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Why Ramadan generates millions in charitable giving every year

Islam calls on Muslims to set aside 2.5% of their accumulated wealth each year for zakat, said Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at New York University.

April 30, 2022 / 10:46 PM IST
Muslims pray as they practice social distancing at Chicago's Muslim Community Center in April last year (File image: AP)

Muslims pray as they practice social distancing at Chicago's Muslim Community Center in April last year (File image: AP)

Muhammad Harby fasts from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. Then, after he breaks his fast, he heads from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan every day for a late-night appointment with hundreds of homeless New Yorkers who rely on him and other Muslim volunteers for a hot meal.

The volunteers pass out chicken and rice, vegetables and fresh fruit from a food truck run by Muslims Giving Back, a charity based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, whose activities — and coffers — swell during Ramadan, when Islamic teachings urge Muslims to donate to charity and do good works for the neediest around them.

For Harby, a kung fu teacher who came to the United States in 1995, there is no better place to celebrate Ramadan than New York.

“Believe it or not, I love Ramadan in New York City more than Egypt,” he said. “Back home, I would be so much with my friends and family, being invited here and there, and not focusing on worship and things like that. Here it is easy to focus on prayer and helping people.”