What is Sadaqah?
Sadaqah (charity) is the concept of giving charity voluntarily fi sabillilah فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّٰهِ (for the cause of Allah).
Even a smile is Charity
Sadaqah also describes a voluntary charitable act towards another being, whether through generosity, love, compassion or faith. These acts are not necessarily physical or monetary. Simple good deeds such as a smile, or a helping hand, are seen as acts of Sadaqah.
Zakat and Sadaqah
While Zakat is an obligatory charity due from every Muslim on a yearly basis, Sadaqah is an entirely voluntary charity which can be performed at any time of year, and any amount can be given.
Unlike Zakat, which has a number of stipulations regarding the type of assistance it can provide, Sadaqah can be used for any project or programme which is of benefit to people.
A number of sayings of the Prophet (SAW) emphasise the benefits of giving Sadaqah.
“Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” [Tirmidhi]
“The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” [Tirmidhi]
An important concept within Islam is the idea of Sadaqah Jariyah – an ‘ongoing charity’.
The Prophet (SAW) said:
“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” [Muslim]
Therefore, many Muslims are eager to give charity which will continue to have benefit to people after their death, and continue to earn them reward.