Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is a virtuous deed in Islam. In fact, it is considered as proof of one’s iman (faith). The Prophet (pbuh) said in the following authentic hadith:
Abu Malik al-Ashari (ra) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) 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)
Understanding the Meaning of Sadaqah in Islam
Islam encourages its followers to adopt virtues such as compassion, love, unity, truthfulness, and unwavering faith in Allah. Sadaqah embodies these virtues, representing generosity, goodwill, and benevolence. A charitable act is a testament to a Muslim's deep-rooted iman (faith). Scholars have emphasised that giving Sadaqah is a path to attain Allah’s blessings and favour. Furthermore, it cultivates a sense of inner contentment and joy.
The Essence and Meaning of Sadaqah in English and Arabic
In Arabic, ‘sadaqah’ translates to ‘righteousness’. In Islam, it signifies a noble act or gesture performed without anticipating anything in return. While many perceive charity as financial assistance, Sadaqah extends beyond that. A heartfelt smile or assisting someone can also be acts of Sadaqah. It showcases genuine faith, hoping for Allah’s mercy on the Day of Judgment.
The Benefits and Impact of Sadaqah in a Muslim's Life
The beauty of Sadaqah lies in the intention behind it. This charitable act shields against hellfire and can bring blessings in this life. By following this righteous path, Allah safeguards His devout followers from calamities and ailments.
Sadaqah in Times of Illness
Sadaqah takes many forms. The most compassionate act for someone unwell is to make dua (prayers) for their recovery. Other forms of Sadaqah for healing include sacrificing animals, donating meat to the less fortunate, or providing financial aid for medical treatments.
The Distinction Between Sadaqah and Zakat in Islam
Both Zakat and Sadaqah symbolise charity. However, Zakat, one of Islam’s five pillars, is a mandatory annual contribution based on one's financial capacity. Conversely, Sadaqah is a voluntary gesture to seek Allah’s pleasure without any time constraints.To read more about Zakat, click here.
Various Types of Sadaqah as Mentioned in the Quran and Hadith
Islamic teachings identify various types of Sadaqah, including:
- Making Dua: Simply praying for someone's well-being is charitable.
- Disseminating Knowledge: Imparting education to the less fortunate is noble.
- Offering Advice: Guiding the younger generation with wisdom.
- Smiling: A sincere smile can uplift someone’s spirit.
- Aiding Selflessly: Lending a helping hand without expecting any favours.
- Gifting Time: Spending quality moments with loved ones, especially parents.
- Nurturing Children (Tarbiyyah): Instilling them with moral values and ethics.
- Exercising Patience: Bearing hardships gracefully and putting faith in Allah.
- Being a Positive Influence: Guiding others towards righteousness.
- Avoiding Harmful Acts: Abstaining from acts that could harm others.
- Speaking Kindly: Engaging in polite and constructive conversations.
- Forgiving: Embracing forgiveness when approached with sincerity.
- Respecting All: Valuing both the young and the old.
- Rejoicing in Others' Happiness: Celebrating others’ joys without envy.
- Visiting the Ill: Providing them with comfort and solace.
- Ensuring Safety: Removing any hazards from pathways.
- Guidance: Directing someone towards the right path in life.
The Blessings of Sadaqah
Sadaqah enhances societal well-being and reinforces community bonds. It addresses the needs of the underprivileged, alleviates financial hardships, aids in healing, purifies one's heart from greed and malice, attracts prosperity, assures paradise, and brings one closer to Allah’s mercy.
Who is Eligible to Give and Receive Sadaqah?
Sadaqah has no specific criteria. Any Muslim with the means can offer it. Likewise, there's no fixed time or form for its donation. Those deserving Sadaqah include the homeless, needy neighbours, stranded travellers, and others in dire need.
Facts about Sadaqah
- Sadaqah is derived from ‘sidq’, meaning sincerity.
- Sadaqah appears thirteen times in the Quran.
- There are two primary categories of Sadaqah – Sadaqah Nafilah (voluntary) and Sadaqah Wajibah (obligatory).
Hadiths on Sadaqah
Several hadiths emphasise the importance of charity, including:
- “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.”
- “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be their charity.”
- “Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: for He loves not creatures ungrateful and sinner.”
- “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.”
- “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).”
Sadaqah Jariyah: The Ongoing Charity and its Lasting Benefits
Sadaqah Jariyah refers to acts of charity that have a lasting impact. It can be in the form of building water wells, building a Mosque, or planting trees. Such actions benefit the giver in this life and the hereafter. To read more about Sadaqah Jariya, click here.
Sadaqah holds immense significance in a Muslim’s life, promising blessings from Allah and aiding the needy. The act not only uplifts the community but also imparts a profound sense of inner peace to the giver.