Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: Zakat ut-Tatawwu or Voluntary Sadaqah
Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please theheart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience toAllah:
Allah, the Exalted One, says: "The parable of those who spend theirwealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, andeach ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom Hepleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things" [al-Baqarah 261].
"By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely ofthat which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well" [al'Imran92].
"And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you whobelieve and spend, for them is a great reward" [alHadid 7].
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah appeases theanger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death."
It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace,said: "The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It alsosoftens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance andvanity."
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "There is not a dayin which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, andone of them says: 'O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.' The otherangel says: 'O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.'" This is related by Muslim.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Acts of kindnessprotect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases theanger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increasesone's life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindnessin this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who domisdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first ofthose who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness."This is related by at-Tabarani in al'Awsat. Manzhiri does not mention it.
Sadaqah is not restricted to any special deed of righteousness. The generalrule is that all good deeds are sadaqah. Some of them are as follows:
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Every Muslim has togive sadaqah." The people asked: "O Prophet of Allah, what about theone who has nothing?" He said: "He should work with his hands to givesadaqah." They asked: "If he cannot find [work]?" He replied:"He should help the needy who asks for help." They asked: "If hecannot do that?" He replied: "He should then do good deeds and shunevil, for this will be taken as sadaqah." This is related by al-Bukhariand others.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Sadaqah isprescribed for every person every day the sun rises. To administer justicebetween two people is sadaqah. To assist a man upon his mount so that he mayride it is sadaqah. To place his luggage on the animal is sadaqah. To removeharm from the road is sadaqah. A good word is sadaqah. Each step taken towardprayer is sadaqah." This is related by Ahmad and others.
Abu Zhar al-Ghafari said: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace,said: 'Sadaqah is for every person every day the sun rises.' I said: 'OMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, from what do we give sadaqah if we donot 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-illallah [there is no godother than Allah]; Astaghfirul-lah [I seek forgiveness from Allah]; enjoininggood; forbidding evil; removing thorns, bones, and stones from the paths ofpeople; guiding the blind; listening to the deaf and dumb until you understandthem; guiding a person to his object of need if you know where it is; hurryingwith the strength of your legs to one in sorrow who is appealing for help; andsupporting the weak with the strength of your arms. These are all the doors ofsadaqah. [The sadaqah] from you is prescribed for you, and there is a rewardfor you [even] in sex with your wife.' " This is related by Ahmad, and thewording is his. According to Muslim, they said: "O Messenger of Allah,upon whom be peace, is there a reward if one satisfies his passion?" Hesaid: "Do you know that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sinupon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is rewarded."
It is related following Abu Zhar that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, said: "Sadaqah is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every daythe sun rises." It was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, from what do we give sadaqah every day?" He said: "The doorsof goodness are many--the tasbih [to say 'Subhaan-Allah'], the tamhid [to say'Alhamdu lillah'], the tahlil [to say 'La-ilaha-illallah], enjoining good,forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leadingthe blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength ofone's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeblewith the strength of one's arms--all of these are sadaqah prescribed foryou." This is related by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. Al-Bukhari related it ina shortened form and added in his report: "Your smile for your brother issadaqah. Your removal of stones, thorns, or bones from the paths of people issadaqah. Your guidance of a person who is lost is sadaqah."
The Messenger of Allah also said: "He from among you who is able toprotect himself from the Fire should give sadaqah, even if but with half adate. If he does not find it, then with a good word."
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah, the Majesticand Mighty, shall say on the Day of Judgment: 'O son of man! I was ill and youdid not visit me.' He will reply: 'O my Lord! How could I visit You and You arethe 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 wouldhave found Me with him. O son of man! I asked you for food and you did not giveit to me.' He will reply: 'O my Lord! How could I give You food--You are theLord 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 knowthat if you had given the food, you would have found that with Me? O son ofman! 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 shallsay: 'My slave, so-and-so, asked you to quench his thirst and you did not. Ifyou had given him to drink, you would have found that with Me.' " This isrelated by Muslim.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "A Muslim does notplant or sow anything from which a person, an animal, or anything eats but itis considered as sadaqah from him." This is related by al-Bukhari.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Every good deed issadaqah. To meet your brother with a smiling face and to pour out from yourbucket into his container are sadaqah."
One's children, family, and relatives have precedence over others. It is notpermissible to give sadaqah to a stranger when you and your dependents are inneed of it.
It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace,said: "When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything isleft, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on hisrelatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there."
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Give sadaqah."A man said: "I have a dinar." He replied: "Give it to yourselfas sadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied:"Give it to your wife as sadaqah." He said: "I have anotherdinar." He replied: "Give it to your child as sadaqah." He said:"I have another dinar." He replied: "Give it to your servant assadaqah." He said: "I have another dinar." He replied: "Youwould be able to assess better [to whom to give it]." This is related byAbu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Hakim. Hakim grades it as authentic.
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "A man has sinnedenough if he neglects to feed those in need." This is related by Muslimand Abu Dawud.
Also: "The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who doesnot like you." This is related by at-Tabarani and Hakim. The latter gradesit authentic.
It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of hisgenerosity, to reproach bim, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns:"O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of yourgenerosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men"[al-Baqarah 264].
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "There are three[types of people]. Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctifythem; and for them is a grievous penalty." Abu Zhar inquired: "OMessenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?" He replied:"Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang onthe ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandiseswearing untruthfully [to its quality]."
Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful: The Messengerof Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "O people! Allah is good and acceptsonly good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah,the Mighty and the Majestic, says: 'O Messengers! Consume what is good and workrighteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do' [al-Mu'minum 51]." Healso calls upon [you]: 'O you who believe! Consume of the good that We haveprovided for you' [al-Baqarah 172]. Then [the Messenger] mentioned a man whohad traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his handsto the heavens (and cried): 'O my Lord! O my Lord!' His food was unlawful, hisdrink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided tosustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation beaccepted?" This is related by Muslim.
Also: "If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allahaccepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges [itsrewards] for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as amountain." This is related by al-Bukhari.
It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband's holdingsif she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sureof this: It is related from 'Aishah that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, said: "When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of herhome 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 inany way." This is related by al-Bukhari.
Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: "Thewife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without hispermission." He asked: "O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace! Notfood either?" He said: "That is the most excellent of ourholdings." This is related by at-Tirmizhi who graded it hassan.
Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from herhusband is called for: It is related from Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, that shesaid to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: "Zubair is a well-offman. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband'shousehold without his permission." The Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, 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 fromyou." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
For one who is fit and capable of earning his living, giving sadaqah of allhis property is permissible.
'Umar reports: "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, instructedus to give sadaqah, and it applied to my property. I said: 'Today I shallbetter Abu Bakr. I have never bettered him.' Then I brought half my property.The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: 'What did you leave for yourfamily?' I said: 'An amount like this.' Abu Bakr came with all his property,and the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, asked: 'What did you leave foryour family?' He said: 'I have left Allah and His Messenger, upon whom be peace,for them.' Then I said: 'I shall never better you in anything.'" This isrelated by Abu Dawud and atTirmizhi. The latter grades it authentic.
The jurists say that giving all of one's property in sadaqah is permissibleprovided the donor is fit, earning, and steadfast, not in debt, nor hasdependents for whom adequate support from him is obligatory. If he does notfulfil these conditions, then his action is makruh.
Jabir narrated: "While we were with the Messenger of Allah, upon whombe peace, a man came with what was like an egg of gold. He said: 'O Messengerof Allah! I obtained this from buried treasure, so take it. It is sadaqah, andI do not possess anything other than it.' The Messenger of Allah, upon whom bepeace, turned away from him and he [the man] then approached him from thedirection of his left side. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, thenturned away from him again and he approached him from behind. Then theMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, took it and threw it at him. If it hadhit him, it would have injured him. Then he said: 'One of you comes with allhis property to make sadaqah, then after [giving all he had] he sits [by theroad] begging from the people. Sadaqah is given by the one who is rich.' "This is related by Abu Dawud and Hakim. The latter said: "It is authenticaccording to the stipulation of Muslim. In its transcription is Muhammad ibnIshaq."
One can give sadaqah to the zhimmi and the soldier, and one is rewarded forthat. Allah praised a group of people (for this) when He said: "And theyfeed, for His love, the indigent, orphan, and captive" [ad-Dahr 6]. Thecaptive is a soldier. Allah says: "Allah has not forbidden you with regardto those who have not made war against you on account of [your] faith and havenot driven you out of your homes to deal kindly and justly with them; Allahloves those who are just" [al-Mumtahanah 8].
Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, reports: "My mother came to me and sheis a polytheist. I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace! If mymother came to me and she is willing, do I establish a link with her?' He said:'Yes, establish a link with your mother.' "
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, is reported to have said:"While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found awell. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] adog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: 'This dog has becomeexhausted from thirst in the same way as I.' He lowered himself into the wellagain and filled his shoe with water. Then he took the dog by the mouth untilhe had raised himself. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked Allah,and [his sins were] forgiven." They asked: "O Messenger of Allah,upon whom be peace! Is there a reward for us in our animals?" He said:"There is a reward in every living thing." This is related byal-Bukhari and Muslim.
The two also related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:"While a dog was walking around a well, his thirst was near to killinghim. One of the prostitutes of the Banu Isra'il saw him. She took off her shoeand drew water for him with it in order to quench his thirst. [For that] shewas forgiven [by Allah]."
The perpetual sadaqah (sadaqat ul-jariyah): Ahmad and Muslim relate that theMessenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "When a person dies [thebenefit] of his deeds ends, except three: a continuous sadaqah, knowledge fromwhich benefit is derived, or a pious child invoking Allah for him."
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace,said: "Whoever seeks the protection of Allah, give him protection. Whoeverasks you in the name of Allah, grant him refuge. Whoever does a good deed toyou, reward him and if you do not find anything, invoke Allah on his behalfuntil you know that he has been rewarded." This is related by Abu Dawudand an-Nasa'i with an authentic chain.
Ashab ibn Qais reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, isreported to have said: "Whoever does not thank people, does not thankAllah." This is related by Ahmad with a trustworthy chain.
Usamah ibn Zaid adds that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:"To whom a good deed is done and who says to its doer: 'May Allah rewardyou with goodness,' also reaps the reward." This is related byat-Tirmizhi.
Allah is the Most Knowing, and all praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds.