Sadaqah or sadqah (Arabic: صدقة IPA: [sˤɑdæqɐ],* "charity", "benevolence",[1] plural ṣadaqāt صدقات) in the modern Islamic context has come to signify "voluntary charity".[2] According to the Quran, the word means a voluntary offering, whose amount is at the will of the benefactor.[3]

Etymology and meaning

Sadaqah literally means "righteousness" and refers to the voluntary giving of alms or charity.[2] In Islamic terminology, sadaqah has been defined as an act of "giving something... without seeking a substitute in return and with the intention of pleasing Allah."[4] Meanwhile, according to Ar-Rageeb al-Asfahaani “Sadaqa is what the person gives from what he possesses, like Zakat, hoping to get closer to Allah."[4]

The term sadaqah stems from the Arabic root word sidq (s-d-q, ص د ق), which means "sincerity"; sadaqah is considered a sign of sincere faith.[5] The three-letter root of this word, s-d-q, also means, "to speak the truth", "to be sincere", and "to fulfill one's promise". All of these aspects of honorable behavior indicate the links between generosity and a healthy society.[6][volume needed][page needed]

Some modern researchers also etymologically link the word sadaqa to the Hebrew צדקהtzedāḳāh (almsgiving). Some experts hence conclude that sadaqa is a loanword.[7]

Examples of sadaqah include:[citation needed]

In Islamic texts


Sadaqah box in Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Mosque. Tyumen, Russia. May 2023.

The word zakah (meaning the obligatory zakah) occurs 30 times in the Quran—27 times linked with prayer, three times not so-linked.[Quran 41:7] The word sadaqah (non-obligatory charity) and its plural (sadaqat) occur 13 times in the Qur'an.[8]

"Sadaqat" is used in the Quran to cover all kinds of charity. Zakat has been called sadaqat because it is also a kind of compulsory charity. It is an obligatory sadaqa while ordinary sadaqa are voluntary. Thus, zakat has to be collected by the muhtasib (collector) or the government (the Islamic state) as a compulsory levy.[9][volume needed][page needed]

According to the Quran, sadaqa leads to the purification of the benefactor.[3] The Quran says that sadaqa does not need to be in a material form[10] and can also be a "voluntary effort", or a kind word.[Quran 9:79][7] This is in agreement with a narration attributed to Muhammad which says "every good deed is a form of sadaq."[1]

Kind words and compassion are deemed better than sadaqa accompanied by insult, from the viewpoint of the Quran. It is also preferable for donations to be offered discreetly to those in need rather than being done in public to seek acknowledgment. The Quran criticizes donations aimed at appearing generous and compromising the value of sadaqa through ostentatious public behavior, which renders a normally charitable act purely self-serving. The Quran suggests that sadaqa is not meant only to support the poor but can also be donated to others who may not be visibly in need, helping those who require assistance to enhance their lives or need guidance toward new jobs and economic opportunities.[7]

Among the many verses on sadaqat, either voluntary or obligatory, are these:


According to some ahadith, "a kind word and smile" can be considered as sadaqa and the best form of it is "passing on knowledge."[1] Also, Muhammad said in a hadith that sadaqa removes seventy gates of evil.[11]

Difference from zakat

The word sadaqa is interchangeably used with zakat and nafaqa in some contexts,[3] but while zakat is obligatory, sadaqa usually refers to voluntary donations.[1]

Zakat is a required minimum contribution by Muslims in terms of money and property or goods that can help Muslims who need assistance, while sadaqah can be in the form of money, deeds, property, or salutations.[12]

The term sadaqah was used in the Quran and Sunnah for both zakat and charity. Among the differences between them is that in the case of zakat, the amount is fixed, utilized according to that which has been stated by the Islamic Law, and paid only once a year. However charity has no fixed percentage and one is free to pay it as many times as one can afford or feel inclined to it.[13][page needed][verification needed]

Categories of the entitled

According to Quran 9:60, there are eight categories of people who are entitled to receive sadaqah (zakaat). They are:

  1. The poor (al-fuqarâ’), that is low-income.[14][page needed]
  2. The needy people (al-masākīn).[15][page needed]
  3. The officials appointed to receive sadaqah (zakat administrators).[16][page needed]
  4. Those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled to Islam (al-mu'allafa qulubuhum).[17][page needed]
  5. To free the slaves and captives.[18][page needed]
  6. Those who are overburdened with debt.[19][page needed]
  7. In the cause of Allah to spread the message of Islam.[20][page needed]
  8. To those who are wayfarers (travelers who do not have enough money to go back home).[18]


Social contribution

Spiritual effects

See also


  • ^Pronunciation variations in Literary Arabic: /sˤadaqa/, the first and the last vowels could be backed to [ɑ] and the last vowel could be turned to [ɐ]. The second vowel could also be backed to [ɑ] or fronted to [æ]. Thus [sˤɑdæqɑ, sˤɑdæqɐ, sˤɑdɑqɑ]. See Arabic phonology.


  1. ^ a b c d Ibrahim, Barbara (2008). Ibrahim, Barbara; Sherif, Dina H. (eds.). From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy. American Univ in Cairo Press. p. 5. ISBN 9789774162077.
  2. ^ a b Abu-Nimer, Mohammed (2006). "Framework for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islam". In Said, Abdul Aziz; Abu-Nimer, Mohammed; Sharify-Funk, Meena (eds.). Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static. Taylor & Francis. p. 145. ISBN 9780415770118.
  3. ^ a b c Heck, Paul L. "Taxation". In Pink, Johanna (ed.). Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. doi:10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQCOM_00199. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b "What is Sadaqa (Charity)?".
  5. ^ "Please Give Sadaqah". Imran Khan Cancer Appeal.
  6. ^ Cornell, Vincent J. (2007). Voices of Islam: Voices of tradition.[ISBN missing]
  7. ^ a b c Nanji, Azim. "Almsgiving". Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  8. ^ Zulfiqar, Muhammad (2011). Zakah According To Quran & Sunnah. Darussalam Publishers.[ISBN missing]
  9. ^ Maulana, Mohammad (2006). Encyclopaedia Of Quranic Studies. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd.[ISBN missing]
  10. ^ Nanji, Azim (2012-04-30). "Zakat: Faith and Giving in Muslim Contexts". In Palmer, Michael D.; Burgess, Stanley M. (eds.). The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice. John Wiley & Sons. p. 321. ISBN 9781405195478.
  11. ^ Homerin, Th. Emil (2005-11-08). "Altruism in Islam". In Neusner, Jacob; Chilton, Bruce (eds.). Altruism in World Religions. Georgetown University Press. p. 77. ISBN 1589012356.
  12. ^ Rasdi, Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad (2014). Rethinking the Mosque In the Modern Muslim Society. ITBM. p. 155. ISBN 978-967-430-387-7.
  13. ^ Higab, Mohammed (2008). Islam is the All-divine Messages in One. Vol. 1. Islamic Publications Bureau.[ISBN missing]
  14. ^ Mohammad Solaiman Mandal (2009). Socioeconomic Development and Human Welfare: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Mohammad Solaiman Mandal.[ISBN missing]
  15. ^ Zulfiqar, Muhammad (201). Zakah According To Quran & Sunnah.[ISBN missing]
  16. ^ Zakât Foundation of America (2008). The Zakat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Muslims in the West.[ISBN missing]
  17. ^ Subhash C. Inamdar (2009). Muhammad and the Rise of Islam: The Creation of Group Identity.[ISBN missing]
  18. ^ a b Mirza Yawar Baig (2012). Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rasoolullah: Proven Techniques.[ISBN missing]
  19. ^ Islamic Cultural Centre (2008). The Islamic Quarterly, Volume 29.[ISBN missing]
  20. ^ Musharraf Hussain (2012). The Five Pillars of Islam: Laying the Foundations of Divine Love and Service.[ISBN missing]
  21. ^ Mohammad Solaiman Mandal (2009). Socioeconomic Development and Human Welfare: An Interdisciplinary.[ISBN missing]
  22. ^ a b Muhammad bin Jamil Zeno (1996). Pillars of Islam and Iman, and what Every Muslim Must Know about His Religion. Darussalam.[ISBN missing]
  23. ^ a b c Ahmed Ali Al-kuwaity, Ahmed Ali al -Kuwaity - XKP (2015). The Beauty of Charity. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.[ISBN missing]
  24. ^ Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyah, Imam Ibn Qayyim Al Jauziyah (2003). Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet. Darussalam.[ISBN missing]
  25. ^ Mohamed Ariff, Shamsher Mohamad (2017). Islamic Wealth Management: Theory and Practice. Amazon.[ISBN missing]
  26. ^ Abdulazeez Abdulraheem (2014). Al Asmaa Ul Husnaa: How To Live By The Names of Allah. Amazon.[ISBN missing]
  27. ^ Muḥammad Zakariyyā, M. M. Qurashi, Khawaja Ihsanul Haq (2009). Volumes 1-2 of Fazail-e-sadaqaat. Zam Zam Publishers.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)[ISBN missing]
  28. ^ Ahmad Muhani (2010). Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah. Islamic Propagation Organization, Imam Sahe-Bu-Zaman Association.[ISBN missing]

Further reading