According to scholars, the designation of a charity is that of an *agent* and hence is bound by a number of values, most notably Amānah (or fulfilling the trust). This refers specifically to discharging the trust of donations in respect to the donor as well as the beneficiaries it has been collected for, in a way acceptable to Allah.

There is a lot to this – knowing where the money has come from, accounting for it, spending according to the donor’s stipulation, not transgressing what is reasonable in terms of costs etc.

Ibn Taymiyyah (ra) mentions in his treatise on Islamic governance (al-siyāsa al-shar’iyyah) that appointment to public functions, of which charities would conceptually fall under, rests on two pillars: ‘Trustworthiness and Capability’.

Trustworthiness is relatively straightforward. Prophet Yusuf’s (as) request to oversee the storehouses of the land and his subsequent statement to the King of being ‘ḥafīdh’ (an intensive form of guarding/preserving) indicates just that – someone who guards that which is entrusted to him i.e. is trustworthy. Some Mufasirīn explained this as protecting something from those who do not deserve it.

As for capability, this is defined in accordance to the public function intended (والقُوَّةُ فِي كُلِّ وِلايَةٍ بِحَسَبِها). In the case of the charity sector, this could mean a number of things, but not restricted to; effective project management, strong financial acumen, sector expertise and of course knowledge of what is islamically permissible/impermissible (in particular as this agency involves the discharge of religious duties).

There are many stories about the Prophet (saws) and the Sahabah of their concern over how they discharge wealth under their supervision. In some narrations, it was worry over things like food stuffs, clothing etc. of which the value is quite negligible. We are now in a time however, where we can collect hundreds of *thousands* of pounds in a matter of days through crowdfunding, Ramadan campaigns etc.

It’s not easy and though charitable work is definitely rewarding for those involved, there is also a heavy duty to fulfil the amanah in the best possible way.