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What is Sadaqah?

Sadaqah is the term used to describe a voluntary act of charity that is wide-reaching, for example a form of monetary charity or an act of kindness that can be performed in any amount, at any time of the year.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasised the benefits of giving Sadaqah in a number of sayings:

Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.


Therefore, any act of kindness or support extended to other beings (including animals) for the sake of Allah (SWT), can be considered a Sadaqah or charity.

Examples of Sadaqah 

It can be everything from an act of kindness to a monetary donation. For example, Sadaqah can be a voluntary donation, helping someone in need, giving a smile, or it can even be removing a harmful object from your path. AqiqahFidya and Kaffarah are also examples of Sadaqah.

Some further examples include:

  • Donating money to someone in need
  • Making food for others
  • Teaching Qur’an
  • Smiling at others
  • Watering a plant
  • Taking care of an animal
  • Removing something harmful from someone’s path
While a man was going on a way, he saw a thorny branch and removed it from the way and Allah became pleased by his action and forgave him for that.

Sahih al-Bukhari

What does Sadaqah mean?

The literal translation is ‘righteousness’. However, in the modern-day context, it has come to mean ‘voluntary charity’. The word stems from ‘sidq’, which means sincerity. This suggests that Sadaqah is a righteous behaviour, which shows sincerity of faith.


How Islamic Relief uses your Sadaqah donations

For many of the world’s most vulnerable, your donations are a lifeline.

When you provide a Sadaqah donation to Islamic Relief, you can change the future of an orphan in need. Through your vital donations, they are provided with a way home to food, shelter, an education, and a chance at a brighter future.

The Impact of your Donations

Giving Sadaqah can help provide crucial medical care that people facing the effects of war and crisis can seek relief in. For example our brothers and sisters in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Palestine.

They also provide livelihoods to thousands of people and communities. This helps to break the poverty cycle and lifting individuals in need into wellbeing.

Your donations are simply transformative – see the impact of your donations in 2022 here.

Zakat and Sadaqah

Sadaqah is an entirely voluntary charity, that can be performed at any time of year, and any amount can be given. However, Zakat is an obligatory charity due from every Muslim whose total possessions (cash, gold, silver, shares) meet or exceed the nisab threshold on a yearly basis.

Zakat has a number of stipulations regarding the type of assistance it can provide. However, Sadaqah can be used for any project or programme which is of benefit to people. In a number of sayings, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasised the benefits of giving Sadaqah.

Children in Syria smiling and waving at the camera sadaqah

Sadaqah and Sadaqah Jariyah

An important concept within Islam is the idea of Sadaqah Jariyah – an ‘ongoing charity’.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.

Sahih 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.

Sadaqah Jariyah is any charity which continues to have positive effects on a community in the long-term, beyond immediate relief. This includes: building homes, schools and hospitals. Other examples include: installing durable water systems; turning an area of land into a farm which continues to give crops for years to come; helping a poor family start a business which continues generating profit for future generations.

What is the difference between Sadaqah and Sadaqah Jariyah?

Essentially, Sadaqah Jariyah is what today’s international development sector calls ‘sustainable development’. Islam promoted this over 1400 years ago. It encompasses the majority of the sustainable development programmes carried out by both Islamic and other NGOs today.

What is the difference between Sadaqah and Lillah?

Lillah means ‘for Allah’. Lillah is a type of Sadaqah donation, that can be made to an institution, a mosque, orphanage or a hospital.

Similarly to Sadaqah, it is not compulsory. There is no minimum amount and no restriction on who can receive funds.

What are the benefits of Sadaqah?

Sadaqah is a voluntary act of charity. It is given for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah (SWT), without expecting anything in return.

We know that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was very generous. He (pbuh) would give his food, money, and belongings to the poor and often letting himself go hungry. In summary, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had impeccable character. Therefore, it is an immense reward in following his exemplary behaviour.

There is not a day upon which the servant awakens but that two angels descend. One of them says: O Allah, repay one who spends in charity! The other says: O Allah, give destruction to one who withholds charity!

Sahih al-Bukhari

Why is Sadaqah important in Islam?

Sadaqah not only purifies one’s own wealth, but also helps to establish a flow of wealth in society. Through the good deed of giving, Muslims are bonded together. As well as the economic stability in communities through the distribution of wealth. Therefore, Muslims are instructed by Allah (SWT) to try to give for His sake and spread generosity.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.


Frequently Asked Questions

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We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Mufti Billal Omarjee.

Page last reviewed: 11 March 2023

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