Why BIS is zakat-eligible

Dear Community,
Assalamu ʿAlaykum,

During Ramadan, many Muslims wonder about the Islamic ruling on giving a portion of their Zakat ul-maal to Islamic academic institutions in the USA. The answer is that the pursuit of knowledge, particularly Islamic knowledge, and institutions facilitating its acquisition fall within the realm of “spending in the Path of Allah” – one of the eight categories for which Zakat can be distributed, as Allah orders in the Quran.

The Quran states: “Charity funds are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and in the Path of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise.” (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Many contemporary scholars (and some earlier scholars) have advocated for a broader interpretation of “in the Path of Allah” as encompassing all endeavors enhancing Muslims’ strength and facilitating better conditions, including dawah efforts, and preparing the community youth to inherit the message of Islam and be more effective in presenting Islam successfully in society.  [See al-Razi, al-Tafsir al-Kabir, 16:90; Rashid Rida Tafsir al-Manar, 10:504, Shaltut, al- Islam `Aqidah wa-Shari`ah, 124; al-Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2:73, Shaltut, Tafsir al-Qur’an, 651; al-Qaradawi, Fiqh al-Zakat 2:70]

Muslims who live as minorities in contemporary societies face challenges in preserving their Islamic identity, actively contributing to their broader communities, and empowering their institutions to serve as beacons of academic enlightenment and social balance. These challenges make it beneficial to allocate a portion of Zakat funds to support Islamic centers and educational institutions that work hard and sincerely for these causes in the US.

In the absence of governmental bodies addressing their religious needs, it becomes an obligation on Muslims residing as minorities in non-Muslim countries to support Islamic educational institutions that disseminate Islamic knowledge and nurture individuals to present and represent the message of Islam with a sound understanding and appropriate training. 

In conclusion, the Zakat category designated “in the Path of Allah” encompasses all endeavors serving the cause of Islam, including organizations striving to uphold the Islamic identity. This fatwa validates Zakat’s allocation to non-profit entities, such as Islamic centers and educational institutions, and permits covering their operational expenses, allowing sustainability, growth, and more impact. 

Therefore, Muslims in the USA should allocate a portion of their Zakat funds to support Islamic academic institutions in the USA to nurture a generation of Muslims equipped with the knowledge and skills to uphold and present the message of Islam positively and constructively to serve Allah’s sake. 


Please consider allocating a portion of your Zakat this year to Boston Islamic Seminary. You can donate online at or send a check payable to BIS to 60 Willow Street, Chelsea, MA 02150. May Allah reward you!

How is Boston Islamic Seminary shaping Muslim communities? (click here)