Sadaqah in the light of Islam

Sadaqah in the light of Islam

What is Sadaqah?

Maintaining equality has always been emphasized in Islam. Sadaqah is a form of charity that maintains equality and brings ease to those who need it the most. Sadaqah is a shield that protects us from evil and harm not just in this world but in the afterlife. 

He (Peace be Upon Him) also said that Allah offers relief on the Day of Judgement for those who give Sadaqah: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be their charity,” (Hadith, Tirmidhi). Sadaqah is a charity where one spends voluntarily from his belongings and to please the Almighty.

Helping others is a fundamental part of Faith. Sadaqah is also a voluntary act whether out of generosity, love, faith or compassion.  In Arabic, the word ‘Sadaqah’ literally means ‘righteousness’ and stems from the root word ‘sidq’, which means sincerity; implying that Sadaqah is the sincerity of faith and a righteous behavior that leads to a healthy and balanced society.

Acts as little as a smile, or a helping hand, are seen as acts of Sadaqah(charity). The thought behind Sadaqah has always been a rotating means of basic needs between the underprivileged and the affluent. So, that it may maintain equality between the both.

Sadaqah in Islam

Sadaqah holds much importance in the light of Islam. It’s one of the basic teachings of Islam. Every act of righteousness done to benefit another is considered as Sadaqah.  It is noteworthy to highlight that charity is the only form of spending, where your wealth never reduces from giving to another.  To be eligible to give sadaqah, one does not have to be very wealthy but have the purest intentions to help his brothers in need.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Every Muslim has to give in Sadaqah (charity).” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him)! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” He replied, “Then he should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Bukhari)

Difference between Sadaqah and Zakat

The importance of Sadaqah and Zakat has been advocated many times through the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him).

Zakat is also one of the five pillars in Islam. In Islam Zakat is defined as the obligatory giving which is a duty upon every able Muslim. It is the 2.5 % of the annual collective amount of one’s wealth that every abled Muslim is bound to give. Zakat can be given to any one of the eight eligible groups:

  1. The poor (al-fuqarâ’), meaning low-income or indigent.
  2. The needy (al-masâkîn), meaning someone who is in difficulty. 3. Zakat administrators 4. Those whose hearts are to be reconciled, meaning new Muslims and friends of the Muslim community. 5. Those in bondage (slaves and captives). 6. The debt-ridden 7. In the cause of God. 8. The wayfarer, meaning those who are stranded or traveling with few resources.

Sadaqah on the other hand is a spiritual obligation upon every Muslim who is looking forward to pleasing Allah (SWT) to give of what He has bestowed upon us. Sadaqah has no fixed monetary amount or obligatory percentage of your wealth as compared to Zakat. Sadaqah can be as little as half a date.

It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari (1410), Narrated by Abu Huraira (May Allah Be Pleased With Him): Allah’s Apostle (Peace Be Upon Him) said. “ If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money– Allah takes it in His right (hand) and the enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much that it becomes as big as a mountain.” 

Who to give Sadaqah to and when?

The instructions on who to give Sadaqah are very clear; only those individuals who are genuinely poor and can barely make ends meet or those who can’t make ends meet at all. This includes people who are sick and can’t find employment, those who have been out of work too long and can’t sustain a full-time job, and those who are disabled. In short, it applies to those who can’t make a living themselves or are depending on the aid of others. Now the question that arises is when to give sadaqah? Sadaqah can be given any day and/or every day throughout the year. There is no obligation for a particular time to give sadaqah at.

Giving your wealth in the name of Allah SWT has a lot of benefits, it protects us from harm and uncertain tragedies. Therefore, we must give charity without any delay. Haritha ibn Wahb narrated that he heard the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saying, “O people! Give in charity as a time will come upon you when a person will wander about with his object of charity and will not find anybody to accept it, and anyone (who will be requested to take it) will say, “If you had brought it yesterday, I would have taken it, but today I am not in need of it.” (Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith 492)

Allah SWT and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) conveys Allah 

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) also said, as narrated in Al-Tirmidhi, that,  “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” 

Most common types of Sadaqah

Sadaqah can be used in many forms in our daily life. The most common types of charity are, to give money to help the less fortunate and be able to help the unprivileged both physically and mentally. But, it is not a condition that Sadaqah has to be of monetary value. It can be acts of kindness, and compassion as well but the best of Sadaqah is the one spent from your wealth.

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim – Book 13 – Hadith 4005. “ Best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person.”

Narrated Abu Huraira (May Allah be Pleased with Him ), The Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be Upon Him) said: “The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.”

 

Sadaqah al Fitr

Sadaqah and Sadaqah Al Fitr are very different from one another. Sadaqah, in general, is voluntarily given whereas Sadaqah Al Fitr is wajib, which means that it is a duty, it is (mandatory) to be given to your Muslim brothers/sisters by the end of Ramadan. Sadaqah Al Fitr also known as Fitrah or Fitranah is wajib on any Muslim who has at least enough amount of money and goods apart from his fundamental needs. Fitr is given to show gratitude towards the Almighty and to gain rewards.

Why Give Sadaqah?

A world of 7.84 billion humanly population (and increasing), out of which 736 million are living in extreme poverty. The basic theory behind Sadaqah is similar to that of Zakat, i.e, to maintain equality, and swivel money among the underprivileged and the abundant, and the welfare in society and provide for those who can’t provide for themselves. Sadaqah serves to purify one’s own wealth and helps to establish a flow of wealth in society. Muslims are bonded together by not only the good deeds of Sadaqah but also the economic stability that flows through society with the distribution of wealth. Hence, Muslims are instructed by Allah to try to give Sadaqah for His sake and spread generosity in society.

Conclusion

A world of 7.84 billion humanly population (and increasing), out of which 736 million are living in extreme poverty. Islam promotes equality and helps others in need in any form. Sadaqah is one of the forms that provide relief to many of those who are deprived of their basic needs and rights such as access to food, medication, healthcare, and shelter. Giving Sadaqah(charity) gives one a sense of contentment and strengthens one’s Iman (faith). Sadaqah is a form of voluntary charity that not only benefits one in this worldly life but also after one is no longer a part of this world. Allah SWT promises in the Qur’an to reward one with many blessings in this world and shelter on the day of resurrection.

“Those who (in charity) spend their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord.”

(Qur’an, 2:274)

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