For your convenience, Islamic Relief USA has answered your frequently asked questions below.

Please note: Islamic Relief USA consults with a council of imams who follow the Fiqh Council of North America for information about religious donations. It is advised that you consult with your local imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries.


How are donations to Islamic Relief USA spent?

At Islamic Relief USA, we work hard to ensure that every penny is spent in the most effective way possible because we are accountable to our donors, to people in need all around the world, and most importantly, we are accountable to Allah (SWT). Check out our most recent financial reports. (please see the zakat section below for specific information pertaining to zakat donations.)

What’s more: Working with other non-profit organizations, such as MAP International, MedShare International, and Project CURE, allows us to multiply your donations. An example of this was when a 40ft shipping container of essential medicines and medical supplies was sent to one of the countries we work in. By working together with a like-minded organization, we were able to distribute more than half a million dollars of humanitarian aid for just a fraction of the cost — in that case, turning each $1 you donated into $10 worth of aid.

We also receive matching gifts from some of the biggest companies in the United States. Often our overseas affiliates are able to receive institutional funding that grows your gift further and increases the power of your donation. Furthermore, a significant amount of our work is done by generous and hard-working volunteers who donate their time to stretch your dollars even farther. That’s the power of partnership!

What is the difference between Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief USA?

Islamic Relief USA is a member of a federation, along with Islamic Relief members from 12 other countries, that contribute to projects and decisions made by the federation and implemented by Islamic Relief Worldwide. We are completely separate legal entities that work together under the Islamic Relief umbrella to provide aid.

Which countries does Islamic Relief work in?

Islamic Relief USA currently provides aid in more than 40 countries, including the United States. See our Where We Work section for more details.

To implement work around the world, the Islamic Relief global family has field offices (sometimes, multiple offices in the same country) based on need and location. In addition to the field offices, independent Islamic Relief affiliates operate in 16 countries along with the United States. These offices plan widespread relief efforts, provide funding, and implement domestic projects. Learn more on our Affiliates and Alliances page.

Do you accept in-kind donations?

Due to logistics and costs, Islamic Relief USA can only consider accepting in-kind donations from institutional donors and manufacturers who deal primarily with in-kind goods as well as other NGOs.The cost to pack, ship, and distribute items from individual donors is typically greater than if they were purchased local to the area of crisis or from a neighboring country.

The most effective way to help Islamic Relief aid those in need is through a financial contribution. We encourage our donors to support their local community by giving in-kind goods to local mosques or organizations in their area who are best able to distribute the items to those in need. To learn about IRUSA’s Gifts in Kind program, call 1-855-447-1001.

What is the benefit of sending my donation through Islamic Relief USA rather than sending it directly to the country I’m interested in?

As a US-based organization that upholds that highest credentials, Islamic Relief USA regularly monitors US laws to ensure that we and our donors remain in compliance with complex and changing regulations. We also take all precautions to ensure that funds are never diverted from their charitable purposes. Also, large organizations such as ours can leverage better prices on large purchases, meaning your donation works in a more cost-effective manner. And donating to a recognized charity may qualify you for a tax deduction—seek clarification from your personal tax adviser.

What is your relationship with the US government?

Islamic Relief USA receives no government funding. We have an excellent working relationship with the federal government. We work with US agencies such as the US Department of Agriculture on projects (see a related blog from the USDA website, “Food and Faith: Setting a Safe and Healthy Table”).

Islamic Relief USA’s leadership and staff also serves on boards, and regularly attend US government meetings related to the work we do. Each year, US Office of Personnel Management lists us in its Combined Federal Campaign catalogue (CFC #10194) as an approved charity to which employees are encouraged to donate.

How does Islamic Relief USA derive its information about religious donations?

Islamic Relief USA consults with a council of imams who follow the Fiqh Council of North America for information about religious donations. The information we present is meant to provide a general understanding of the topics at hand. We highly recommend that you consult with your local imam or scholar for more detailed inquiries.

Can I use my donations as a tax deduction?

We have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Our tax ID number is 95-4453134. It is best to consult with your tax adviser to learn how you may be able to use your donation as a tax-deduction.

How can I be sure my donation will go to the country/fund I have requested?

Islamic Relief USA tracks contributions by various restrictions. The first restriction is usually by country. The second level of restriction is usually a project category such as education, emergency relief, food, orphans, etc. Islamic Relief USA records contributions according to donor specifications. As an example, if you specify Pakistan in the contribution, your donation would go toward our Pakistan General Fund. However, it would not be limited to a specific project category unless you request otherwise (such as emergency relief, food, orphans, etc., as mentioned above). We ask our donors to indicate, such as by writing it on the check or money order, which country they would like their contribution to benefit.

Our funds can basically be divided into three groups:

  • Restricted: To be used for a specific purpose only. Example: Udhiyah/Qurbani, specific country, orphans.
  • Non-Restricted: This type of fund gives the organization the right to use the money where ever it is most needed. Example: Where Needed Most.
  • Semi-Restricted: This type of fund requires us to follow certain guidelines. Example: Global Zakat.

I want to give money to wherever it is most needed. Which fund should I choose?

You may donate to our Where Needed Most or our Global Humanitarian Aid funds. Money from these funds may be used for any project.

Do you accept jewelry given as charity?

Yes. However, we don’t encourage it because it is very difficult to sell jewelry at a reasonable price.

Does Islamic Relief USA fulfill aqiqah requests?

Aqiqah is the tradition of giving charity after the birth of a new baby. IRUSA does not currently have an aqiqah program available.

How is Islamic Relief USA dealing with Islamophobia and negative rhetoric against Islam and Muslims?

Islamic Relief USA responds to Islamophobia and negative rhetoric against Islam by continuing our commitment to providing humanitarian relief and development to the most vulnerable individuals both at home and abroad, thereby demonstrating our core values of compassion, social justice and sincerity.  We categorically condemn and abhor violence and extremism in any form. Following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we endeavor to overcome divides and unify communities through our humanitarian work, partnerships and advocacy efforts. We allow the essential work we do to speak for itself. By focusing on our humanitarian mission, and serving the world’s most vulnerable people, we showcase what Islam truly is about.

We want people to know the truth about our work and why we do it.  We believe that investing in advocacy allows us to eliminate obstacles that could otherwise prevent us from doing our work effectively and reaching people in need all across the world.  With the various challenges Muslims in America face, we recognize that we need to advocate for issues that are relevant to our mission and impact all domestic charities working to respond to humanitarian needs.  That is why, in addition to continuing our programmatic humanitarian work, we have focused in recent years on increasing our advocacy efforts and dedicated resources to the task. We want to be part of the conversation, so we engage with the media to share positive stories that showcase the best of the American Muslim community.

We educate, engage, and partner with various agencies within the federal government, including the US Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Health and Human Services. We facilitate dialogue with members of Congress and with state and local officeholders, such as mayors of the cities where we have offices and members of city councils.  The Mayor of Alexandria visited our Alexandria, Virginia and read the City Council Statement of Inclusiveness, and are regularly invited to attend the New York City Mayor’s annual Ramadan iftar. When we talk to our leaders and representatives, we educate them about the great work our donors support and how we are working to make an impact in key humanitarian areas in their communities and around the world. Beyond the wide array of events that we host, we also engage extensively on policy, especially in coalition on matters related to our humanitarian work and protecting the space for non-profit organizations to implement their missions.

We find that by building relationships through engagement and education, and being good neighbors, we can transform sentiments of distrust and fear to curiosity, appreciation and, ultimately, friendship and unity.

How can I bequeath giving to Islamic Relief USA in a will?

Islamic Relief USA has partnered with ShariaWiz to bring you an easy-to-use portal where you can create a will and more. The set-up will guide you through the process as well as setting up any bequests you’d like to dedicate to Islamic Relief USA. Visit to learn more and to get started.


How does Islamic Relief define an orphan?

Islamic Relief defines an orphan as a child younger than 18 who is living without a father or both parents, or a child whose father’s whereabouts have been unknown for two years or more (one year or more for refugees and internally displaced people). The orphan may be of any gender, religion, or race.

How is an orphan selected for sponsorship?

Orphans are selected based on five main criteria: vulnerability, financial need, family size, housing conditions, and health. The families with the greatest need—such as larger families with dire financial situations—receive priority for sponsorship. Official documentation is required to confirm an orphan’s sponsorship, and the selection of children must not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, age, gender, or disability.

Does IRUSA's orphan sponsorship program include refugees?

Yes! Currently, IRUSA donors are helping sponsor Somali orphan refugees in Kenya; Palestinian orphan refugees in Jordan and Lebanon; and Syrian orphan refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Does sponsoring an orphan count towards Zakat?

A donor can make the intention to donate for orphans with their Zakat as orphans are among the groups of vulnerable people who are eligible to receive Zakat funds. At IRUSA, Zakat-specific funds are often used to support efforts for orphans and their communities. Please note, however, that donations made specifically to our OrphanCare programs and funds incur a different admin fee than the admin fee applied to our Zakat-specific funds. For more information, please connect with us at 1-855-447-1001 or

How is the sponsorship donation spent?

In many cases, sponsorship money is paid to the orphan’s guardian in several increments throughout the year. Of course, every country is different and there are unique circumstances that sometimes affect frequency of payment or how the aid is delivered. You can learn the specific details of a particular country by connecting with us at 1-855-447-1001 or Orphans are monitored to ensure that they are receiving the full benefits of sponsorship. This may include health checks and/or education for school-aged children.

How long will the sponsorship continue?

You can sponsor a child as long as you wish, up to the age of 18. In special medical or continuing education circumstances, IRUSA facilitates extended sponsorships through the age of 24. We require a minimum sponsorship time of one year because this allows us to plan ahead and maintain a consistent level of service to the orphan. However, in case of any difficulty, the sponsor may cancel at any time with advanced notice.

Can I write a letter to the orphan I am sponsoring?

Yes. The sponsor and orphan are free to exchange correspondence via Islamic Relief USA. Sponsors may email the correspondence to the

I have not heard about the orphan I am sponsoring. When will I be updated?

Sponsors will receive a first (biodata) report after starting an orphan sponsorship. Please note: There may be a delay in receiving the first report depending on the country selected by the sponsor. Annual progress reports will be sent based on availability from the respective field office. Donors may request an updated annual progress report via if it has been past 12 months of the start of the sponsorship.


Do you offer a specific fund to donate money to if a family member is unable to fast?

According to Islamic tradition, when a Muslim is unable to fast during Ramadan and cannot make up the fasting days afterwards, he or she can pay fidya or kaffara in compensation. Learn more via our Fidya/Kaffara page, or call 855-447-1001.

Do you have a specific fund to feed hungry people during Ramadan?

Yes, you may donate to the Ramadan Food Package fund. There are several funds that feature a range of countries—both globally and in the US. Each food package holds nutritious food like rice, wheat, lentils, oil, sugar, canned fish or meat, and dates; in some countries, vouchers are given to families, instead of a physical box, so that they can shop for their ingredients directly. Either means provides families access to food for 30 days!

How much does it cost to feed one person for one day?

This varies according to your personal living standard. It is calculated by the cost of food for one day according to your preference and consumption.

When should I celebrate Eid?

The day of Eid can vary from country to country, as it is dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon. We recommend that you consult your local masjid or Islamic center for the most accuracy.

How can I donate my Zakat al-Fitr?

Islamic Relief USA is pleased to accept your Zakat al-Fitr. These donations are used to pay for food that is distributed to communities in need around the world. IRUSA has specific funds for Zakat and Zakat al-Fitr. Visit to learn more and donate.


Which animals are used for IRUSA's Qurbani/Udhiyah program?

The animals used are an’aam animals, such as sheep, goats, cows, and buffalo. The animals must be healthy; free from blindness and chronic sickness or disease or any apparent ailment; and of a fit age. One sheep or goat equals one Qurbani donation; while one cow or buffalo equals seven Qurbani donations. Our prices equal one share—one sheep or goat, or one-seventh of a cow or buffalo.

To see what type of animal will be distributed in any specific country for this year’s Qurbani season, please see the “Animals” section on

What kind of meat does the Qurbani/Udhiyah program use?

Our program uses 100% halal meat. Meat is sourced locally whenever possible to support the local economy. It is distributed fresh whenever possible, though in difficult situations like conflict zones we may send frozen meat so it can arrive to the recipients in good condition. All logistics—from sacrifice to transportation—are handled in accordance with Islamic principle, and with the best hygienic practices possible.

Who receives Islamic Relief USA’s Qurbani/Udhiyah program meat?

Beneficiaries selected to receive meat include widows, orphans, the destitute, people of advanced age, people with disabilities, refugees, and disaster-affected populations—generally, people who cannot afford to buy meat often and whose diets are lacking in calories and nutrition. Many of the recipients of Udhiyah/Qurbani donations live in remote areas which are typically inaccessible. Islamic Relief makes every effort to reach them in order to provide aid to some of the most vulnerable community members.

Does the sacrifice occur on the allotted days?

Yes, Islamic Relief performs the Udhiyah/Qurbani during the day of Eid al-Adha and the ensuing three days of “tashreek“. However, under extreme circumstances, there may be exceptions due to factors such as the abundant number of Udhiyah/Qurbani or the volatile conditions on the ground in a particular country. In these cases, the Qurbani may be done after the fourth day of Eid. Scholars have approved this practice.

How long does it take for the meat distributions to take place?

Islamic Relief does its utmost to deliver the meat as quickly as is possible. The distribution of meat may take up to two weeks, but in most cases, it is less. In rare circumstances, such as conflict zones, it may take a little longer.

Do you need the name of the people on whose behalf the sacrifice is being made?

No, because of the vast number of requests during this season, this practice becomes impossible. This is similar to the practice of offering sacrifice while on hajj. The scholars have approved the sacrifice without the names as long as the intention of the person was made. We suggest making the intention now.

Is it obligatory to give on Qurbani/Udhiyah for each member of my family?

Islamic Relief recognizes the various jurisprudence opinions (fiqh) in the Islamic tradition, and welcomes all to fulfill their religious right as they see fit.

How late into the season can I submit my order for a sacrifice?

We accept orders up until the fourth day of Eid al-Adha. We prepurchase the animals and plan one year ahead of time. We also buy approximately 20% more animals, in order to fulfill all incoming requests.


What is Zakat?

In Arabic, zakat means purification, growth and blessing. It is a charitable practice that requires all able Muslims (those who meet the requirement of zakat as dependent upon nisab and hawl—see below) to contribute a fixed portion of their wealth – 2.5% of savings — to help the needy.

What is nisab?

Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have—after calculating necessary expenses—to be eligible to contribute zakat. Nisab is equivalent to the current value of 3 ounces of gold. The nisab we’ve calculated for our Zakat calculator is based on the most-recent report available to us (disclaimer: this number may change daily depending on fluctuations in the gold exchange rate).

What is hawl?

Hawl is defined as the completion period for a Zakat asset, which is one lunar year. In other words, the wealth on which Zakat should be paid must have been held for at least one full year. There are some forms of Zakat that do not require hawl, such as for crops, when Zakat should be paid at the time of the harvest. For clarification, it is recommended that you consult with your local imam or scholar.

Who is obligated to pay Zakat?

Every adult Muslim who meets the requirements of nisab and hawl in a calendar year must pay Zakat for that year. There are some conditions that may require others, a wali (guardian) of a minor for instance, to pay Zakat too. As always, it is best to consult with your local imam or scholar for clarification.

Must I have the intention to pay Zakat for it to be accepted?

Yes. In Islam, intention is an essential part of any act of worship, including the payment of Zakat. The intention must be made at the time the Zakat is paid.

What kinds of wealth are included in the calculation of Zakat?

For a detailed list of wealth to include, please see IRUSA’s Zakat calculator.
These stipulations delineate the type of wealth that should be accounted for when calculating zakat:

  • The wealth is yours and under your control. You do not need to include outstanding debts when calculating zakat.
  • The wealth is subject to development and increasing.
  • After calculating necessary expenses, the wealth meets the requirements of nisab.
  • Personal belongings, such as clothes, primary homes, food, cars, are exempt from Zakat.

When can I pay my Zakat?

Zakat should be paid as soon as possible prior to or at the time that you’ve earned the requisite amount of nisab each lunar year, or one year after you last paid it. Tip: A good way to ensure Zakat is made in a timely fashion is to pay your zakat during Ramadan.

Is it acceptable from a religious perspective to give zakat toward any of your funds, or does the fund have to specify Zakat?

You may make your zakat contributions toward any of our funds or projects. It is your intention that counts in this case. However, if your contribution is specifically made to our Zakat fund, then we will follow specific Zakat guidelines.

What is the administrative cost on Zakat donations?

IRUSA follows the practice agreed upon by most scholars, which states that collectors of zakat are one of the eight groups that are eligible to receive zakat. As such, and per its Zakat policy, IRUSA is eligible to use up to 10% of donations made to zakat-specific funds for core work, including administrative and operational functions. When IRUSA works with other partners or when working with Islamic Relief Worldwide to implement programs, additional fees may be applied by those groups to cover their costs incurred at the administrative and programmatic levels. Here is the full breakdown of a donation made to an IRUSA Zakat-specific fund:

  • 88% directly serves our rights holders and supports the program serving them
  • 2% goes to Islamic Relief Worldwide for indirectly-related programmatic expenses
  • 10% is used by IRUSA as administrative expenses

Does this mean that 100% of your zakat donation gets used in zakat-eligible ways? YES!

Who can my Zakat be given to?

According to the Holy Qur’an (9:60), there are eight categories of people who qualify to be beneficiaries of Zakat:

  • The poor
  • The needy
  • The collectors of Zakat
  • Those who hearts are to be encouraged
  • Captives
  • Those burdened with debt
  • In the cause of Allah (SWT)
  • Travelers

Most scholars agree that the poor and needy are the most important categories of people to receive zakat. Given that, it is acceptable to give your entire zakat allotment to individuals who are in those groups.

Do I have to pay my Zakat on my home?

One does not have to pay Zakat on a primary place of residence. If the house qualifies as a secondary residence that sometimes get rented out, however, Zakat is due on it after subtracting necessary expenses from the income generated.

Do I have to pay my Zakat on jewelry?

Yes, on jewelry you do not regularly wear and that you own for investment purposes.

Do I have to pay my Zakat on stocks?

Yes. You may use the current value on stocks.

What’s the difference between Zakat and Sadaqah?

In the language of the Holy Qur’an, Zakat and Sadaqah are the same. In practice, however, Sadaqah is the term used to indicate voluntary charitable giving while Zakat is obligatory.

What is the difference between Zakat and Zakat al-Fitr?

Zakat al-Mal (commonly called “zakat“) is due when a person’s wealth reaches the nisab amount and can be paid anytime during the year. Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the head of the household for each member of the family, before Eid al-Fitr prayer. Zakat al-Fitr is about the price of one meal—currently estimated at $12.

On whose behalf do I have to pay Zakat al-Fitr? What if I have young children?

Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of everyone in the family. There are some scholars that recommend that Zakat al-Fitr is also paid on behalf of unborn children after the 120th day of pregnancy, but do not view it as obligatory. Most scholars do agree, however, that Zakat al-Fitr should be paid on behalf of the baby after his/her birth. Please do consult with your local imam or scholar for further clarification.

When should I pay my Zakat al-Fitr?

It should be paid before Eid prayer (or any day during Ramadan). There are some schools of thought that also allow for Zakat al-Fitr to be paid even before Ramadan. Consult with your local imam or scholar if you need additional information.


Can I make a Sadaqah donation through Islamic Relief USA?

Yes, you can make a Sadaqah donation through Islamic Relief USA. You can choose the place or kind of work it does by selecting the appropriate regional, country or sector fund—or give to our global funds, and we’ll use it where needed most. We do also have a Sadaqah Jariyah fund you can select under the Islamic Giving category. Your Sadaqah donation can give families much-needed food, water, education, job opportunities, emergency relief, and much more.

Islamic Relief USA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID# 95-4453134) | CFC# 10194 | Islamic Relief USA © 2024 | All Rights Reserved