Prophetic Principles of Islamic Interaction

Lesson Two: The Concept of Sadaqa

green wheat
“The metaphor of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is that of a grain which produces seven ears; in every ear there are a hundred grains. Allah gives such multiplied increase to whomever He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.” {Surah Al-Baqara:261}


The process of Islamicizing our perceptions is vital for us to act properly and in accordance with our deen. It is known that the Islamic view of giving is wide and all inclusive.

[blockquote author=”Surah Yasin:47″]

Give of that which Allah has granted you
أَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللهُ


Every gift you have been blessed with you must spend of or use for the benefit of others: your health, your time, your wealth, your talents, your status, etc…

Sadaqa is what you give for the sake of God to the needy. In Islam it is a very wide concept that includes so much more than money, yet money is what I wish to draw attention to here; for as women we tend to exclude ourselves of the necessity to spend money in the way of God. We use the pretext that we ‘do not have any’ or that ‘all we make is barely enough to supplement the family’s income’ or actually is the main income. Yet were we to know more about this act of worship, we would not be so quick to exempt ourselves from monetary giving. Below is a quick run-down of information on sadaqa -in general and for us to think “monetary” sadaqa specifically.


1. The necessity of charity:
The difference between sadaqa and zakat, in most people’s minds, is that one is voluntary and the second is fard. But it is not that simple. Yes, zakat is much more specific and has requirements to be fulfilled, but sadaqa is no less mandatory although its frequency and flexibility turn it into a personality trait and an inclination, more than something that you calculate at the end of each year. Giving is mandatory in Islam.


We are asked to give of that which God has given us:

[blockquote author=”Surah al-Baqara: 254″]

O you who believe, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers – they are the wrongdoers.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواأَنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُممِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَالْكَافِرُونَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ


We are asked to give of all we have been put in charge of:

[blockquote author=”Surah al-Hadeed: Aya 7″]

Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend out of that in which He has made you successors.
آمِنُوا بِاللهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَأَنفِقُوا مِمَّا جَعَلَكُم مُّسْتَخْلَفِينَ فِيهِ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَأَنفَقُوا لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ


We are asked to give often and plentifully:
The Messenger peace and blessing be upon him explained that sadaqa should be a daily act and that the minimum number of daily sadaqas (no matter how small or natural) should be equivalent to the number of a person’s joints – 360!  (There is a narration that two rakas of the duha prayer will equal that.)

[blockquote author=”Prophetic Hadith”]

There are 360 joints and each of them owes sadaqa every single day. Every good word is sadaqa. A man’s helping his brother is sadaqa. A drink of water which he gives is sadaqa. Removing something harmful from the road is sadaqa.
فِي ابْنِ آدَمَ ثَلاثُ مِائَةٍ وَسِتُّونَ سُلامَى، أَوْ أَعْظُمٍ، أَوْ مَفْصِلٍ، عَلَى كُلِّ كَلِمَةٌ طَيِّبَةٌ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِهَا الرَّجُلُ صَدَقَةٌ، وَعَوْنُ الرَّجُلِ أَخَاهُ عَلَى الشَيْءِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَشَرْبَةُ الْمَاءِ يَسْقِيهَا صَدَقَةٌ، وَإِمَاطَةُ الأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ صَدَقَةٌ‏


We are asked to give even when have barely enough for ourselves:

[blockquote author=”Prophetic Hadith”]

Ibn Abbas says that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Protect your selves from fire even if with half a date.”
اتَّقُوا النَّارَ وَلَوْ بِشِقِّ تَمْرَةٍ



2. What to give:
We are asked to give away any surplus:
It is narrated that once the Prophet and his companions came upon a needy man, the Messenger peace and blessing be upon him urged them to give the man anything extra they had until the narrator said, ‘we felt like we had no right to have any surplus of anything!’
وعن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه ، قال بينما نحن في سفر مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا جاءه رجل على راحلة فجعل يضرب يمينا وشمالا، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من كان معه فضل ظهر فليعد به على من لا ظهر له ومن كان له فضل زاد فليعد به على من لا زاد له قال فذكر من أصناف المال حتى رأينا أنه لا حق لأحد منا في فضل {رواه مسلم}


We are asked to give that which we are attached to:

[blockquote author=”Surah Ali-Imran:92″]

You will never attain righteousness until you give of that which you love.
لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ



3. Its nature:
The sadaqa you give away has properties that render it vastly different from that which it was taken from on the one hand and from an identical sum spent otherwise on the other.


Firstly, it does not decrease your wealth.
Prophet Muhammad very clearly says, “Charity does not reduce money.” (Sahih Muslim)
…ما نقص مال عبد من صدقة…
It is reported that al-Sayidah Aisha received a goat and so she gave it all away in charity leaving only the shoulder piece as it was the Messenger’s favorite, peace and blessing be upon him. When he asked her about it she replied, “It is all gone and only the shoulder is left.” To which he answered, “Not so, O Aisha, rather say it has all remained and nothing will be gone but the shoulder.” What we give to the needy is what we have truly kept (as reward) and what we consume is what will go missing.


Secondly, sadaqa cannot be taken at face value. It is not what it seems to be.
Prophet Muhammad said, “It may be that a dirham will outweigh a hundred thousand dirhams.”           سبق درهم مائة ألف درهم


He explained this to the sahaba by telling them the person who gave away a dirham had only two dirhams total; and the person who gave a hundred thousand gave it of much wealth.
What is the percentage of what you give to what you have?


4. Its benefits and effectiveness:
We resort to it in times of hardship and dire need:
We are encouraged to give sadaqa to fulfill the need for forgiveness from a certain sin, the need for cure of a serious stubborn illness and the need for a fervent prayer to be answered.
As for its effectiveness in erasing sin, Prophet Muhammad (s) says, “The secret sadaqa douses the wrath of God.”          وصدقة السر تطفئ غضب الرب        
Yet another Hadith points it out as a cause for cure. “Seek cure for your ill persons with charity.”         داووا مرضاكم بالصدقة


We resort to it as a safeguard from calamity:
The Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said:


Good deeds protect you from trials.
صنائع المعروف تقي مصارع السوء


And Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him urges us to:


“Make haste with your sadaqa for calamity will not cross it.”
باكِروا بالصدقة فإن البلاء لا يتخطّاها


This may mean hasten in general or it may refer to the early sadaqa which some call the sadaqa of fajr which takes place after the morning call to prayer and before sunrise.


We plan for continuous reward by doing a certain type of sadaqa:
When one dies his deeds are cut off but from three sources, an on-going/enduring sadaqa continues to run up good deeds for him.

[blockquote author=”Prophetic Hadith”]

When the child of Adam dies his deeds stop but from three sources: an ongoing charity, knowledge that benefits and an upright offspring who prays for him.

إذا مات ابن آدم انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاث: صدقة جارية، أو علم ينتفع به، أو ولد صالح يدعو له


Such is its effectiveness in ongoing reward.


Its reward is great and varied:

[blockquote author=”Surah Al-Baqara:261″]

The metaphor of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is that of a grain which produces seven ears; in every ear there are a hundred grains. Allah gives such multiplied increase to whomever He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.

مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَاللهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ



[blockquote author=”Prophetic Hadith”]

Never did a servant give charity from a pure and hard earned source, and Allah only accepts the pure, except that Allah takes it in His Right Hand; and if it is as small as a date, it is nurtured in the Hand of Allah, Most Blessed, until it is greater than a mountain; and He raises it for you as you raise a foal or young weaned camel.
‏مَا تَصَدَّقَ أَحَدٌ بِصَدَقَةٍ مِنْ طَيِّبٍ وَلَا يَقْبَلُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا الطَّيِّبَ إِلَّا أَخَذَهَا الرَّحْمَنُ بِيَمِينِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ تَمْرَةً ‏ ‏فَتَرْبُو ‏ ‏فِي كَفِّ الرَّحْمَنِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى حَتَّى تَكُونَ أَعْظَمَ مِنْ الْجَبَلِ ‏ ‏وَيُرَبِّيهَا لَهُ كَمَا يُرَبِّي أَحَدُكُمْ ‏ ‏فُلُوَّهُ ‏ ‏أَوْ ‏ ‏فَصِيلَهُ ‏




5. Its etiquette:
It is best performed as a furtive act that one does in secret seeking the greater reward. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessing be upon him lists among the seven categories of people that are shaded in the shade of God the Almighty on the Day there is no shade but his shade, “a man who gave with his right hand what his left hand was unaware of.”
‏‏سَبْعَةٌ يُظِلُّهُمْ اللَّهُ فِي ظِلِّهِ يَوْمَ لَا ظِلَّ إِلَّا ظِلُّهُ…

…رَجُلٌ تَصَدَّقَ أَخْفَى حَتَّى لَا تَعْلَمَ شِمَالُهُ مَا تُنْفِقُ يَمِينُهُ…


It is given with one’s heart atremble in hope and fear for its acceptance.
Allah Most High describes those who give as pleases Him,

[blockquote author=”Surah Al-Mu’minoon:60″]

Those who give and their hearts are atremble that their return is to their Lord.
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ‏‏


Fatima al-Fihri was a Tunisian woman who had moved with her family to Morocco; she inherited great wealth from her father who had only two daughters. Although she had children, she did not let her anxiety for their future cloud her vision as a believer who feels responsible not only for her family but for the Ummah as well. She used her wealth to enlarge the mosque of Qarawiyeen and to turn it into a center of learning. During the two years it took to complete the building, she fasted daily, beseeching her Lord for acceptance. Such was her blessed anxiety.


It is given and forgotten.
Never must the receiver be reminded that we gave him nor must we harm him in any way. Allah warns us by saying:

[blockquote author=”Surah Al-Baqara:264″]

Annul not your deeds with reminding and harm.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ كَالَّذِي…



6. It is proof:
It is proof and reflection of our certainty of the hereafter; it is an indication of our confidence in what Allah holds for us in return. Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him simply states, “charity is proof.”        …الصدقة برهان…
As women, we are selfless by nature. Giving of our time and attention and effort comes easy so let us not fall short when it comes to money. The wife of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, al-Sayidah Zainab was known as the mother of the poor for all the sadaqa that she would regularly perform. Her source of money was baskets that she personally would weave and sell for that particular purpose. Whether you have abundant wealth that comes to you without effort or whether you struggle manually to creatively produce little – may you be of those who benefit from the many facets of the baraka of sadaqa.
May Allah grant us wealth, and may that wealth take space from our pockets not our hearts. May it be easy and pleasurable to give it in charity and may it fulfill all the requirements of acceptance – ameen.

[box title=”The Prophetic Principles of Islamic Interaction Series:” box style=”light” rounded=”true”]

The concept of restraint

The concept of sadaqa

The concept of formality (between men and women)

The concept of anonymity

The concept of making others happy

The concept of kindness and gentleness

The concept of itqan






One response to “Concept of Sadaqa”

  1. Amazing reminder! Jazakiallah khair Anse Sawsan

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