Why Is Giving Zakat to Palestine So Important?

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The Short Answer

Paying yearly Zakat alms on eligible wealth purifies a Muslim’s wealth and testifies to its giver’s faith in Islam and true faith in Allah alone.

Sending that Zakat to believers who not only meet the conditions Allah set in the Quran to receive Zakat, but whose eligibility for Zakat almost entirely comes from their struggle against shockingly cruel oppression to remain Muslims in a land He has decreed as holy for all humanity and who sacrifice themselves in defense of its sacred precincts in the name of His religion multiplies the vast blessings of that Zakat many times.

Does the Quran itself give special value to the kinds of oppression Palestinians face?

Yes. It specifies people “who have been expelled from their homes without any right, for nothing more than saying: Our Lord is God alone!” (Surat Al-Hajj, 22:40)

It also identifies three kinds of tyranny people suffer and announces Heavenly support for the ones who resist for the sake of imparting divine justice, delivering God-given human rights, for all who remember God, not just Muslims:

They ask you, O Prophet, about the sacred month, about fighting therein. Say: Fighting therein is a great sin. But to bar people from the way of God, and to disbelieve in Him, and to bar them from the Sacred Mosque, and to expel its people from its precincts — all are greater sins in the sight of God. For persecution is a far greater sin than killing. (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:217)

  1. Barring people from the way of God, which is an act of unbelief:
    The people of Palestine suffer all these injustices and have for four generations. Their oppressors routinely prevent them from gathering for their obligatory prayers in their places of worship, including Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.

  2. Barring people from the Sacred Mosque
    Palestinians are specifically blocked from regularly going to and entering Masjid Al-Aqsa, or they are violently assaulted in their prayers there at the most sacred times, including during their tarawih prayers on Laylat Al-Qadr last Ramadan (1442 / 2021).

    (Palestinian Christians, including clerics, are regularly barred from their churches, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.)

  3. Expelling people from the local lands that surround the Sacred Mosque

    The settler-colonizers that have driven the Palestinians from their homes have made them the single largest population of refugees in the world at more than 7 million, including 2 million in Gaza and the West Bank and 3 million in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

    They have systematically depopulated a staggering 531 Palestinian towns, at the least, and this ethnic cleansing remains ongoing.

Yet, Allah tells us that supporting the persecuted who are suffering these conditions has the virtue of becoming a protection for all people of faith:

For had God not decreed to repel some people by means of others, demolition would certainly have come to many hermitages, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is mentioned in praise. (Surat Al-Hajj, 22:40)

Allah promises His mercy for all those who strive in His path, which would include those who seek to provide relief to the oppressed of the Holy Land in the form of Zakat and sadaqah charity.

What needs will Zakat help meet in Palestine?

The scope of humanitarian need in Palestine is so bleak it is difficult to imagine. Zakat Foundation of America works to meet the humanitarian needs of people in Palestine in these seven categories of crisis.

Children’s Humanitarian Crisis

According to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund:

  • 1.2 million Palestinian children need full humanitarian assistance

  • 675,000 children in Gaza need mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)

  • 15,000 children in the West Bank need MHPSS

  • 116 Private Kindergartens damaged by air and ground strikes

  • 140 Public Schools damaged by air and ground strikes

Educational Crisis
  • 41 UNRWA school buildings damaged by air and ground strikes

  • 70,000 Internally Displaced People (most already refugees) in Gaza lost the 63 UNRWA shelters they were living in, destroyed by air and ground

  • 500,000 learners need humanitarian education assistance

  • 10,000 disabled learners need education assistance and safe learning facilities

Safe Water Crisis
  • 97% of water in Gaza is unfit for human drinking

  • 1.3 million in Gaza do not have access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, or hygiene items

  • 290 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities destroyed in Gaza

Hunger Crisis
  • 2.45 million adults require life-sustaining relief

  • 47% of households in Gaza suffer moderate to severe food insecure, meaning they have poor nutrition, unreliable sources of food, and miss meals and go hungry for lack of food

  • 16% of households of the West Bank are moderately to severely food insecure

Housing Crisis
  • 2,100 homes in Gaza destroyed or uninhabitably damaged from air and ground strikes

  • 56,000 homes in Gaza damaged from air and ground strikes

  • 80% of energy needs of people in Gaza (electricity, etc.) are not met

Economic Crisis
  • 49% unemployment in Gaza (60.4% for women)

  • 20% unemployment in the West Bank (27.4% for women)

  • 1.1 million people in Gaza (56%) live on $1.90 per day or less

  • 469,000 people in th West Bank (14%) live on $1.90 per day or less

Health Crisis
  • Virtually all Palestinians face barriers to adequate healthcare access under severe occupation on the West Bank and total blockade in Gaza

  • 33 Health facilities damaged by air and ground strikes in Gaza

  • ñ435,412 Confirmed Covid-19 cases

Are there other spiritual incentives for giving to Palestine?

Yes. Allah explicitly points out – in fact, six times in the Quran – that He specially blessed the lands that surround Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. No other surrounding environs receive the same kind of divine attention in the Quran.

The Prophet, on him be peace, who himself led all the prophets in prayer in Masjid Al-Aqsa during his Night Journey of Isra’, reportedly instructed Muslims to visit “Bayt Al-Maqdis,” the Holy House – meaning Masjid Al-Aqsa, the 35-acre complex that holds the Rock (now covered by a dome) from which he ascended to the Heavens – and pray there, as he did.

But should we not be able to fulfill his directive of pilgrimage there (which is very much the situation for many of us today), he told us that we should instead send oil to light its lamps.

This alternative of sending the means to bring light to the Holy House in Jerusalem, which the Prophet, on him be peace, presented to us, we should very much take as him urging us to serve the needs of Masjid Al-Aqsa and its blessed surroundings.

By far, the greatest need of Bayt Al-Maqdis in these dire times is to support the oppressed but-still-undaunted people there whom Allah has specially selected to uphold it and to uphold His religion in it.

Giving Zakat and sadaqah to Palestine in this light becomes immensely important and, God willing, of tremendous reward to the one who does it, both in this life and in the real one to come.

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