Muslim-Americans contribute more of their wealth and income toward charitable causes than the general population, making them one of the largest and most generous religious groups in the United States, according to recent research.
“Muslim Americans are stepping up to play an important role in making our world and nation better despite facing prejudice, greater scrutiny and having fewer resources. Yet there is a lack of data-driven research about Muslim giving in the U.S. Given the centrality of giving in Muslim communities and the vital role religious giving plays in philanthropy more broadly, it is important to better understand how and why American Muslims give,” said Shariq Siddiqui, assistant professor of philanthropic studies and director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The study by the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy was funded by Islamic Relief USA, a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization. The survey was conducted from March 17 through April 7 and surveyed a total of 2,005 people (1,003 Muslims, 1,002 non-Muslims).
The report, titled “Muslim American Giving 2021,” shows that despite making up just 1.1 percent of the U.S. population, Muslim-Americans’ contributions toward various noteworthy causes and campaigns comprise 1.4 percent of all donations, totalling $4.3 billion.
Muslim Americans gave more money on average ($3,241) compared to the general population ($1,905).
“We have always known that American-Muslims are exceedingly generous and philanthropic. Charity is a central pillar in the Islamic faith and deeply entrenched into our way of life,” said Sharif Aly, chief executive officer of Islamic Relief USA. “The recent study from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy only confirms our experience with a dedicated community of generous donors and further highlights the significant contributions that Muslims have made towards bettering society, both at home and abroad.”
The study found that much of the donations from Muslim-Americans are for domestic causes.
Only 15 percent of their contributions go toward international campaigns, while 85 percent go toward American charitable causes. Muslims in America contribute 27.45 percent of their faith-based giving funds to houses of worship.
In addition to donations, Muslim-Americans volunteer at a much higher rate than non-Muslims, with 66.61 hours devoted toward faith-based campaigns and 45.93 hours for non-faith-based campaigns.
Among the general population in the survey, 11.8 hours went toward faith-based campaigns and 13.72 hours toward non-faith volunteering.
Among the reasons American-Muslims contribute and volunteer so frequently, according to the study, is because of a high sense of compassion. Among the least popular reasons for giving, the survey found, was to receive a tax credit or recognition.
Numerous scholars and the Holy Quran mention the importance of looking out and aiding vulnerable populations, such as orphans, widows, neighbours in distress, among others.