic state and system.
“This approach is summed up in the Islamic religious obligations toward the needy.”