Holding fast to Zakat Rules
Imran Khan: “When I first started raising funds for [Shaukat Khanum 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…through the Islamic concept of Zakat, [we’ve shown how] indigent cancer patients can be supported.
For over 28 years, we’ve borne the trust and confidence of donors who require absolute transparency and adherence to Islamic guidance concerning their obligation to Zakat.
Here are some of the ways we continuously improve how we administer your Zakat and deliver it to our patients.
A Shariah Compliant Framework – Working with Meezan Bank
In 2021, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Meezan Bank, Pakistan's leading Islamic bank, to collaborate on developing a Shariah Compliance Framework for the collection, utilisation, and management of Zakat funds at Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Our initiative is guided by the expertise of Mufti Omais Alam, an independent qualified Shariah scholar specialising in Islamic Finance and Zakat. This framework has given our supporters, individuals and organisations alike, reassurance that our Zakat distribution is conducted with transparency and in accordance with Islamic rulings.
As Muslims, it is our religious obligation to pay Zakat. We must ensure that the distribution of Zakat is in accordance with the rules defined in the Shariah (Islamic Law). We will always take the appropriate measures to ensure our Zakat distribution mechanism adheres to these regulations. Dr Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, our Chief Medical Officer, explains further:
"At Shaukat Khanum Hospital, we treat Zakat as a sacred trust and have always taken all possible steps to ensure that the utilisation of Zakat complies with Islamic injunctions, including utilisation for Zakat-eligible patients. We hope that our supporters will continue to donate generously with renewed confidence, enabling us to offer world-class treatment to thousands of deserving cancer patients at our hospitals."
Ensuring Zakat Transparency
You may have noticed that we ask our supporters for Sadaqah in addition to Zakat. This is because the Zakat you pay is used exclusively for providing direct patient care. Even though we have other expenses such as hospital running costs and medical equipment costs, these are covered by revenue from our hospital diagnostic services or donations made specifically for these purposes.
So, what about patients who don’t qualify for Zakat, but who still need financial support? That’s a good question. At Imran Khan Cancer Appeal, we don’t turn anyone away. Although 75% of our patients benefit from free treatment, many others are partially subsidised from a separate Donation Account.
Our commitment to transparency in this matter is recognised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Zakat and Ushr of the Government of Pakistan, who annually donate Rs.12 million from its Zakat Fund through Shaukat Khanum Hospital for the treatment of eligible cancer patients. A representative from the Ministry permanently monitors Zakat distribution at our hospital.
Upholding Zakat rules
We have a robust system for determining patient eligibility for Zakat, with clear reporting guidelines and controls for our Zakat administrators. Here’s our process:
When a new patient registers for financially supported treatment, our Financial Support Services team will discuss the expected treatment costs with them. In turn, the patient will disclose details of their assets, dependents, and income sources to help our team ascertain their eligibility for financial support and the extent of support they require.
We also have field investigators who help us verify the authenticity of the information we are given. Qualifying patients are 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 their eligibility for Zakat based on local information.
For patients who pass our inspection, treatment is subsidised from the Zakat fund which is separately maintained at our hospital.
The past year has been especially difficult for our most vulnerable patients. With the global crisis and floods creating further hardships, your Zakat and Sadaqah donations are more important than ever. Please continue to support our lifesaving work this Ramadan.