Zakat and Sadaqah

Charity, Generosity and Giving in Islam

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What is Zakat?

This is the Fardh (compulsory alms-giving) for which Allah (SWT) has given the order in the Qur’an. Zakat is only eligible for mature, sane men and women who meet the Nisab (minimum amount of wealth) threshold.

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.

Is there a difference between Zakat and Sadaqah?

Zakat is obligatory for every Muslim. Whereas Sadaqah is an encouraged, voluntary deed. Most importantly, both earn the pleasure and reward of Allah (SWT), despite the difference between them. Islam considers both an act of charity.

Other Types of Charity

Sadaqah Jaariyah

This Sadaqah is not a separate category but it is any Sadaqah Nafilah (optional charity) that is spent on a cause of long-term benefit (e.g. wells), and in essence, is very similar to Waqf (Islamic Endowment).

Qardh Hasan

This means giving a good loan. In the language of the Qur’an, this term is used for Sadaqah Nafilah (optional charity). The rewards of Qardh Hasan are thus exclusive to Sadaqah. Loans given to Islamic institutes and then forgiven become this type of Sadaqah. 


This means an Islamic loan. Two things must be upheld from the side of the creditor: the first is that neither interest can be charged nor any other benefit (advantage or gifts) be taken instead of the loan; the second is that at no time can the creditor show any signs of self-glory, or remind the debtor of the help given. 

This does not mean that the creditor cannot ask for payment.

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