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 29 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 ensure a high standard in administering your Zakat and delivering it to our patients.

Upholding Zakat rules

We pride ourselves on having a strong internal system to assess patient eligibility for Zakat. This includes clear reporting guidelines and controls for all the parties involved in the evaluation.

When a patient at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital registers for financial aid, a member of our Financial Support Services team sits down with them to discuss their expected treatment costs. Enquiries are made about the patient’s assets, dependents, and income sources to ascertain their eligibility for financial support and the extent of support they require.

Once this is done, our field investigators verify the authenticity of the information provided. Qualifying patients are asked whether they are eligible for Zakat. If they answer “yes”, we request that they obtain a signed and stamped referral letter from their local Zakat Authorities, confirming their eligibility for Zakat based on local information.

For patients who pass our inspection, treatment is covered by a separate Zakat fund maintained at our hospitals.

A Shariah Compliant Framework – Working with Meezan Bank

Back 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 Hospitals.

This initiative was guided by the expertise of Mufti Omais Alam, an independent qualified Shariah scholar specialising in Islamic Finance and Zakat. The resulting framework has given our supporters the reassurance they need about our commitment to upholding the highest levels of compliance.

We recognise our supporters understand both their religious obligation to pay Zakat and the requirement to ensure its distribution aligns with the rules outlined in Shariah (Islamic Law). And we remain committed to honouring their trust. Dr Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, Chief Medical Officer at Shaukat Khanum Hospitals, explains more:

"...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 to provide direct patient care. All other expenses such as hospital running costs and medical equipment costs must be covered by revenue from our hospital diagnostic services or donations made for these specific causes.

And what about patients who don’t qualify for Zakat, but who still need financial support? At Imran Khan Cancer Appeal, we don’t turn anyone away. Although 75% of our patients benefit from free treatment, many others receive a partial subsidy from a separate Donation Account maintained at our hospitals.

Our commitment to openness 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 to Shaukat Khanum Hospitals for the treatment of Zakat-eligible patients. Accordingly, a representative from the Ministry permanently monitors Zakat distribution on-site.

Since 1989 our founder has dedicated his life to improving the welfare of ordinary Pakistanis. He is unable to make an appeal for Shaukat Khanum Hospitals this year, but in his absence, we hope you will continue supporting our patients with your Zakat as well as your Sadaqah and show that we still stand together in the fight against cancer.

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