Mumbai, February 25, 2021: IndiaZakat.com was launched in April 2020 last year at the onset of the holy month of Ramzan. It is India’s first zakat-based crowdfunding platform.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is a mandatory charity of 2.5% of ones’ expense-free wealth. The platform was launched by India’s largest professional network of Indian Muslims, the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP). In a short span of 10 months, IndiaZakat has crossed a historic milestone of Rs 2 crores raised through 6500+ donors and thus impacting the lives of more than 700 deserving families, informed AMP President Aamir Edresy.
He added, “An experienced team from diverse backgrounds of technology, marketing, social welfare, and finance volunteered to get the website up and running in a record time with much-needed features and a good user experience.”
The platform was launched during the extreme lockdown in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and when everyone was confined to their homes. IndiaZakat.com emerged as a blessing in disguise for many in difficult times. Generous donors have contributed their zakat, sadaqat and general donations to a number of causes raised on the platform.
“Rs 30 lakhs were raised for COVID-19 relief, wherein 5,000 families affected adversely in 90+ cities of India were provided rations during the lockdown. The funds were not only raised for COVID-19 pandemic relief. The focus of the platform was to support education, livelihoods, medical and disaster relief anywhere across India”, Edresy.
Kashish Yusuf, a 19-year girl from Jaipur, scored 99.58 percentile in JEE Mains 2020 and the only Muslim girl in the toppers list from Rajasthan. Her father experienced an extreme setback in his business a few years ago and has not been able to recover until now. Additionally, the COVID-19 lockdown made him temporarily unemployed and it was very difficult to meet even basic house expenses.
Among all this depressing situation, the extraordinary success of Kashish was like a great blessing. Her father could not have provided the required funds for IIT/NIT education like admission counselling, college fees, hostel fees, etc. In this bleak scenario, a cause for education was raised on IndiaZakat.com for Kashish. Within six days, with the help of social media and the generosity of donors, the amount of Rs two lakhs was raised. Currently, she is studying Computer Science (CS) at NIT, Jaipur.
Similarly, Md. Dilshad Ahmad (a Patna-based student), who was selected for admission into a master’s degree course in the Public Policy Program at National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. He had to pay a hefty fee of Rs 2.77 lakh for the admission within a couple of days. Without having full fees and not knowing what to do, he took to social media and approached Edresy, President, AMP.
Immediately, Edresy arranged for a cause to be raised on IndiaZakat.com, seeking contribution to the extent of a shortfall in fee payment. Generous donors responded with electrifying speed on Social Media and within a matter of three hours, an amount of Rs 1.50 lakh was funded by 55 donors.
Dilshad Ahmed said, “This is a revolutionary initiative by AMP and it will impact the lives of thousands and lakhs of people in future. One day, inshallah, I will also fulfill someone else’s dream in the future.”
For Livelihood support, take the case of 52 years old Nijamudeen, living in Chennai. He is an auto driver and had been driving a rented auto for the past 35 years. Due to COVID, his auto was taken away by owners as he couldn’t pay the rent and he was facing difficulties to get a job due to his advanced age. He desperately needed support to buy an auto-rickshaw to earn bread for his family. Through some acquaintance, he contacted IndiaZakat.com and a cause was raised and promoted on Social Media. A donor saw the post and agreed to arrange the entire funds and get Nijamudeen a brand new auto.
On the occasion of crossing the important milestone, Edresy who is the Chief Architect – IndiaZakat added, “It gives me immense satisfaction seeing a dream come true and helping so many families during their financial difficulties. Going forward we will continue to help more people in distress by using innovative ways.”
He added, “Our focus has always been on providing tech-based solutions to the problems of Muslims so that the people can help the deserving and needy from their preferred location, interest, and choice from the comfort of their home. The best thing is that these beneficiaries are reviewed very diligently by doing multiple background checks and the donations made are transparent and traceable connecting directly to the beneficiaries.”
Ausaf Usmani, a regular donor on the platform, expressed immense happiness and said, “IndiaZakat.com gives freedom to a zakat donor as it doesn’t keep you bound to Ramzan when these donations are usually given. There is immense transparency as you know in which cause your donation is going and besides IndiaZakat.com is not charging any service fee so you have the satisfaction of seeing your entire contribution go to the beneficiary.”
Tabish Sangrar, a globally-renowned technologist, who has helped in building the platform said, “I am associated with AMP for a long time long for their excellent developmental work in education and empowerment. When they approached me for helping them to set up a digital platform, I readily agreed so that I could do my bit for society and the nation.”
Zaeem Mirza, a global marketing professional who has worked at Google and Qatar Airways earlier, and is currently IndiaZakat Council Member said that “By the grace of the almighty, in a short time, we have created a good platform for humanitarian work. We count on our readers, community, and all users to continue to share our communication with their family, friends, and colleagues. They can also join this blessed initiative as marketing and operations volunteers and help us take IndiaZakat.com to greater heights.”
They are also planning a special Ramzan campaign. “Just like last year’s launch, this year too we will continue to connect users to a range of verified avenues of charity in a transparent and convenient manner. Keep checking our website to donate and secure the blessings of the upcoming Ramzan month,” added Mirza.
Syed Furqan and Sadique Anjum, Heads of Social Media Team Leads, said “This is indeed a great milestone in our journey. In the days to come, we will, in sha Allah, cross many more milestones with the sole vision of transforming today’s zakat receiver to be tomorrow’s zakat giver. Our sincere thanks to the donors who contributed generously to the causes raised on the platform. We also thank all those who have raised the causes on our platform and gave us an opportunity to serve them for a noble cause.”
IndiaZakat.com team consists of an Advisory Board, Zakat Council, Technical, Operations, and Marketing team members who look after the day-to-day running of the platform purely on a volunteering basis.
Crowdfunding has increasingly become a very popular activity, where several people invest, lend, or donate small amounts of money for someone’s business, idea, idea, distress relief, or social development campaigns. In India, crowdfunding is steadily taking a strong shape, becoming the fastest, easiest, way of raising funds. These platforms work through individuals or organizations, who invest or donate to crowdfunding projects, with an intention of charity or in return for a potential profit.
On the back of technology, online crowd-funding platforms like IndiaZakat.com facilitate a transparent exchange of funds between the donor and the beneficiary. Additionally, people are more likely to donate to a cause they are familiar with. Crowdfunding platforms assist the individual seekers and NGOs in taking their causes to a wider audience through marketing and communication channels both online and offline.
Edresy further said, “The management team at AMP had been constantly exploring ways of reaching out to more zakat donors in India so that a centralized zakat system could better utilize the charitable contributions for the benefit of the underprivileged seekers and turn them into zakat givers. AMP has been at the forefront of empowering Indians irrespective of their caste and religion as seen through many other public AMP initiatives of Job Assistance and Employment training programs.”
Association of Muslim Professionals, a registered national-level NGO working in the fields of educational and economic empowerment of the underprivileged since 2007, had earlier launched its AMP Zakat Fund (AZF) in 2013, in an effort to collect and distribute zakat donations in an organized manner. Since then AMP has utilized the zakat donations for higher education scholarships of needy students, providing assistance for orphans’ basic education and for self-employment assistance to the less educated and jobless youth.