Ramadan 2023: Can UAE residents distribute food for Iftar? Ministry clarifies rules, Dh500,000 fine for violators

Emiratis and expatriates are urged to not follow unlicensed fundraising campaigns, whether through social media or SMS text messages, in markets, shops and workplaces

by

Sahim Salim

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Faithful at Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Photo: Shihab
Faithful at Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Photo: Shihab

Published: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 1:13 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Apr 2023, 8:23 PM

Emiratis and expatriates in the UAE race to do good deeds during the holy month of Ramadan. This is the month of generosity, and the UAE has in place a set of laws and rules that govern donations. The aim is to ensure that donors are protected from any form of exploitation and their contributions reach the beneficiaries.

The Ministry of Community Development has clarified the laws governing the process of collecting, receiving and making donations. Violators of the donations regulatory law face imprisonment and/or a Dh500,000 fine.


Hessa Abdul Rahman Tahlak, assistant undersecretary of Social Development at the ministry, highlighted the legal ways of donating:

  • In-kind or financial donations to licensed charities
  • Donate in boxes available in malls and public places
  • Prepare, purchase or distribute food to families in the neighbourhood
  • Distribute Iftar meals and dates to passers-by
  • Place water boxes in mosques.

None of the donations listed above violate the law “as long money and donations are not collected for illegal purposes”, Tahlak said.


What is not allowed?

Residents are not allowed to outsource restaurants to prepare Iftar meals. This is a “clear violation of the law as it is not possible to ensure” that the meals “reach the beneficiaries”.

“Such restaurants are not equipped to search for those in need or distribute … food and drinks. This makes donors vulnerable to fraud and exploitation. Therefore, the law prohibits such acts that fall within the framework of fundraising,” said Tahlak.

The official called on residents to be careful and not follow unlicensed fundraising campaigns, whether through social media or SMS text messages, in markets, shops and workplaces.

“The Federal Law No. (3) of 2021 concerning the donations regulatory law states that a normal person is prohibited from establishing or performing any act with the aim of collecting or accepting donations from the public by any means of collection except after obtaining a permit which specifies the mechanism and channels of collection.”

She said one of the most important objectives of the donations regulatory law is "to protect the funds of donors, and to deliver donations to those who are eligible".

“It is worth noting that the charitable associations and institutions licensed and approved by official authorities are authorised by law to collect and submit donations. The list of approved and licensed charitable associations and institutions can be viewed through the website of the Ministry of Community Development,” added Tahlak.

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