Faith-based Charitable Giving to the Middle East

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Many religious faiths around the world emphasize the value of charitable giving. Charity has been a central pillar of many religions for thousands of years, encouraging followers to give to those in need whenever possible. While the reasoning and origin may vary between religions, similarities for the basis of charitable giving can be seen across faiths. 

Though Anera is a non-political, non-religious organization, we recognize the importance of faith to many of our donors and beneficiaries alike. Donations, including faith-based donations, help us reach the most vulnerable communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan through our health, education, and economic development programs. 

Since religion is a central part of the identities of many of the people and communities we support, Anera has been educating on the religions of the world for decades. Since our founding in 1968, we have published newsletters and other communications to highlight the religious diversity of our donors and beneficiaries and cultivate an inclusive community of support.

Faith based charitable giving comes in many forms, with the three most widely known being zakat in Islam, tithing in Christianity and Judaism, and daana in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

1977 Anera Newsletter on Religion in the Middle East

What is zakat?

Anera newsletter, Summer 2002

Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a donation that Muslims regard as a mandatory act within their faith.

The aid should be given to the poor, travelers in need (such as refugees) and other specifically designated groups of people. Although it is difficult to find reliable figures on the size of zakat giving, there is no doubt that it is a major source of global charitable giving.

Because zakat is restricted to direct assistance to those in need, it cannot be used for infrastructure or administrative costs. This is why organizations like Anera have specific giving forms designated for zakat. Zakat aid must be used within one lunar year of when it was given.

Read more about zakat giving.

“Each week during Ramadan I choose a different charity and I chose Anera for a few reasons. Firstly, because I am a child of Palestinian refugees and will always be grateful for those that helped us at our time of need and want to give back and help others.”

– Bussima Mustafa, Anera Donor

What is Tithing?

Tithe in Hebrew translates to one-tenth, and is a commonality between Christianity and Judaism, requiring members to give one tenth of their annual income to their church or temple. This serves as a basis for other ways of charitable giving such as the stewardship of giving and tzedakah.


Stewardship is a word used in Christianity that describes the responsibility of followers to manage the gifts, such as time and resources, given by God. An aspect of stewardship is the stewardship of giving. Many Biblical teachings emphasize the importance of charity, and in managing their time, money, and other resources, Christians are encouraged to give when able.

Anera newsletter, January – March, 1985


Tzedakah is a Hebrew word used in Judaism meaning “righteousness,” and is most commonly used to describe charity. Rather than simply an act of goodwill, tzedakah is seen as a form of social justice. It is more than a financial transaction, as philanthropy in the spirit of Tzedakah is meant to cultivate relationships and community.

“Every time I make a donation to Anera I am reminding myself that concern for others is the highest expression of human love.”

– Hal Wingo, Anera Donor

What is Daana?

Anera newsletter, October-December, 1987

Daana is practiced in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The word means to give, and is the practice of cultivating generosity, often through charity and donations. It can take many forms, from giving to an individual in need or philanthropy that helps many. Daana is seen as a noble act and a central pillar of these religions, always given without the expectation of receiving anything in return. 

 “We all are called on to help those in need: the widow, the orphan, the poor, regardless of their circumstances.”

– Rick Zajac, Anera Donor

Honor your faith by giving to vulnerable populations in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan

From education and healthcare to community-building and infrastructure, our programs benefit those in need. Your charitable giving has the potential, no matter your faith, to make an impact on the lives of the refugees and vulnerable communities we support through our programs in the Middle East.



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