The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain]
which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Surah Al-Baqarah verse 261
WHO ARE THE POOR & NEEDY?
Each country deploys different methodologies in identifying the poor and needy in a society. In Singapore, specifically for the disbursement of Zakat funds to asnaf fakir and miskin (the poor and needy), Muis adopts the view that they fall under the most vulnerable subset of the poor.
The Muis Zakat Financial Assistance is rendered to the lowest 5% of Muslim income earners in Singapore.
To determine those who fall under this poverty line, Muis adopts a means-testing approach of calculating the Per Capita Income (PCI) of its Zakat assistance applicants. This presently stands at S$400.
The PCI is reviewed annually to ensure that Zakat assistance continues to meet the evolving needs of the community. A successful applicant will be provided with sustained Zakat assistance without any attachment or conditions. Beneficiaries are also not required to adhere to any action plans or achieve individual goals.
ZAKAT DISBURSEMENT TO THE POOR & NEEDY
Muis disburses Zakat funds to help poor and needy Muslims each year under its various programmes and schemes. Muis works in partnership with Social Development mosques (SD mosques) across Singapore to render Zakat financial assistance, Fidyah food vouchers, and other supporting social development programmes.
Every year, Muis disburses the majority of Zakat collection for the purposes of social development and assistance. In FY2020, more than $27.6M (55%) was disbursed to asnaf fakir and miskin. This was the highest amount disbursed to asnaf Fakir and Miskin.
The disbursement of Zakat funds to asnaf fakir and miskin is mostly in the form of monthly Muis Zakat Financial Assistance. On average, Muis disburses $1.45M in Zakat funds to more than 5,000 Muslim households every month. This translates to over 23,000 people (applicants and household members) who benefit directly from monthly Zakat financial assistance annually.
A majority of these Zakat beneficiaries – about 65% of them – are considered as ‘Long-Term’ beneficiaries. They receive 12-months of Zakat financial assistance which would automatically be renewed every year, making them lifetime beneficiaries of Zakat.
These Long-Term beneficiaries are primarily those with a PCI of $400 and below, and are also suffering from chronic illnesses, elderly poverty, and/or disabilities/special needs.
SUPPLEMENTARY & SUPPORT PROGRAMMES
Zakat financial assistance helps vulnerable families to tide through in terms of necessities and it is not enough to meet the multiple needs that extend beyond finances.
To support the wider needs of Zakat beneficiaries, Muis works closely with a larger network of support from other national agencies to support other areas such as employment, healthcare, childcare and other specialised services.
Muis works closely with Social Development mosques (SD mosques) to implement support programmes aimed at different groups of beneficiaries. The SD Core Programme, for example, is open to all Zakat beneficiaries and their families and it aims to equip beneficiaries with necessary life skills such as financial management, religious guidance, and family therapy.
Elderly Zakat beneficiaries or those who have chronic illnesses are given special attention through the Befrienders scheme. It is a volunteer-based befriending service that matches volunteers from the mosques with long-term zakat beneficiaries.
The role of the volunteers is to develop a friendship with zakat beneficiaries through regular home visits. The visits are done to check in on the beneficiaries and to ensure that they are not at risk of being socially marginalised or isolated.