Muslims in the UK are expected to give more than £100m to charity during the month of Ramadan, according to research from the international aid and development charity Islamic Relief.
The figure is based on the reported Ramadan income of the UK's major Muslim charities – Islamic Relief calculated the amount at the end of last year. It does not include donations to local mosques and non-Muslim charities, so Islamic Relief says this is likely to be a conservative total.
Ramadan is expected to start today, depending on when the moon appears. It is characterised by fasting from dawn to dusk and giving alms, known as zakat. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and belief in Allah.
According to Islamic Relief, every sane adult Muslim who owns wealth over a certain amount, known as the nisab, must pay 2.5 per cent of that wealth as zakat.
Historically, whether an individual must pay zakat has depended on the value of their possessions, including gold, silver, livestock and property. Anyone with more than £2,300 in cash is likely to be expected to give, Islamic Relief said.
Islamic Relief received £14.4m last year and makes a third of its income during the religious fast, a spokesman for the charity said.
"Ramadan is a time to think about the less fortunate and many Muslims choose to give zakat during this time," he said.
"It’s about disposable income, and we recommend Muslims talk to a scholar about their own situation and their own personal circumstances. One of the things we’ll be doing during Ramadan is having a scholar available who will be offering information about zakat."
Islamic Relief has launched a new campaign to mark Ramadan, called War on Hunger.
Muslim Aid received £4.1m in donations during Ramadan last year. A spokeswoman for the relief and development agency said its fundraising target for this year was £5m.
The charity’s fundraising campaign for Ramadan, Be the Change, was set up to raise money for emergencies in Syria, Myanmar and Sudan.