LONDON – Two months ago, a mosque in the UK decided to accept cryptocurrency donations – and it’s seen dramatic results… Masjid Ramadan in East London now has raised almost £14,000 in digital payments, Crypto News Review reported on July 16.
During the past holy Hijri month of Ramadan, between May 16 and June 14, the mosque in Shacklewell Lane, Hackney collected the equivalent of £13,983 in Bitcoin and Ethereum, while its cash donations reached a relatively paltry £3,460.
Islamic Shari’ah orders Muslims to donate, ‘Zakat’ or alms-giving, which is 2.5% of their wealth per year to charitable causes. It’s a compulsory gift made by adult Muslims who earn over a certain threshold.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam – alongside fasting Ramadan, Hajj pilgrimage, daily prayer and the belief in Allah as the One God and Muhammad as His Prophet.
Masjid Ramadan’s crypto-donations were made from across the globe and collected in partnership with London-based startup Combo Innovation, which calls itself an “Islamic compliant blockchain financial solution.”
After consultation with Combo Innovation and British religious advisors, the Hackney mosque ruled cryptocurrency is halal if it’s “transacted in a lawful manner,” likening the concerns to those raised when communities switched from gold to fiat currency. It added that it doesn’t always know the source of cash donations, but accepts them in good faith, too.
“Many people at the mosque were initially sceptical about us accepting this new money,” the mosque’s chairman, Erkin Guney, told inews.co.uk, “but the fact we received four times more in cryptocurrency donations shows how important it’s to be open to these new digital currencies.” Plus, regular donations, or Sadaqah, are still flooding in, he added.
The pair announced plans to accept digital donations in past May. Combo Innovation’s CEO Gurmit Singh said at the time: “It came to our attention were almost no Islamic charities whereby Muslims can pay Zakat made on their cryptocurrencies. Taking into account the surge in global crypto popularity and prices, we felt there are potentially millions of dollars of potential Zakat.”
Singh estimates that if Muslims were to hold just 1% of the world’s Bitcoins, based on current market caps, a staggering £26 million in Zakat contributions could be due.
The Shacklewell Lane mosque is managed by registered charity The UK Turkish Islamic Trust. Its donation page accepts payments via JustGiving and PayPal as well as its own Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets, via QR code.
The money will reportedly pay for essential mosque repairs and go towards helping poor members of the local Muslim community with food, housing, and funeral costs.