Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is a virtuous deed in Islam.   In fact, it is considered as a proof of one’s eeman (faith).  The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in the following authentic hadeeth:

Abu Malik al-Ashari (r.a.) (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.)  said:  “Cleanliness is half of faith.  Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth.  Prayer is a light. Charity is proof (of one’s faith).   Endurance is a brightness and the Qur‘an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.”  (Muslim, 432)

The more we give sadaqah  the more we increase our eeman and thus, expect Allah’s rewards both in this world and in the life hereafter.  Giving charity out of our wealth does not decrease our wealth but instead Allah (s.w.t.) increases it:

“Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: for He loves not creatures ungrateful and sinner.”  (Qur‘an, 2: 276)

“That which you give in usury for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with Allah: but that which you give for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase); it is those who will get a recompense multiplied.” (Qur‘an, 30:39)

Abu Hurairah (r.a.) reported Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) as saying: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).”  (Muslim Vol. 4, Hadith  6264)

Sadaqah is not restricted to giving part of our wealth or material possessions or any special deed of righteousness.  Islam considers all good deeds as sadaqah that increase our eeman:

Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)  said, “Every Muslim has to give in sadaqah (charity).” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.)! 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 Vol.  2, Hadith 524)

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: “To smile in the company of your brother is charity.  To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity.  To guide a person in a place where he can not get  astray is charity.  To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity.  To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity.  To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.” (Bukhari)

 To be able to enjoy Allah’s tremendous rewards for every sadaqah that we give, we need to observe the following teachings:

1. Sadaqah must be done sincerely for the pleasure of Allah and not out of riya‘  (show off) to gain praise or recognition from others:

 “O you who believe! Do not render vain your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men and he does not believe in Allah nor in the last Day.”  (Qur’an, 2: 264)    

 Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas narrated that Allah’s  Messenger (s.a.w.s.)  said, “...whatever you spend (for Allah’s  sake) you will be rewarded for it, even for a morsel of food which you may put in the mouth of your wife.”  (Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith 725; Vol. 1, Hadith 53)

2. It is better to conceal what we give or do as sadaqah:

 “And whatever you spend in charity or whatever vow you make, be sure Allah knows it all.  But the wrongdoers have no helpers.  If you disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if you conceal them and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you.  It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil.  And Allah is well acquainted with what you do.”  (Qur‘an, 2:270-271)
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) said,  “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His.  They are: 1. a just ruler, 2. a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, 3. a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, 4. two men who love each other for Allah’s sake,  meeting for that and parting for that. 5. a man who is called by  a woman of beauty and position but he says,  “I fear Allah”, 6. a man who gives in charity and hides it,  such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity, and 7. a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari (Eng. translation) vol. 2,  hadeeth no. 504)  

3. Sadaqah must be from halal (lawful) source:

  Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) 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 then, enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Bukhari, Vol. 2, Hadith 491)

4. Begin charity with your dependents:

 Hakim ibn Hizam narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)  said: “The upper hand is better than the lower hand, (i.e., he who gives charity is better than him who takes it).  One should start giving first to his dependents.  And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses.)  And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient.”   (Bukhari, Vol. 2, Hadith 508)

 Abu Umamah (r.a.) narrated that Allah’s Messenger  said: “O son of Adam, it is better for you if you spend your surplus (wealth), but if you withhold it, it is evil for you. There is (however) no reproach for you (if you withhold means necessary) for a living. And begin (charity) with your dependents; and the upper hand is better than the lower hand.” (Muslim, 2256)

5. Not to delay giving of sadaqah nor show lethargy or negligence in giving sadaqah:   

 And spend something (in charity) out  of the substance which We have bestowed on you, before death should come to any of you and he should say, “O my Rabb (only God and Sustainer)!  Why do you not give me respite for a little while?  I  should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the doers of good.”  (Qur’an, 63:10)
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)

 Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that a  man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked, “O Allah’s Messenger which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied, “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.’ (And it has already belonged to such and such (his heirs).” (Bukhari Vol.  2, Hadith 500)

 “Do not show lethargy or negligence in giving alms and charity till your last breath.”   (Bukhari and Muslim)

 6. Do not count the sadaqah you give:

“Spend in charity and do not keep count for then Allah will also keep count in giving you provision.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

7.  Seek only the desire to see Allah, which is the supreme success in Paradise. Do not expect favor or reward from any person for the sadaqah you give:

 “Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in their minds no favor from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, but only the desire to seek for the Countenance of their Creator Most High; and soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction.”  (Qur’an, 92:18-21)

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