Exploring the Giving Practices in American Mosques: Why Do Muslims Give So Little to Their Mosques?
This paper explores the giving practices of Muslims in American mosques, based on two studies: the previously published “The American Mosque 2011” study which consisted of 524 interviews of mosque leaders; and the second study is the previously unpublished 2013 study of three mosques and the 2016 follow-up interviews with donors from the three mosques. The results show that mosque attendees give much less than their counterparts in churches. Giving rates were generated in three different way: dividing a congregation’s income by the number of people who attend the main congregational service; using self-reports of money donated to a congregation; and determining a giving rate by calculating the amount donated as a percentage of the donor’s income. Using the first method of looking at the budget and number of attendees, mosque attendees give a median figure of $405 per year and the median figure of giving in the FACT 2000 study of all religious congregations is $1429. Using the second method of looking to self-reports of giving, the highest giving rate of the three mosques is $671 and the lowest giving rate in Hoge’s study of giving (Money Matters) is the Catholics who reported giving $1032 per year. Using the third method, Christians give an average of 2.3% of their income to churches, while mosque attendees give 0.7% of their income. While the income level of mosque attendees is associated with higher levels of giving, higher rates of mosque attendance is not associated with higher rates of giving, which means that Muslims who are motivated to attend the mosque are not motivated to give. Interviews with donors in the three mosques seem to indicate that the one of the underlying factors for the low rate of giving is that they do not have a clear theology for giving to the mosque, and a culture of giving to mosques does not exist among immigrant Muslims.
Bagby, I. (2012b). The American mosque 2011 report 2 from the US mosque study 2011: Activities, administration and vitality. Plainfield, IN: Islamic Society of North America.
Bagby, I. (2013). National needs assessment of mosques associated with ISNA & NAIT. Plainfield, IN: Islamic Society of North America.
Basheer, M. (2016). A new estimate of the U.S. Muslim population. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/06/a-new-estimate-of-the-u-s-muslim-population
FACT (Faith Communities Today). (2010). 2010 national survey of congregations. Retrieved from http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/default/files/2010FrequenciesV1.pdf
Hoffmann, J. P., Lott, B. R., & Jeppsen, C. (2010). Religious giving and the boundedness of rationality. Sociology of Religion, 71(3), 323–348.
Hoge, D. R., Zech, C., McNamara, P., & Donahue, M. J. (1996). Money matters: Personal giving in American churches. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Cox Press.
Lindner, Edith W. (Ed.) (2012). Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Edited by Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Pew Research Center. (2011). Muslim Americans: No signs of growth in alienation or support for extremism. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
Ronsvalle, J. & Ronsvalle, S. (2013). The state of church giving through 2011. Champaign, IL: Empty Tomb, Inc.
Smith, C., Emerson, M. O., & Patricia Snell. (2008). Passing the plate: Why American Christians don’t give away more money. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Wind, J.P. & Lewis, J.W. (1994). Introduction. In J.P. Wind & J.W. Lewis (Eds.), American Congregations Vol. 1. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright to works published in Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society is retained by the author(s). Articles published in this journal are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process.