Your zakat can save lives. Without it, we wouldn’t be here today providing vital cancer care for the most destitute in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, many cancer patients are too poor to meet their basic daily needs, let alone the high cost of cancer treatment. In the worst cases, some cannot even afford to take away their deceased for burial.
Last year at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH), we were able to provide free cancer treatment to 75% of our patients through zakat funds. By giving your zakat to Imran Khan Cancer Appeal (IKCA), you are helping us support and restore hope to needy cancer patients in Pakistan.
‘When I first started raising funds for the hospital in 1989, experts and critics were of the opinion that providing free treatment in a cancer hospital was not feasible in any part of the world. But [I believed that] in an Islamic country this does not hold true. Through the Islamic concept of zakat, [we’ve shown how] indigent cancer patients can be supported.’ – Imran Khan
Your Zakat can pay for the full or partial treatment of a cancer patient. Find Out More about sponsoring a patient with your Zakat.
The Arabic word ‘zakat’ literally means ‘to cleanse’ or ‘that which purifies.’ The third pillar of Islam, zakat is obligatory charity for the poor. It is mandatory to all Muslims whose income and/or savings are above a set minimum amount (nisab). Once your savings reach nisab, zakat is the 2.5% that is due to the poor.
‘And those within whose wealth is a known right, for the petitioner and the poor.’ – The Holy Qur’an 70: 24-25
In the Islamic faith, the function of zakat is manifold: It is a means to purify one’s wealth. It is also a means of spiritual purification, allowing the giver to free themselves of greed and attachment to worldly possessions. And it is a sophisticated system which allows the fair distribution of surplus wealth in a bid to tackle poverty.
There are eight types of people to whom Zakat can be given:
- The poor (people who have no assets and means to earn a living)
- The needy (people who have no earnings or whose earnings don’t cover their basic needs)
- The wayfarer
- Those employed to administer zakat funds
- Those whose hearts have been reconciled [to the truth/faith]
- Those in bondage
- Those in debt
- In the cause of Allah (swt)
At IKCA, we know the importance of giving zakat and care about transparency, which is why we are very particular about the disbursement of zakat funds. The zakat we receive is utilized exclusively for providing direct patient care to poor patients.
Patients who do not qualify for zakat, but who are still in need of financially supported treatment, are subsidized from our separate Donation Account. Our hospital expenses (including staff salaries), expansion projects, and equipment costs are met through revenue received from our hospital diagnostic services or from donations made specifically towards such needs.
Our commitment to transparency is recognised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Zakat and Ushr of the Government of Pakistan. Annually, the Ministry donates Rs.12 million from its Zakat Fund through SKMCH for the treatment of poor cancer patients. For this purpose, it has permanently deputed a representative who monitors zakat distribution at the Hospital.
At SKMCH, the system we have in place is thorough when determining the eligibility of patients for zakat.
After a medical evaluation, patients diagnosed with cancer are registered for financially supported treatment. At this point, our Financial Support Services team will discuss the expected treatment costs with the patient. In turn, the patient will disclose details of their assets, dependents, and income sources to help our team ascertain his/her eligibility for financial support and the extent they require. Few patients, depending on their situation, are offered subsidised treatment, though most (over to 65%) receive treatment which is absolutely free.
SKMCH also have field investigators which allow us to verify the authenticity of information our staff is given. Qualifying patients are also asked whether they are eligible for zakat in particular. If they are, we request that they obtain a signed and stamped referral letter from their local Zakat Authorities, verifying the patients eligibility for zakat based on local information.
For patients who qualify for zakat, treatment will be subsidised from the zakat fund that is separately maintained at the Hospital.