During the second half of the twentieth century the contribution of Muslim NGOs in providing basic social welfare became a significant feature in Ghana. However, none of the Muslim NGOs are able to finance their projects themselves but rely on foreign financial assistance. On the other hand, Ghanaian Muslim scholars have argued for the need to develop zakāt, the locally collected obligatory alms, into a fully-fledged welfare system. At the moment, this is not the case. On the other hand, there exists a local tradition of mutual support and tributary relations in Ghana, which is at least by some Muslims identified as being as efficient in providing social welfare. This article discusses the link between communal support and the provision of social welfare through Muslim NGOs and especially zak t in today's Northern Ghana.