What is Sadaqah?

Sadaqah (or Sadaqa), in Islam, refers to a voluntary act of charity that is wide-reaching and done for the sake of Allah (SWT).

It can come in the form of monetary charity, or an act of kindness or support extended to other beings (including animals). It can also be given in any amount and be performed at any time of the year.

Why is Sadaqah Important in Islam?

 “Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another but that Allah increases his honour, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah but that Allah raises his status.”


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

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) regularly emphasised the importance and benefits of giving Sadaqah, including how it purifies oneself and their wealth, as “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.”  (Tirmidhi)  

The Prophet (ﷺ) himself was also very generous and would often give his food, money and belongings to the poor, leaving almost nothing for himself. He set an example for believers to be compassionate and increase their charity for the sake of Allah (SWT) for it would bring them great rewards both in this life and the next.  

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


The Difference Between Zakat and Sadaqah 

While Zakat and Sadaqah are both considered as charity, there is one key difference: Zakat is obligatory and one of the five pillars of Islam, while Sadaqah is simply a kind gesture made with the intention of helping others. 

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 upon every Muslim whose total possessions (cash, gold, silver, shares, etc.) meet or exceed the Nisab threshold on a yearly basis.

Zakat also has some rules about how much needs to be given and who can receive it, while Sadaqah can be used for any project or program that is of benefit to people.  

Examples of Sadaqah 

Sadaqah can be anything from an act of kindness to a monetary donation, so long it is done for the sake of Allah (SWT). It could be a voluntary donation to a local fundraiser. It can also be helping someone in need, giving a smile or even removing a harmful object from your 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.


Aqiqah, Fidya and Kaffarah are also examples of Sadaqah. 

Some more forms of Sadaqah 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

Sadaqah and Sadaqah Jariyah

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


An important concept within Islam is the idea of Sadaqah Jariyah – an ‘ongoing charity’. Sadaqah Jariyah slightly differs from regular Sadaqah as it is considered a charity that has long-term positive effects on a community, beyond just providing immediate relief.

In today’s terms, Sadaqah Jariyah can be considered what the international development sector calls ‘sustainable development’, programs, which can be carried out by both Islamic and other NGOs.

Some examples of sustainable development programs include projects that build homes, schools and hospitals. Other examples include installing durable water systems, turning an area of land into a farm that continues to give crops for years to come or helping a poor family start a business that continues generating profit for future generations.

Giving Your Sadaqah with Islamic Relief

When you give a Sadaqah donation with Islamic Relief, you provide a lifeline to the world’s vulnerable people and communities and give them a chance at a brighter future.  

You help give children in need and orphans access to food, shelter and an education. You help provide crucial medical care and relief to people facing the effects of war and crisis like our brothers and sisters in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Palestine.

You also provide livelihoods to thousands of people and communities, helping break them the cycle of poverty for good. 

“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.”


Your Sadaqah saves lives

Help be a lifeline to thousands of families and communities in need around the world when you give with Islamic Relief.


  • When should you give Sadaqah?

    Sadaqah is a voluntary act of charity and worship that can bring great rewards. You can give Sadaqah in any amount, at any time of the year, however many times you like.

  • Who is Sadaqah given to?

    Sadaqah can be given to any project or program which is of benefit to people. These include providing emergency aid or donating to your local mosque.

  • What is the difference between Sadaqah and Zakat?

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

  • What is the best way to give Sadaqah?

    There are lots of recommended ways, and some great examples have been outlined here in this article. However, this Hadith is very helpful as a guide: 

    “The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are most consistent, even if it is small (in amount).”


  • How many types of Sadaqah are there?

    There are countless types you can offer, that can be both monetary as well as more abstract. For example, the time that you donate can be Sadaqah, as well as a smile or even relieving someone of their hardship. The most common types of charity are to give money to the less fortunate and to help the less able both physically and mentally. 

  • What does the word “Sadaqah” mean?

    While, today, Sadaqah has come to mean “voluntary charity”, the literal translation of it in Arabic is “righteousness”. The word stems from sidq, which means sincerity. This suggests that Sadaqah is a righteous behaviour, which shows sincerity of faith. 

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