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Sadaqah: Its Virtues and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

The legitimacy of giving sadaqah other than that of zakah is not restricted by a time limit or definite nisab. The amount designated for expenditure need not be a certain percentage (for example, a tithe, a one-quarter tithe, or a one-tenth tithe). It is an open-ended matter that is left to the beneficence, generosity, and condition of the one who gives. The protection of a revered man from destruction and harm is an obligation upon whoever can help him, but more than that, it is left unquantified.

People overlook most of the public rights which the Qur’an supports, for these rights seek to establish an honorable and just social life. People spend only a small amount on the needy and even less for beggars because they are considered the least deserving nowadays. This is due to the fact that beggars have made begging a profession, even though most of them are well-to-do.

Ibn Hazm says: “It is enjoined upon the rich of every country to support their poor, and the ruler has the authority to force them to do so. This is called for when the prescribed zakah or the holdings of other Muslims are not enough to meet the needs of the poor. In that case, their food and their clothing to protect them from the elements and the eyes of the passer-by would be provided by the rich.”

The proof for this is in the saying of Allah:

Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer. (Al-Israa’ 17:26)

Allah also says:

Show kindness to parents, to near kin and orphans, to the needy, to relatives, to neighbors who are not related to you, to fellow travelers and wayfarers, and (to the slaves) whom your right hand possesses. (An-Nisaa’ 4:36)

Generosity urges support for the above-mentioned people and forbids harming them.

Referring to the guilty in the life to come, the Qur’an says that they would ask each other: “What brought you to this hellfire?” They will answer: “We were not of those who prayed, nor did we feed the needy”. (Al-Muddaththir 74:42-44)

Thus, Allah links feeding the needy with performing prayers.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “He who does not have mercy upon people, Allah’s mercy will be kept from him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Thus, anyone upon whom Allah bestowed His grace and who sees his Muslim brother hungry, in need of clothes, and miserable, and still does not help him, he will, indeed, deprive himself of Allah’s mercy.

`Uthman An-Nahdi reported that `Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr informed him that the Companions of As-Suffah were poor and that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “He who has enough food for two, let him invite a third, and he who has food for four, let him invite a fifth or a sixth.”

It is related from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim is a brother of another, and he should neither do injustice to him nor betray him.”

Thus, anyone who lets a needy Muslim go without food or clothes while, in fact, he is able to feed and clothe him would have betrayed him.

It is related from Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said: “He whose holdings exceed his needs, let him support the one whose holdings do not, and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with him who does not have food.” Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri says: ”Then he mentioned so many kinds of property that we thought no one of us had the right to have anything surplus with us.” This is the consensus of the companions, as it was reported by Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri.

Concerning this tradition, it is reported on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and ransom the prisoner.”

There are many verses in the Qur’an and numerous sound hadiths on this subject. `Umar says: “If I were to live again the past which I have already lived, I would take the surplus from the rich and distribute it among the poor immigrants (muhajirun).” This is considered to be the most authentic report.

`Ali said: “Allah (the Exalted be He) has placed a due upon the properties of the rich to meet the needs of the poor. Thus, if the poor go hungry or naked or struggle because of the neglect of the rich, then Allah will hold them (the rich) accountable on the Day of Judgment and will punish them.”

Ibn `Umar is reported to have said: “There is a due on your property other than zakah.” It is related from `A’ishah (the mother of the believers), Al-Hasan ibn `Ali, Ibn `Umar that all of them replied to those who had asked them: “If you are asked for help in cases of blood money, heavy debt, or desperate poverty, then it is a must for you to give them from your holdings.”

It was accurately reported by Abu `Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah and 300 Companions that (once) when their provisions had run very low, Abu `Ubaydah ordered them to collect what was left and place it into two bags and then allot it to each one equally. Then he said: “It is not permissible for a hard-pressed Muslim to eat the meat of a dead animal or a pig when he can find surplus food from either a Muslim or a dhimmi (non-Muslims living under the protection of the Islamic State). It is an obligation of the one who has food to feed the hungry.”

Allah says:

And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight those who do wrong until they return to the ordinance of Allah. (Al-Hujurat 49:9)

Thus, one who withholds a right is an oppressor of his brother. The latter is the possessor of that right.

On this basis, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq waged war against those who refused to pay their zakah.

From the preceding, one can see the degree of compassion and commiseration that Islam has for the deprived. Islam, in fact, excels over all other faiths and systems. They are like weak, sputtering candles when placed next to the bright and steady light of the sun of Islam.

Voluntary Sadaqah

Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please the heart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience to Allah.

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Qur’an

Allah says:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things. (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely of that which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well. (Aal `Imran 92)

And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you who believe and spend, for them is a great reward. (Al-Hadid 57:7)

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Hadith

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah appeases the anger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It also softens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance and vanity.”

The Messenger of Allah said: “’There is not a day in which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, and one of them says: ‘O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.’ The other angel says: ‘O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah said:

“Acts of kindness protect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases the anger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increases one’s life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindness in this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who do misdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first of those who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness.” (At-Tabarani)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Sadaqah is not restricted to any special deed of righteousness. The general rule is that all good deeds are sadaqah. Some of them are as follows:

Give Sadaqah Even If You Have Nothing

All good deeds are sadaqah.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Every Muslim has to give sadaqah.” The people asked: “O Prophet of Allah, what about the one who has nothing?” He said: “He should work with his hands to give sadaqah.” They asked: “If he cannot find (work)?” He replied: “He should help the needy who asks for help.” They asked: “If he cannot do that?” He replied: “He should then do good deeds and shun evil, for this will be taken as sadaqah.” (Al-Bukhari and others)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for every person every day the sun rises. To administer justice between two people is sadaqah. To assist a man upon his mount so that he may ride it is sadaqah. To place his luggage on the animal is sadaqah. To remove harm from the road is sadaqah. A good word is sadaqah. Each step taken toward prayer is sadaqah.” (Ahmad and others)

Doors of Sadaqah

Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘Sadaqah is for every person every day the sun rises.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah from what do we give sadaqah if we do not possess property?’ He said: ‘The doors of sadaqah are takbir (i.e., to say: Allahu-Akbar, Allah is Great); Subhan-Allah (Allah is free from imperfection); Alhamdulillah (all praise is for Allah); La -ilaha-illa-Allah (there is no god other than Allah); Astaghfirul-lah (I seek forgiveness from Allah); enjoining good; forbidding evil; removing thorns, bones, and stones from the paths of people; guiding the blind; listening to the deaf and dumb until you understand them; guiding a person to his object of need if you know where it is; hurrying with the strength of your legs to one in sorrow who is appealing for help; and supporting the weak with the strength of your arms. These are all the doors of sadaqah. (The sadaqah) from you is prescribed for you, and there is a reward for you (even) in sex with your wife.’” This is related by Ahmad, and the wording is his. According to Muslim, they said: “O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is there a reward if one satisfies his passion?” He said: “Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded.”

It is related following Abu Zhar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) from what do we give sadaqah every day?” He said: “The doors of goodness are many; the tasbeeh (to say ‘Subhan-Allah’), the tamheed (to say ‘Alhamdu lillah’), the taheel (to say ‘La ilaha-illa-Allah), enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms- all of these are sadaqah prescribed for you.” This is related by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. Al-Bukhari related it in a shortened form and added in his report: “Your smile for your brother is sadaqah. Your removal of stones, thorns, or bones from the paths of people is sadaqah. Your guidance of a person who is lost is sadaqah.”

Goodness

The Messenger of Allah also said: “He from among you who is able to protect himself from the Fire should give sadaqah, even if but with half a date. If he does not find it, then with a good word.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, shall say on the Day of Judgment: ‘O son of man! I was ill and you did not visit me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I visit You and You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so-and-so, was ill and you did not visit him? If you had visited him, you would have found Me with him.

O son of man! I asked you for food and you did not give it to me.’ He will reply: ‘O my Lord! How could I give You food–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘Did you not know that My slave, so and so, asked you for food and you did not give it to him? Did you not know that if you had given the food, you would have found that with Me? O son of man! I asked you to quench My thirst and you did not.’ He will say: ‘O my Lord! How could I quench Your thirst–You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah shall say: ‘My slave, so-and-so, asked you to quench his thirst and you did not. If you had given him to drink, you would have found that with Me.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim does not plant or sow anything from which a person, an animal, or anything eats but it is considered as sadaqah from him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah said: “Every good deed is sadaqah. To meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour out from your bucket into his container are sadaqah.”

Those Who Have Precedence for Receiving Sadaqah

One’s children, family, and relatives have precedence over others. It is not permissible to give sadaqah to a stranger when you and your dependents are in need of it.

It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything is left, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on his relatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there.”

The Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) said: “Give sadaqah.” A man said: “I have a dinar.” He replied: “Give it to yourself as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your wife as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your child as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “Give it to your servant as sadaqah.” He said: “I have another dinar.” He replied: “You would be able to assess better (to whom to give it).” (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i, and Hakim)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Also: “The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who does not like you.” (At-Tabarani and Hakim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

 

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Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of his generosity, to reproach him, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns:

Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful.

O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men. (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There are three (types of people). Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctify them; and for them is a grievous penalty.” Abu Dhar inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?” He replied: “Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang on the ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandise swearing untruthfully (to its quality).”

Giving What is Unlawful as Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O people! Allah is good and accepts only good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, says: “O Messengers! Consume what is good and work righteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do”. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51) He also calls upon (you): “O you who believe! Consume of the good that We have provided for you” (Al-Baqarah 2:172). Then (the Messenger) mentioned a man who had traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his hands to the heavens (and cried): “O my Lord! O my Lord!’ His food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided to sustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation be accepted?” (Muslim)

Also: “If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allah accepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges (its rewards) for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Al-Bukhari)

Sadaqah of the wife from the property of her husband

It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband’s holdings if she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sure of this: It is related from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of her home without causing any waste, she will get the reward for what she has given. Her husband will be rewarded for what he has earned, and the keeper (if any) will be similarly rewarded. The one does not reduce the reward of the other in any way.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: “The wife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without his permission.” He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Not food either?” He said: “That is the most excellent of our holdings.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from her husband is called for: It is related from Asmaa’, daughter of Abu Bakr, that she said to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: “Zubayr is a well-off man. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband’s household without his permission.” The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “Give what you are in the habit of giving of what is small, and do not store property away, for Allah shall withhold his blessings from you.” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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