Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the difference between ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ) and other social justice organizations?

ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ) focuses on bringing the Islamic perspective to problems in society. We are convinced that Allah has sent us a religion which is perfect with guidelines that lead to happiness and peace in this world and the next. Therefore, we focus on solutions which are compatible with Islamic guidelines.

What is the difference between ICNA CSJ and other Muslim civil rights organizations?

Many Muslim organizations focus exclusively on issues related to civil rights of Muslims and they are doing an outstanding job. CSJ, however, is an advocacy organization that focuses on a range of issues related to social justice, such as, poverty, racism, raising the minimum wage, climate change, economic inequality, etc.

What does CSJ focus on?

CSJ focuses on structural racism, indigenous rights, unjust immigration policies, islamophobia, inequality/hunger/poverty, and declining family institutions. Our mission is to fight for rights of the poor and oppressed in the U.S.

How do I get involved?

You can get involved by filling out our volunteer form. Someone will contact you as soon as possible to follow up and gather more details about your interests and how you would like to help. We can assign you particular projects or you can also suggest some projects to take lead on as long as they align with our focus areas and mission. We’re very open!

How can ICNA chapters get involved?

We advise ICNA chapters to assign one particular person or team for exclusively CSJ related tasks. Then they should contact us to set up a webinar with the assigned person and/or team.

Does ICNA CSJ provide legal services?

CSJ does not provide direct legal services. However, we do provide resources to get in touch with pro bono lawyers that provide free legal services. Please see our community resources page for more information.

Is my donation to  ICNA CSJ tax deductible?

When donating with a check, please make checks payable to ICNA Foundation for Social Justice (FSJ) and your donation will be tax deductible (Tax ID: 80-0508709). ICNA FSJ is a registered 501c3 with the IRS. You can also donate online to ICNA FSJ.

What other partner organizations work with CSJ?

ICNA CSJ is proud to work with many social justice organizations both Muslim and non-Muslim. Please see our partners page for more details.

Does ICNA CSJ have teams in other cities in the USA?

CSJ currently has representatives in Chicago, Dallas, and Southern California (Orange County) but not chapters. We are working with ICNA chapters to form social Justice teams in chapters who will focus on state wide structures.

Can I do an internship with ICNA CSJ?

Yes, we strongly encourage the youth to work with us as interns. Please contact us for more info.

Can I give zakkaah to ICNA CSJ?

This question has been asked by many people over the years whether ICNA or other such like organizations can be recipient of zakaah. There has been lots of discussion on this issue and stemming out of those discussions are several other issues that we should address. First of all, ICNA collects and distributes zakaah to the poor and needy. By consensus they can receive zakaah and distribute and pay for the process of doing so based on the verse:

“Zakaah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakaah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (At-Tawbah: 60)

As for the category of “for the cause of Allah (fee sabeelillah)”, while the initial opinion and more widespread among earlier jurists is that this meant preparing and helping those who struggle to defend Islam, today a much wider thought process is given to what it means, especially for Muslims living as minorities. Thus, many scholars have opined that every aspect that requires beneficial work to be done in the Muslim community is considered to be for the cause of Allah. Moreover, whatever it takes to fulfill such obligations are also considered as an obligation based on the usool (fundamentals of Fiqhi ruling): “Whatever is required to fulfill an obligation is itself an obligation”. Therefore, it is permissible to give zakaah to help ICNA in its programs. These are all the ways and means today to stand in defense of Islam and Muslims; the very purpose that fee sabeelillah achieves. – Answered by Sh. Abool Rahman Khan