Do zakat givers prefer to identify the beneficiaries by themselves and pay zakat to them? Or do they prefer to depend on intermediaries for fulfilling this important Shariah obligation? Given that some zakat givers use the services of intermediaries in varying degrees, what type of intermediaries are preferred over others? How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the sentiments of zakat professionals as they strived to optimize their zakat collection during the last ten days of Ramadan this year? These and similar questions must have crossed the minds of many observers of the zakat scene and stakeholders of the Islamic social finance sector.
From traditional methods to digital platforms, the Islamic social finance sector is witnessing a rapid increase in innovations and ideas to enhance zakat collection and distribution. In an attempt to find answers to these questions and strengthen the process of mainstreaming of the sector, we launched a pair of surveys in collaboration with the Jakarta-based World Zakat Forum. The surveys were conducted in four international languages covering a large section of Muslim societies across the globe during the second half of Ramadhan 1441H with a view to investigating the sentiments and preferences of zakat donors as well as that of zakat professionals who are handling the zakat funds.