By Haroon Ishola Balogun
Zakah and Sadaqah are forms of charity given by Muslims. While Zakah is obligatory, Sadaqah is voluntary. Zakah, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is to be given by all Muslims.
Zakah means growth, purification and blessing in Arabic. Sadaqah means sign of sincerity of faith expressed through gifts.
Zakah is enjoined in Islam on specific things such as gold, silver, crops, fruits, goods live-stock, agriculture produce.
Zakah is due immediately after one full year has passed upon the acquisition of wealth and that the wealth has met the minimum threshold (nisaab).
Zakah is given to certain types of people. They are mentioned in Q9:60: “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) traveller— an obligation (imposed) by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”
It is a pillar of Islam and whoever dies and owes zakah, his heirs must pay it from his wealth, and that takes precedence over the will (wasiyah) and inheritance.
It is not permissible to give zakah to the rich, the strong and able to earn a living.
It was narrated that ‘Ubayd-Allaah ibn ‘Adiyy said: Two men told me that they came to the Prophet (s.a.w) during the Farewell Pilgrimage, when he was distributing the zakah, and asked him for some of it. He looked them up and down, and saw that they were strong and able-bodied. He said, “If you wish, I will give you some, but those who are rich or strong and able to earn have no share of it.”
It is not permissible to give zakah to kuffaar and mushrikeen, but Sadaqah may be given to them.
Sadaqah is not obligatory on any kind of wealth; it does not depend on any duration of time. Whatever you can give, give without any specific limits or guidelines. It is not subject to any conditions or threshold.
The word sadaqah may be applied to all kinds of good deeds. Al-Bukhaari (r.t) said in his Sahih: “Every good deed is a charity,” then he narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (r.t) that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Every good deed is a charity.”
We will discuss Zakat-ul-Fitr in our subsequent edition.