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COSARAF funding


We are delighted to invite applications for The Sheikh Family Scholarship 2023/24. The scholarship is available solely from the generous donation from COSARAF Foundation ( This invitation is open only to Muslim home students only applying to the MA in 'Islamic Education: Theory and Practice' programme in Education Studies who are facing financial hardship. (The definition of financial hardship is set out in the COSARAF Zakat Distribution Policy (see Annex 1 below). Preference will be given to those candidates who are first-generation university students and for whom the scholarship will make the most difference.

For 2023/24, the invitation for applicants extends to:

  • Students who have successfully completed the Postgraduate Award in Islamic Education and have been accepted onto the MA Islamic Education: Theory and Practice.
  • Applicants to the Postgraduate Award in Islamic Education who demonstrate commitment and competence to progress on to the MA in Islamic Education: Theory and Practice.

Applicants must provide a personal statement explaining what significant difference/ impact/benefits the funding will make to you. As the scholarship is to be used wholly to cover the cost of tuition fees as well as stipend, applicants should explain how the award will help you with your studies and explain why you could not study without the scholarship.

The Sheikh Family Scholar will be awarded a £10,000 contribution towards tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of their studies. The award will be in instalments. They may also avail of the following supports offered by the COSARAF Foundation:

  • Access to a personal mentor
  • A Summer (paid) internship in a leading charity
  • Access to a tailored leadership support programme

Successful candidates will be required by the COSARAF Foundation to show a clear commitment to giving back to society and their communities. The Sheikh Family Scholar will be expected to:

  • Contribute to an alumni programme for Sheikh Family Scholars
  • Commit to the mentoring and leadership support offered by the COSARAF Foundation
  • Demonstrate ongoing commitment to social causes relevant to the Foundation’s priorities, preferably in a COSARAF Foundation-funded project/organisation
  • Champion the programme externally to potential future beneficiaries and more generally
  • prepare a short written report for the COSARAF Foundation which may be used on their website.

The deadline for all applications is 12 Noon (BST) on 4 September 2023. Late applications will not be considered.

The shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview.

The successful applicant will be informed of the outcome as soon as possible after the interviews have taken place.

This form is closed and is no longer accepting any submissions.

Thank you for your time.

Annex 1 (copied from:

COSARAF Zakat Distribution Policy

This document is intended to be the Policy Document to provide a framework for future Zakat distribution.

In the Name of Allah—the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

Whatever you lend out in usury to gain value through other people’s wealth will not increase with God, but whatever you give in charity, in your desire for God’s pleasure, will earn a manifold increase. (Qur’an 30:39)

This has been compiled following discussions with the Trustees and Mufti Faraz Adam of the National Zakat Foundation. It should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Categories of Zakat

The following verse outlines the recipients:

“Ṣadaqah (Zakat) is for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakaat] 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] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Quran 9:60)
The above verse singles out eight types of people deemed eligible to receive Zakat.

They have been identified as:
• Al-Fuqara’ (The poor)
• Al-Masakin (The needy)
• Al-Amilina Alayha (Administrators of Zakat)
• Al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum (Reconciliation of Hearts)
• Fir-Riqab (those in Bondage)
• Al-Gharimin (Those in Debt)
• Fī-Sabilillah (In the Cause of Allah)
• Ibn al-Sabil (The Wayfarer)

Al-Fuqara’ (The Poor) and al-Masakin (The Needy)

All the scholars agree that al-Fuqara’ and al-Masakin are those who do not own sufficient wealth. However, they differ on the poverty line and the difference between two categories:
• The poverty line. The Hanafi school have used the Zakat Nisab as the poverty line to distinguish between the poor and wealthy. A person who owns wealth which is less than the Nisab, is considered poor. The Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali consider sufficiency as the distinguishing factor. Whoever does not own sufficient money to meet their basic living costs for himself and his dependents is poor.

The scholars have debated over the technical difference between these two categories. One opinion suggests that a person who has absolutely nothing in terms of wealth and assets is from the al-Masakin. Whereas, a person who has some wealth but less than sufficiency or less than Nisab is from the al-Fuqara’. The Foundation can assist eligible needy people in different countries.

Al-Amilina Alayha (Administrators of Zakat)

Zakat administrators refers to those who collect and distribute Zakat. An organisation which provides aid a group of needy people, collects and distributes Zakat to them, can take a percentage of the Zakat to cover the salaries of the Muslim workers. The Shafi’i school limits this to 12.5% of the collected Zakat funds.

In terms of who and what can be paid from this category, the scholars state that a Muslim administrator can receive his salary from the Zakat funds.

Al-Mu’allafah Qulubuhum: Reconciliation of Hearts

Zakat was used as an incentive, a means of da’wah and to bring people closer to Islam and Muslims. The scholars have mentioned the following types of people who were given Zakat to soften their hearts and to draw them closer to Islam and the Muslims:
• Those who were inclined to accepting Islam
• Those who were enemies of Islam from whom harm was perceived
• Those who had just embraced Islam

Contemporary scholars state that the use of this category should be restricted to those in an Islamic government or a position of authority. Shaykh al-Qardawi mentions that a Zakat payer can only pay to ‘mu’allafah al-Qulub’ when no other category is available and within reach.

The category of mu’allafah al-Qulub is the only category within which there is scope to give Zakat to a non-Muslim. However, this category is often disputed and there is very little research done on the contemporary application of this category. Therefore, a charity should avoid this category for the time being.

Fir-Riqab: For those in bondage

Zakat can be used to free Muslims in slavery, captivity or bondage. The following fall under this category:

• Slaves whose freedom was conditional on a payment. The slaves were required to buy themselves out of slavery by paying their master an agreed amount. Zakat was used to assist such Muslim slaves to pay off the debt owed to the master.
• Normal slaves. Some scholars permitted the purchasing of normal slaves outright from Zakat funds.
• A Muslim prisoner. The Hanbali school have expressly permitted the paying of Zakat to help free Muslim inmates and captives.

Al-Gharimin: Those in Debt

Zakat may be given to those in debt. The Hanafi school permit the payment of Zakat to any person whose liabilities exceed his Zakatable and surplus assets. Such a person is in debt. It is not necessary to give the Zakat in his hand. Zakat can be given to the creditor on behalf of the debtor with the latter’s acknowledgement.

Fi-Sabilillah: In the Cause of Allah

Although all scholars agree that this refers Muslims serving in the army who are in need, some scholars have held broader understandings of this term. Contemporary scholars have included activists and those who counter anti-Islam narrative. Scholars who are engaged in spreading Islam and doing da’wah work are also considered to fall under this category.

Ibn as-Sabil: The Wayfarer
A wayfarer refers to a person who does not have access to his funds despite being wealthy.

Distribution rules
• Zakat should be distributed within one year of collection. The Zakat account should be cleared annually.
• Zakat does not necessarily have to be paid in cash. Zakat can be distributed in kind as long as the value covers the Zakat liability.
• The Zakat payment should be unconditional
• A service cannot be stipulated in lieu of a Zakat payment

Eligible recipients
Zakat recipients and beneficiaries have different challenges depending on their geographical location. Therefore, it is advisable to use the different Islamic criteria we have to assess beneficiaries:

Overseas criteria
• Any Muslim in a warzone and crisis who apparently seems needy can be assisted with Zakat.
• Any Muslim in a poor country who seems to be poor with net wealth below the silver Nisab (poverty line) which is approx £250 at present.

Local criteria
• Homeless Muslims can be given Zakat based on their apparent condition.
• Any Muslim who is struggling to meet his basic costs and living expenses can be assisted with Zakat. Zakat can be given to help him cover his costs.
• A Muslim in debt whose annual debt amount exceeds his current net wealth can receive Zakat.

Where Zakat cannot be spent
• A wealthy person
• A non-Muslim
• Running expenses and overheads of mosques, schools etc.
• Construction costs
• The family of the Prophet (anyone who claims to be from the noble family of the prophet should not be given Zakat, they should be helped through Sadaqah)
• One’s lineal ascendants and descendants
• One’s spouse

Personal assets such as one’s house, car, clothes, household appliances, technological devices are not taken into consideration when assessing a beneficiary. The recipient may own a house and a car, yet he may still receive Zakat.

The individual’s net wealth is taken into consideration.

Before any Zakat donation is made, the Foundation staff team will undertake an assessment for trustees’ consideration as to whether the payment in in line with this policy.

If there is uncertainty on the part of the Foundation staff as to whether a donation would be in line with this Policy, the matter will be referred to Mufti Faraz Adam for his advice.

The trustees will satisfy themselves that all proposed donations are in line with this Policy – as well as in line with the Foundation’s Charitable Objects – taking into account the advice of the staff team and, where applicable, Mufti Faraz Adam.