Nazley Khan is committed to a variety of social causes, from supporting refugees caught up in conflict, to helping free women from financial abuse. In this interview, the commercial lawyer and Principal Solicitor of Blackstone Legal in Sydney explains why her faith is central to her philanthropy. 

How did you first become involved in charitable giving?

I’ve been supporting charitable causes since an early age by donating to various organisations, both here locally and overseas, and through private donations as well. I’m from a Pakistani background, so one of the earliest donations I made was to a hospital built by the former Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, to provide free treatment for those in need, particularly cancer patients.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

My giving is rooted in my Islamic faith. One of the most important fundamentals of our faith is that we are supposed to serve and help others. There’s always different ways and opportunities to contribute and it’s always been very important within my own family to help people and support causes.

It’s not only about money, but about providing your time and skills as well. I’m a lawyer by profession, so I’ve always asked myself, ‘How can I help people with the skills I’ve been granted and that I’m grateful for?’ I’ve undertaken pro bono and voluntary work with community legal centres and free legal clinics. I also try to assist with pro bono cases for select clients.

Nazley Khan

Nazley Khan. © Supplied

It's not only about money, but about providing your time and skills as well... so I've always asked myself, 'How can I help people with the skills I've been granted and that I'm grateful for?'

How did you become involved with Australia for UNHCR?

The refugee issue is such an important one. I became more involved with UNHCR through Peter Gould, Australia for UNHCR’s Islamic Philanthropy Ambassador. I know and admire Peter, so his passion really inspired me. The projects that UNHCR supports have really caught my attention as well. Every humanitarian crisis is important. Afghanistan was very concerning. There’s also a crisis in Yemen and the Rohingya emergency is ongoing. It’s important that we don’t forget.

How would you encourage other Australians to support the refugee cause?

As Australians, we can donate to the causes we care about, but we can also raise awareness among our family, friends and community about what is happening and how we can help. I think most people want to help, but aren’t sure how.
We should always try to think of ways to help people. There’s a saying in our faith by the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him): ‘Even smiling is a form of charity.’ We can all do small acts that can be a form of charity.

We’re currently in the Holy Month of Ramadan, which is when many Muslims will be giving their Zakat. Can you explain why that’s important?

Zakat is a pillar of Islamic faith. It’s an obligatory payment that comes out of your income that goes to people in need as a form of social welfare. This is an obligation incumbent upon every Muslim with sufficient means. With Zakat, 100 per cent of funds need to go to those in need, rather than getting caught up in administrative expenses. It’s important for us to look at where that money is going so it serves its intended purpose and we fulfil our obligation properly.

Donate to Australia for UNHCR’s Zakat fund to provide life-saving assistance for refugees forced to flee their homes.

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