Sadaqah and Zakah: Differences and virtues
What is meant by Sadaqah and Zakah?
The word ‘Sadaqah’ means ‘donation’. In the technical sense, Sadaqah is a donation through which one expects reward from Allah. However, according to Islamic law, donations are generally of two types. First of all, one kind of donation is obligatory on a Muslim’s special property under certain conditions, from which it is obligatory to donate a certain portion. Such a donation is called Zakah. Secondly, a donation that Muslims have been encouraged to do, but not necessarily on anyone. Such a donation is called Sadaqah. However, in Shariah terminology, in many cases, it is customary to call the Zakah as Sadaqah.
Some differences between Sadaqah and Zakah
1) Islam has prescribed Zakah on certain things. These are gold, silver, food grains, business goods, and livestock such as camels, cows, goats, etc. But Sadaqah is not limited to anything special; People can give it through anything they can.
2) There are certain conditions for Zakah to become obligatory, Zakah becomes obligatory only if they exist. Such as Nisab amount of wealth exceeding one year (i.e. Nisab is the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to give Zakah). But there is no such condition in the case of Sadaqah, it is valid to give it at any time and in any amount.
3) Allah has specified some specific sector for Zakah. So Zakah should be paid only on them. Allah says: “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (9: 60)
But in the case of Sadaqah, there is no such specific sector. In addition to the above sectors, it is lawful to give Sadaqah to others.
4) If a person dies upon whom Zakah was obligatory, it becomes necessary for his heirs to first take out a part of Zakah from that wealth before distributing it. And then distribute the rest of the wealth according to the rules of inheritance. But there is no such provision in the case of Sadaqah.
5) One can’t give Zakah to his/her mother, father, grandparents, etc. And also his/her children, grandchildren, etc. But it is lawful to give them Sadaqah.
6) It is illegal to give Zakah to one’s wife. But Sadaqah can also be given to one’s wife.
7) It is not permissible to give Zakah to the disbelieving polytheists, but there is evidence to give them Sadaqah.
There are also several differences between Sadaqah and Zakah. Here we mention a few.
Virtues of Sadaqah and virtues of Zakah
1) Wealth is purified through Zakah. Wealth and sustenance are also increased by paying Sadaqah and Zakah. Allah says: “Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities.” (2: 276). Besides, the Prophet (SAW) said, “Sadaqah does not reduce any wealth.” (Muslim)
2) Through Sadaqah and Zakah, Allah cures the servant of various diseases and removes the dangers.
3) Through Sadaqah and Zakah, the servant will get shade under the Throne of Allah on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Every person will be in the shadow of his charity until the judgment of all people is over.” Another hadith mentions seven types of people in the shadow of the Throne. One of them is who gives Sadaqah but his left hand did not even notice what his right hand had spent.
4) Sadaqah is the characteristic of our beloved Prophet, his companions, and pious people. According to the hadith, the Prophet (SAW) was the most generous and his generosity increased during the month of Ramadan.
In the book of Hadith, there are also many instances of the Companions and our righteous successors being steadfast in paying Zakah and Sadaqah.
5) Sadaqah quenches the wrath of Allah and keeps the one who gives Sadaqah safe from danger.
6) Allah will protect those who pay Sadaqah and Zakah from the fire of Hell on the Day of Resurrection and will make it easy for them to enter Paradise.
7) Sadaqah and Zakah atone for sins and as an expiation for sins. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Sadaqah removes sins in the same way that water extinguishes fire.”
8) Allah loves the person who regularly pays Zakah and gives Sadaqah.
Many other virtues of Sadaqah and Zakah have been mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith. With all these virtues in mind, may Allah Almighty grant us the grace to be included among His beloved ones by paying Zakah as well as giving more and more Sadaqah. Ameen.