Charity plays a key role in the everyday lives of Muslims everywhere. In Islam, several types of charities are defined, the most important of which are Zakat (obligatory charity, one of the Five Pillars of Islam), Waqf (endowment) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity).
Definition of Sadaqah
Originally derived from the Arabic word Sidq (sincerity or truth), Sadaqah is a voluntary act of charity, fi sabillilah (for the cause of Allah s.w.t.). Sadaqah covers any act of charitable giving done out of kindness, love, friendship or generosity. It can be given to anyone: family, friends, the poor, the homeless and others who are in a state of need. It has no limits or rules. A person also does not have to be rich to give Sadaqah.
Types of Sadaqah
Sadaqah comes in various forms, despite the misconception that Sadaqah has to be given in the form of money only. In truth, a person can give Sadaqah by praying (making dua) for someone, spreading knowledge to those who cannot afford it, giving advice, visiting the sick and even smiling at people.
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every good deed is charity. Verily, it is a good deed to meet your brother with a cheerful face, and to pour what is left from your bucket into the vessel of your brother.”Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1970
Benefits of Sadaqah
Some people give Sadaqah as an investment for the hereafter. In the Holy Quran, the rewards of giving Sadaqah is stated as follows: “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah s.w.t is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
Other benefits of giving Sadaqah is getting protection from tragedies, protection on the Day of Judgment, and helping family and people in need. Moreover, when a person begins to give Sadaqah to the poor and needy, he or she is lending helping hand to fulfil their needs and ultimately helps establish social equality.
Sadaqah is the necessary constituent of a believer’s faith through which a Muslim seeks the Pleasure of Allah (s.w.t) by donating money to those in need as well as volunteering time in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Sadaqah is not restricted to a particular person; instead, it is required for every believer to perform this type of charity because it includes all kinds of good acts.
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 [Quran, 2: 261]