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THE CONCEPT OF SADAQAH FROM THE QURAN

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Copyright 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 18th September 2011


 

 

SADAQAH AND ZAKAH ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS TERMS

 

Sadaqah and Zakah are two very different concepts described by the Quran which can be confused by inconsistent translations. Whereas Sadaqah at its core is a charitable deed which can manifest in multi-faceted forms, Zakah seems to have a very specific purpose and remains obligatory to the community. Any avoidance of paying Zakah attracts very strong condemnation by the Quran.

 

 

041:006-7 (part)

"...and woe to the polytheists (41:6) Who give not the 'Zakat' and who are disbelievers in the Hereafter (41:7)"

 

The following clearly confirms that the two concepts are not synonymous, Zakah remaining absolutely obligatory.

 

058:013

"Do you fear that you will not give in Sadaqat before your consultation? So when you do not do it and God has turned to you (mercifully), then keep up prayer and pay Zakat and obey God and His Messenger; and God is Aware of what you do.

 

Please see the related article below with regards Zakah in which its scope has been discussed more comprehensively.

 

 

A VERY HIGH STANDARD IS SET FOR CHARITY (SADAQAH)

 

 

002:271

"If you do deeds of charity openly, it is well; but if you bestow it upon the needy in secret, it will be better for you, and it will atone for some of your bad deeds. And God is aware of all that you do"

 

                     It must not be followed by references and reminders of the charity that is given

 

002.262

"Those who spend their wealth in the cause of God and do not follow their charity with reminders of their generosity or injure the feeling of the recipient, shall get their reward from their Lord; they shall have nothing to fear or to regret"

 

                     No annoyance or injury to feelings must be caused to the one receiving the charity

 

002.263

"A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charitable deed followed by hurt; and God is self sufficient, forbearing"

 

 

WHO IS SADAQAT FOR?

 

009:060

"Charities (Arabic: Sadaqatu) are only for the poor (Arabic: Fuqara) and the needy (Arabic: Masakin), and those who collect them (Amalina Alayha), and those whose hearts are to be reconciled (Mu-alafati qulubuhum) and to free the captives (Arabic: Fil-riqabi) and the debtors (Arabic: Gharimina), and for the cause of God (Arabic: Fi-Sabili-llahi) and (for) the wayfarer (Arabic: Sabili); a duty imposed by God. God is Knower, Wise"

 

 

002.273

"(Charities are) for the poor who are straitened for the cause of God, who cannot travel in the land (for trade), the ignorant man thinks them to be rich on account of (their) abstaining (from begging); you can recognise them by their mark; they do not beg from men importunately; and whatever good thing you spend, surely God knows it"

 

 

BENEFITS OF SADAQAH

 

 

AS A MEANS OF PURIFICATION, CLEANSING, REDEMPTION, ATONEMENT FOR SIN

 

009:103 - Established as a means for purification

002:196 - Redemption of by way of charity allowed (Hajj ritual)

002:271 - Charity given in secret will help atone some of your sins

002:280 - To waive a debtor's debt strained by difficult circumstances in charity is better for you

005:045 - Charity - an atonement even for the Jews

058:012 - Even for those amidst the Prophet. Offer something in charity before consultations as a purification for you if you can (58:13)

002.072 - Spend for the sake of seeking the Lord's grace. It will be repaid in full.

002.267 - Spend for what is good. Not for things that you yourselves would not like to receive

030.039 - Interest is contrasted as having no increase with God (although you might think you are profiting). It is charity in the sight of God that has manifold increase.

012.088 - God rewards those that give charity

002:270 - God knows whatever you spend and what you vow to spend

002:271 - Charity done in open is good, but charity given in secret is better

004:114 - Secret charity is allowable and good

033:035 - Charity amongst other good deeds has great rewards with your Lord

057:018 - Charitable men and women shall have their goodly loans multiplied as a noble reward (in the Hereafter)

063:010 - Spending (in charity) will be good for you on the Day of Judgment

064:016 - Spending (in charity) will be good for your own souls

 

COUNTER ARGUMENTS NEGATED

 

036:047 - Why should we spend if God wanted He could have provided for them Himself

009:075 - Hypocrites say they will give charity if God blesses them with bounty. However, they don't when they receive it (9:76)

 

 

ADVISORY

 

DO NOT SPEND WASTEFULLY

 

017:026 - Do not squander your wealth senselessly (Spend and give in good measure)

017:027 - Squanderers of wealth are the ilk of Satans

 

A KIND GESTURE

 

It can be argued from the following Quranic narrative that so much weight has been given to even a kind gesture, that it can fall within the scope of a charitable deed. Note how heedless acts of worship (by worshippers) are twinned with the refusal of kind gestures.

107.004-7 
"So woe to those who pray. Those who are unmindful  / heedless / neglectful of their prayers,
Those who (want but) to be seen (of men) and they refuse / deny small kindnesses" 
 

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Often translations cause confusions between Sadaqah and Zakah often making them appear synonymous. This does not seem to be the case if one subjects the Quranic narratives to scrutiny. The scope of Charity (Sadaqah) was briefly discussed above from a Quranic perspective. Zakah is more comprehensively discussed in the article below.

 

 

Related Article:

(1)    The Concept of Zakah from the Quran

 

 

Joseph Islam

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