Benefits of Giving Zakat to Education: A Historic Lens

The Islamic Golden Age is used to refer to the period from 8th century to 13th century. The foundation of modern science was laid during this period, whereby scholars from all over the world migrated to Baghdad.

Credit: David McEachan

Despite its importance, discussions about this era often fall into two binaries; nostalgic reflections on past glory or calls for the revival of pan-Islamic empires. But what caused this period of unprecedented cultural and scientific progress? And what lessons can we draw from it?

There were many causes of this great Islamic age; openness to diversity, Zakat-backed sponsorships of educational institutes and the invention of paper. One of the biggest causes of the Islamic Golden age was the openness to learning and borrowing from Persian, Western and other non-Arab civilizations. Famous works from Greek, Persian and Syriac were translated and taught. This was further aided by the invention of paper which allowed easy transmission of knowledge across regions.

But most importantly, Islamic empires patronized and sponsored scholars and educational institutes. Notable institutions such as The Grand Library of Baghdad and University of al-Qarawiyyin were established during this era. Charitable endowments under the institution of waqf and Zakat were also used to promote scholarship and pedagogical advancements.

University of Al-Qarawiyyin (i-stock photo)

Unfortunately, the culture around giving Zakat has changed in modern Muslim societies. Often reduced to mere charity, Zakat is overlooked as a means of empowering deserving individuals within society.  Habib University’s documentary, “The Gift of Knowledge: Empowering Lives Through Islamic Philanthropy” discusses the rich history of Zakat and how we can revive its regenerative spirit to enlighten our futures. It also addresses the crucial question of “Can you give Zakat for education” in today’s day and age?

This documentary features renowned Islamic and History scholars such as Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Nauman Naqvi, Oludamini Ogunaikke and Dr.Sajjad Rizvi. They discuss the benefits of giving zakat to a society and civilization, its rich heritage and what we can learn from its history.

You can donate zakat for scholarship or financial aid and give the gift of higher education to a student through your support for Habib University!

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