The role of zakat in the provision of social protection: a comparison between Jordan, Palestine and Sudan

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and considered a religious duty for wealthy people to help those in need through financial or in-kind contributions. In Muslim-majority countries, it has a long tradition of being part of the provision of social welfare. Countries vary significantly in the institutionalisation of zakat, ranging from obligatory to voluntary contributions. In some countries, the State supervises the collection and management of funds. The purpose of this article is to discuss the different modalities of zakat in Jordan, Sudan and Palestine, comparing them in terms of organisational nature, legal status and the services they offer. It also analyses how the Zakat Funds are placed within the broader social protection system in the country.