In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
In addition to the obligatory charity of zakat, Muslims are encouraged to voluntarily share their time, wealth, knowledge and acts of kindness with others.
Charity in Islam is usually divided into two categories: obligatory charity (zakat), and voluntary charity (sadaqa).
While zakat is a mandatory annual alms tax determined by the value of one's wealth, sadaqa is superogatory
DEFINITION OF SADQA:
Sadaqa is an Arabic word meaning "righteousness" which is derived from the word "to be truthful." Among Muslims, sadaqa is understood to be a righteous, voluntary act of charity
While this includes almsgiving and donations to the needy, sadaqa also encompasses any act of kindness done to earn Allah's (God's) pleasure. In this sense, even those without material wealth are able to give charity and earn its reward.
Examples of sadaqa include:
•Donations in kind
•Feeding the poor
•Supporting orphans and widows
•Spending on family expenses
•Providing assistance to somebody
•Saying a cheerful word or smiling
•Advising or counseling
•Volunteering in the community
The importance of charity is mentioned many times in the Qur'an. One such verse is:"Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarers. Do not squander your wealth wastefully; for those who squander wastefully are Satan's brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord."
Other verses in the Qur'an are more stern, and warn of a punishment if Muslims don't share their wealth: "Allah does not love the ones who are stingy, exhort the people to be stingy, and conceal what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounties. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution. They give money to charity only to show off, while disbelieving in Allah and the Last Day. If one's companion is the devil, that is the worst companion. Why do they not believe in Allah and the Last Day, and give from Allah's provisions to them? Allah is fully aware of them."
Sadaqa and Charity in Hadith:
Numerous hadith show that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) exhorted Muslims to give charity and help the less fortunate. He taught that even small acts of kindness and money spent on one's family were charitable acts: "There is a sadaqa (charity) due on every Muslim; if he cannot give because he has no money, let him work then he can support himself and give charity; if he is unable to work, then let him help someone in need of his help; if he does not do that, let him adjoin good; if he does not do that, then he should not do evil or harm others: it will be written for him as a sadaqa."
(Ahmad, Bukhari and Muslim)
Rewards for Giving Charity:
Giving sadaqa will not diminish a Muslim's wealth. It serves as expiation for sins and yields rewards in the next life. Allah says: "For those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward."
And, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "To give something to a poor man brings one reward, while giving the same to a needy relation brings two: one for charity and the other for respecting the family ties."
(Ahmad and Tirmidhi)
Conditions of Sadaqa:
Sadaqa should be made with the pure intention of seeking reward from Allah, and it should be given from what one loves and values rather than what one wishes to discard.
While discretion is often desirable when making sadaqa, a public act of charity sometimes encourages others to give generously as well. However, Muslims should not boast of charitable acts or belittle the recipients.
Lasting Charity in Islam:
Some charity is considered to be a lasting sadaqa, meaning it continues to benefit others and earn rewards after a donor's death. Writing an Islamic book, building a school or mosque, and planting an orchard to yield food for the poor are examples of lasting sadaqa.
Sadaqa, lasting or more immediate, is an act of worship which should become part of a Muslim's daily life. Such charity benefits not only the recipient, but also the one who gives it.
SYED MUHAMMAD FASIH SALEEM