What is Sadaqah?
This is the general term used for giving charity in Islam. All acts of worship through financial expenditure are, by broader definition, classified as Sadaqah. Due to there being many types, they have been divided into the following two categories both of which have separate rulings:
1. Sadaqah Wajibah
2. Sadaqah Nafilah
This is general charity which is binding in nature. This includes Sadaqah al-Fitr, etc.
This type of Sadaqah includes:
5. Udhiyyah, Dam and Badanah
This is a charity which is a duty upon every sane Muslim, who possesses the value of Nisaab beyond the basic necessities. Fathers are instructed to give Sadaqah al-Fitr on behalf of those children who have not reached the age of puberty.
The amount that must be given is equal to 1.6 kg of wheat or 3.2 kg of barley or it’s like. This does not mean that a person must distribute wheat or barley, one may give its equivalent value. (Because this fluctuates it is improper to specify a price, although it is usually between £1 and £3).
Sadaqah al-Fitr is a very emphasized Sunnah (which according to many is the status of Wajib) which becomes due before Eid Salah, although it is preferable to give it a few days before Eid so that the poor receive it and can spend it on the day of Eid. If one does not give the Sadaqah al-Fitr, it will remain due no matter how much time passes after Eid.
This is an action which becomes necessary due to one imposing it upon oneself. This can be done if one wishes to express gratitude, and the action can take on many forms, including Sadaqah. If a person makes such an oath of giving charity, that then becomes Sadaqah Wajibah. If they are unable to uphold the oath, they will have to give Kaffarah (see below for Kaffarah definition) and may be sinful.
This is compensation for missing Salah or Sawm for a person who cannot perform them due to being in terminal illness or being deceased (in which case it is given out of a third of the wealth) or in the event of a person making a minor mistake in Hajj. The amount for each missed Salah or Sawm, or each minor mistake made in Hajj is to give 1.6kg of wheat or its value (i.e. the same amount given for Sadaqatul-Fitr) to the poor. Fidyah is generally Sadaqah Wajibah. Sadaqah Nafilah may be given in addition either from the deceased’s estate or on their behalf in which case both the giver and the deceased are rewarded.
This is a major compensation and like Fidyah it is also a compulsory Sadaqah (Wajibah). It is applied in various situations such as if a person breaks a fast intentionally or breaks an oath; Kaffarah would then be a binding form of redemption. Kaffarah will be necessary, however, they fall under two types.
1 The greater Kaffarah:
This Kaffarah applies to intentionally breaking a Sawm (fast)
For redemption of this, a person needs to free a slave (which is no longer applicable) or fast for 60 consecutive days (If a person breaks a fast intentionally they would need to fast for 60 consecutive days, unless they can’t fast due to poor health or old age, there are no exceptions to this ruling).
Due to illness or poor health, one may feed 60 poor people for a day (i.e. two meals a day, each meal is equivalent to a Fidyah which is currently set at £2.50 per person).
In the instance of not being able to feed 60 people in a single day then he/she may feed one person for 60 days. However, if a person was to try to quicken payment of this by giving all the money in one day to one needy person, Kaffarah would not be fulfilled, and his offering would only be equal to one days feeding.
2. The lesser Kaffarah:
This Kaffarah applies to breaking/violating an oath
For redemption of this, a person may free a slave (which is no longer applicable) or feed 10 poor people 2 meals in one day, or give each one of them clothing. Failing to do this, he may fast for 3 consecutive days.
This is charity is optional in nature. This type includes alms given for the removal of difficulties, philanthropic (to give out of mercy to the less fortunate), the general giving of any Halal item to any one etc. This type does not need to be spent on specified categories to be rewarding nor does it have to be spent on Muslims. This can also be bequeathed in one’s will (in which case it would be only up to a third of the deceased person’s entire estate).
The following are types of Sadaqah Nafilah:
4. Sadaqah for the upliftment of difficulties
5. Sadaqah for the expiation of sins
6. Charity above the amount of Zakah and Sadaqah Wajibah.
This is to allot something as a trust for a certain cause. This can be during one’s lifetime or bequeathed in one’s will (up to the value of a third of one’s estate). When executed, the donation becomes the property of Allah (and thus has specific rules regarding it), and its beneficiaries are to remain those named as the cause (e.g. the poor, orphans, students, the people of a certain locality, etc.) The difference between this and Lilah is that with Waqf ownership is not given to people or institutes but only the benefits are ascribed. Like today’s trusts, Waqf also requires the care of trustees over it.
This is the sacrifice of an animal or two as thanks to Allah for the birth of a child. With this, members of the locality can be fed, preference again is for the poor and close family members.
Sadaqah for the Removing of difficulties
One, at the time of donating, should ask Allah to make easy one’s deliverance. This can be understood from the Hadith:
‘Sadaqah soothes the Lord’s anger and protects against a bad death.’ (Tirmidhi & Bayhaqi). This type of Sadaqah can also be given as Lilah.
Charity above the amount of Zakah and Sadaqah Wajibah
This type of Sadaqah is the essence of Lilah. Although not categorised as necessary, this type of charity, as long as from pure means and with pure intentions, is always accepted by Allah. It is also this type that Allah has described as a beautiful debt, as He treats this charity as a loan which He will repay in the hereafter.
‘Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan? For (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit, and he will have (besides) a liberal reward.’ (57:11)